Mike Vogt's 24th season as a high school football coach is accompanied by two heavy questions: First, can he rally Buchanan from a 2011 record of 3-8 -- the worst in the program's 19-year history? And, second, can he endure a second year wearing two hats as the school's coach and athletic director?
All this while contemplating retirement as a coach, where he ranks 13th in Central Section history with 163 wins, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
"You know, I still love to coach," Vogt said heading into the Bears' opener tonight against No. 4 Bullard at McLane Stadium, "and there's a little stubbornness, wanting to prove I can do both jobs.
"I have an affinity for Buchanan, and I'm going year by year. Plus, a lot depends on finding a suitable replacement. And it's different now because the economy and job market is not easy for creating jobs for coaching positions."
Marcus McMaryion made sure Dinuba's offense didn't skip a beat in his debut as the Emperors' quarterback last week.
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound junior, who's taking over for three-year starter David Rico, completed 20 of 28 passes for 363 yards and five touchdowns in Dinuba's 42-26 season-opening win over Madera. The Emperors averaged 43 points per game last season while going 11-1 and winning the Central Sequoia League title with Cal Lutheran recruit Rico calling signals.
"We've known (Marcus) was a special quarterback since he was back in our youth program," said Dinuba coach Kevin Scharton. "It was no surprise, we expected great things from Marcus. David handed the torch to Marcus, and he had a great day. We hope he can continue to play that way."
PLAYER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
- Kevin Sunberg, Fowler: One of the section's biggest college prospects can be found at one of the smallest schools (650 enrollment). The 6-2, 290-pound 2011 Bee All-Star and All-State Small Schools lineman has been offered a scholarship by New Mexico, is reportedly a top nose tackle priority at Nevada, has had Stanford and Fresno State request video and Oregon State inquiring as well. The Redcats -- bumped to Division IV after winning last year's D-V title -- will visit D-V power Firebaugh tonight in one of the section's top matchups.
HE SAID IT
- "Defensively, they're as good as it gets in high school, the fastest team we've ever played. Their secondary will stay with anybody you put on the field, but their (defensive) front isn't getting enough credit. (Lineman Tashon) Smallwood is a beast, so they can bring pressure without bringing much heat. The sky's the limit for them." -- Hanford coach Josh Young on Central, which blasted his Bullpups 44-3 last week.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
- No. 2 Central (1-0) at No. 7 Liberty-Bakersfield (1-0): A big D-I reference point for section commissioner Jim Crichlow's playoff seeding committee on Nov. 3.
- No. 11 El Diamante (1-0) vs. No. 3 Clovis North (1-0) at Buchanan: Is El Diamante, a 34-20 winner over Tulare last week, back to the dominant level that produced consecutive West Yosemite League unbeaten seasons from 2007-10, including a D-II title? A lot more to be learned against a powerful Broncos stable thinking Tri-River Athletic Conference and D-I titles with their third senior class.
- Sanger (1-0) vs. Hoover (0-0) at Sunnyside: Career wins -- 155 for the Apaches' Chuck Shidan; 0 for the Patriots' Mike Hill. This is the coaching debut for the son of former Fresno State coach Pat Hill.
- Central Valley Christian (0-0) at Bakersfield Christian (0-1): Another hot spot for seeding two months from now, only in D-IV.
- No. 5 Clovis (1-0) vs. El Toro-Lake Forest (1-0) Saturday in Mission Viejo: After shutting down arguably the section's premier quarterback in Edison's Khari McGee in a 27-10 win, the Cougars now oppose Utah commit Conner Manning. He became the leading single-season passer in Orange County history -- surpassing former Mater Dei-Santa Ana QB Matt Barkley (USC) -- when throwing for 4,200 yards and 41 TDs for the Chargers' 12-2 and Southern Section runner-up team last year.
- No. 1 Bakersfield (1-0) vs. Cactus- Glendale, Ariz. (1-0) Saturday at Crespi- Encino: The Drillers, ranked fifth in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, play a Cactus team ranked 14th in Arizona and coming off a 62-0 win. This is part of the five-game, two-week California High School Classics, matching five California teams with five from out of state.