Bakersfield Christian football will be put to test in 2018

There’s no denying the run of success Bakersfield Christian football has had over the years.

Simply put, they’ve been one of the area’s most successful teams. Over the last six seasons, the Eagles have a combined 59-19 record and a 28-2 mark in South Sequoia League play. The program has four section championships on its resume and played for a CIF Division IV-AA state championship in 2016.

“We didn’t lose a league game in three years since we’ve been here,” said head coach Darren Carr, who’s entering his fourth season with the program. “That’s quite an accomplishment.”

Strong quarterbacks have been in tow — whether it be current Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr, former Bakersfield College starter Brandon Jones, or record-setting signal caller Braden Wingle. And, of course, the team has solid coaching, with head man Darren Carr calling the shots and offensive coordinator David Carr being a former 11-year NFL veteran who happens to have a Super Bowl ring on his finger. In other words, the team is prepared.

With all that said, 2018 could very well be a season of transition for the Eagles.

For starters, they’re out of the SSL, a league they flat-out dominated.

Now, the team pivots to the South Yosemite League, where it almost assuredly will have its hands full with programs such as Ridgeview, Independence, West, Tehachapi, North and Golden Valley dotting the schedule. The opposition will provide different coaching styles, perhaps a higher level of consistency, and just better overall depth to deal with on the other side of the field.

“New league with stiffer competition, week-in and week-out,” Darren Carr said. “Those are really good football teams with really good football players on their team. It’s going to be fun.”

Carr said getting pushed isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“You always want to challenge yourself,” the head coach pointed out. “We’d be thrilled if one day they asked us to be in the Division I football (league). It would be wonderful and you take that in stride. But we always tell kids, you get opportunities every day and we’ve got one this year.”

That includes an out-of-league schedule that features Southwest Yosemite League program Garces in Week 1 and rival Visalia-Central Valley Christian in Week 2. Carr said the team’s Week 3 foe, Faith Lutheran out of Las Vegas, Nev., is strong and the Eagles’ Week 5 opponent, Westlake Village-Oaks Christian, looks big time.

“Preseason schedule, it’s difficult. Our league schedule is difficult,” he said. “It definitely gets you ready for the (Division III) playoffs.”

Through it all, the Eagles are going to enter the season with a new quarterback under center.

Two transfer students have come on board in 2018 — senior Jacob Maran (previously of Bakersfield High) and junior Dominic Gamboni (previously of Dos Palos High School).

While the Eagles have been a drop-back passing team in recent years, Maran comes from a BHS program that runs an option offense. Carr said Dos Palos was a run-first football team as well.

In turn, Carr said the Eagles could incorporate more quarterback-based running plays than in years past.

“A little bit more run. Probably a little bit more this year because we have a more mobile quarterback,” said wide receiver Keonte Glinton, referencing Maran in particular. “It’ll be a mixture of both (run and pass), though.”

While things could certainly look different in 2018, Carr stressed his program’s approach won’t change.

“No matter where we are, we’re going to have to work,” said wide receiver/defensive back Alex Wallace. “We’re going to have to push.”

Teddy Feinberg can be reached at 661-395-7324. Follow him on Twitter: @TeddyFeinberg.

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