It was Jeff Chudy’s — and Bakersfield’s — first state title. And the coach opposite the Bakersfield sideline — whom Chudy vanquished — congratulated him.
“I just said, ‘Enjoy it. You don’t know when this is gonna happen again,’” City College of San Francisco coach George Rush told Chudy after losing Saturday’s California Community College Athletic Association football championship 35-14. “We’re spoiled. The guy is happy. He ought to be happy.”
Since Rush’s hiring in the late 1970s, the Rams have captured seven state titles — along with an identical number of national championships. They entered Saturday’s matchup looking to lock down their second straight state crown.
“It’s hard to repeat,” said Rush, whose club last accomplished the feat during a run from 1999-2001. “We get that every game, every year. We’re the team that everybody loves to hate. We’re the team that everybody wants to beat. And that carries its own burden because you gotta be that much better.”
Unfortunately for the Rams, they were not better before a crowd of 16,000 in Bakersfield on Saturday.
The Rams turned the ball over four times, racked up 85 yards in penalties and continuously failed to convert in the red zone.
“The damage was done in the first quarter,” Rush said. “But the thing that I felt the team did do well was they played hard. They didn’t cave in, they didn’t roll under, they were in a real different atmosphere than they normally play in. It’s a game you sure would like to play over, but you get one crack at it, and you’ve got to do it when it’s time. And we didn’t.”
Sophomore receiver Kyani Harris had a breakout game despite the loss, nabbing 20 receptions for 266 yards.
“It’s always a bittersweet time of year whether you won or you lost the game, because you’re saying goodbye to some players you really enjoyed being around,” Rush said. “Winning is better than losing, there’s no question, but it doesn’t define who you are. What defines who you are is how hard you fought, whether you won or lost.”