The Fullerton College Hornets set out to prove that they are one of the best football teams in the state, taking down the Bakersfield Renegades 45-23 on Saturday, at Nathan Shapell Memorial Stadium.
The Hornets (3-0) were led by a dominant rushing game. The team broke several long-standing individual and team records. As a team, the Hornets ran for 541 yards, breaking the previous record of 509 against Vallejo College in 1950. The team also gained 623 yards of total offense, topping the 609 yards which was also came in that Vallejo game.
Ryan Byrd was a huge part of the team’s success. The sophomore running back broke the Fullerton College single-game individual rushing record by picking up 273 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. The old record was 260 by Mike Charles in 1976 against Cerritos.
“Man it feels great to have a night like this and beat some records,” said Byrd. “The offensive line opened some holes for me, and I just kept my legs moving.”
Even though Byrd broke the record for yards in a game, he may not have even been the best running back in the game. Lavorrie Johnson rushed for 201 yards for the Hornets and three touchdowns while only carrying the ball 13 times. He finished the game with an average of 15.5 yards per carry.
“Not playing much last year made me really want it,” said Johnson. “But, I owe everything to my offensive line, tight ends and the man above.”
The Hornets’ head coach, Tim Byrnes, was very happy with the way the running game looked.
“We have a few running backs that practice hard and play hard,” Byrnes said.
The Hornets jumped all over the Renegades early. Johnson opened the flood gates for the Hornets with a 49-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The Hornets’ next drive resulted in a 37-yard field goal by Casey Eyman.
“It also helps that our offensive line is probably the best one that we have had,” Byrnes said.
Bakersfield (1-2) had a chance to score late in the first, but had a 22-yard field goal attempt blocked by Jarrot Thomas.
However, the Renegades did rattle off two unanswered scores in the second. A 31-yard field goal followed by a 40-yard interception return by Scott Brodie. But the Hornets also managed to get to the PAT, blocking the kick to hold onto a 10-9 lead.
“We got a little lax there in the second and Bakersfield took advantage of it,” said Byrnes.
The Hornets added one more touchdown before the half, scoring on a 71-yard run by Ryan Byrd, to take a 17-9 lead.
Bakersfield tried to get some momentum going in the second half, but Ty Floyd came up with a huge interception for the Hornets. Johnson added another touchdown run, this time from 32 yards, to make the lead 24-9.
Third running back Nick Norman pounded in a 5-yard touchdown, and the Hornets had a 31-16 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Bakersfield quarterback Cruise Adams connected with Colin Spencerearly in the fourth quarter for a 23-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 31-23.
Less than two minutes later, Johnson broke away for a 57-yard touchdown. David Wesley added a 26-yard touchdown run with only 13.7 seconds left to give the Hornets the 45-23 final score.
“I am happy with the way we played,” said Byrd. “However, I am not satisfied. I want to get better every week, and I want my team to do the same.”
The Hornets will look to improve to 4-0 as they take on Golden West, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., at Yorba Linda High School.