A convincing 37-10 victory over Bakersfield in the Patriotic Bowl played Saturday, Nov. 18, allowed the Vikings’ football team to end their season with eight wins and three losses.
LBCC bested Bakersfield College, which finished the season at 7-4, in their bowl game for the second year in a row.
In the game at LBCC’s Veterans Stadium, the Viking defense played one of their most complete games. They held the Renegade offense to only 10 points, which was their lowest scoring game of the year, and 150 total yards of offense.
Viking sophomore defensive lineman Gilbert “Bubba” Valera led the way on defense and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Valera finished with seven tackles, three sacks and a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown and put LBCC up by 21 at that point.
“It feels good winning MVP but to be honest, this one is for the whole D-line. We just balled out this game like we knew we should,” Valera said.
Viking coach Brett Peabody said about Valera’s time in the program: “There’s not a harder working guy on our program. The kid benches over 400 pounds. He’s exactly what we’re looking for in a Viking.”
Both teams got off to slow offensive starts, but then LBCC opened the scoring when sophomore quarterback Grant Lowary found sophomore wide receiver Cedric Byrd in the end zone. Lowary and Byrd connected again, this time for 43 yards, and extended the Vikes’ lead to 14-0.
Lowary was named the game’s offensive MVP as he finished the game with three touchdowns and 335 yards passing: “The season didn’t go the way that we wanted to, but a bowl win is always cool and playing at home made it even better,” Lowary said.
Despite not meeting expectations of getting into the state playoffs, the Vikings won their third consecutive conference title and fourth straight bowl game under Peabody.
“We’re a really young squad and we’re going to look back and learn from all the mistakes we made this year. We plan to have a great offseason. We’re going to make a lot of changes in the program so we can be a little stronger,” Peabody said.
Valera also said he sees the direction LBCC football is heading and is excited for the future:“With a coach like Peabody anything is possible. Especially with all the young guys around they’re going to be more than fine next year.”