BAKERSFIELD - It would end up being an emotional night for seniors on the Kingsburg football team, who were receiving hugs from teammates and family members after falling 28-7 to No. 2 Bakersfield Christian in the CIF Central Section Division III semifinals on Nov. 16.
Senior linebacker Brandon Rocha was one of the seniors who wore the green and gold on the gridiron for the last time.
“From the beginning, we fought hard,” Rocha said. “We had a good season, I’m proud of my brothers on the field. I hate to see it end like this.”
Running back Bo Jackson was in tears receiving hugs from teammates he played with for the final time.
“It’s hard to finish something you love so much,” an emotional Jackson said. “In perspective, there’s a lot of important things than football. God is always on my side, I’m glad to wake up every morning, I’m proud of my brother [Jett Jackson playing quarterback]. I’m just super thankful for coach [Wilson] and the team.”
With the football season concluded, Rocha and Jackson will look forward to their final season on the wrestling mat.
As for the team, Kingsburg’s 2018 season ends at 10-3 overall and 4-1 in Central Sequoia League play. The Vikings entered the Division III playoffs as the No. 3 seed. The 10 wins this season is the most the program has had since 2013.
The 10 wins for Kingsburg are also the most for the program in the David Wilson era. The previous set mark in wins for Wilson as coach was seven in 2017.
Wilson said he wanted the seniors to play in the Valley championship, but they were part of a successful season that he hopes to set the standard for Vikings football years to come.
“I can’t say enough about the seniors,” Wilson said. “It’s my fourth year here and I had them in the program since they were freshmen. Kingsburg football is in a good spot moving forward, they set the precedent.”
The Vikings got off to a rocky start fumbling on its third offensive play inside its own 20, which eventually set up the Bakersfield Christian Eagles to score a few plays later.
Later in the first quarter, Kignsburg drove down the field in Eagles territory at the 25-yard line, but an incomplete pass by Jett Jackson on 4th-and-5 would turn the ball over on downs.
Bakersfield Christian added two scores for a 21-0 lead with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Maran to Myran Randle and a 7-yard rushing score from Donte Harris.
Kingsburg would get on the scoreboard for its only touchdown of the night when Jett Jackson connected with Kaden Tate for a 12-yard score with 4:09 to go until halftime.
On its next drive, the Vikings drove down the field again, but would have a 16-yard touchdown called back on a holding penalty. On the next play, Jett Jackson threw an interception and Kingsburg missed out an on a chance to cut the Eagles’ lead.
With a halftime 21-7 lead for Bakersfield Christian, the Eagles scored again in the third quarter with the second touchdown connection between Maran and Randle. The passing touchdown would be a 9-yard play and it would be the third passing score for Maran.
Before the third quarter ended, Kingsburg threatened to score with a long drive that went all the way to the Eagles 11. Vikings were stopped on all four downs and missed another chance to score.
Even though it wasn’t the result he wanted, Wilson was proud of the season his team’s 10-win season.
“It’s about the kids,” Wilson said. “I’m nothing without those guys.”
Other than its record, it was a successful season for Kingsburg and coach Wilson. Kingsburg defeated Selma for the first time in three years and earned a tri-championship in league with Dinuba and Central Valley Christian. The Division III semifinals was the furthest the program has advanced since the 2013 season.