Here's what matters regarding Liberty-Bakersfield's 28-17 upset of a Bakersfield team then top-ranked in the Central Section and No. 5 in the state:
It virtually guarantees the Central Section's Division I No. 1 seed will come out of the Tri-River Athletic Conference because of Central's 10-9 win at Liberty on Aug. 31.
Further, the TRAC has swept all games of significance against the Southwest Yosemite League -- Clovis beating Centennial (28-17) and Stockdale (37-6), and Clovis North defeating Frontier (38-21).
So, regardless if Central, Clovis North and Clovis -- now ranked Nos. 1-2-3 -- exchange wins in the TRAC, the D-I seedings will refer back to those key TRAC wins vs. the SWYL.
Some other D-I thoughts:
- Seemingly forgotten is merely the play of the year to date in the section: Eddie Padilla's game-winning 29-yard field goal for Central against Liberty. And to think the soccer player first joined the football program in the fall.
- I've emphasized previously the history of favorable calls for Bakersfield at Griffith Field. Let the record show otherwise Friday as two spectacular Drillers touchdowns -- an 80-yard run by Jeremiah Reddick and a 62-yard punt return by Kevin Hayes -- were flushed by penalties.
- Bakersfield is not eliminated from the state bowl equation, but the Drillers will have to go 12-1 and win the section D-I title to remain in consideration. The state bowls expansion to semifinals this year gives them a chance. Eight teams from the state's South, of which the Central Section is affiliated, will advance to semis in the Open and D-I divisions.
Three to see in TRAC
While the weather has finally cooled, three weeks of heat is about to arrive in the TRAC: Clovis at Central on Friday, Central vs. Clovis North at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Oct. 18 and Clovis North at Clovis on Oct. 26.
Cougars rack up shutouts
Defense under coordinator Kevin Johns continues to drive the turnaround at Clovis, which is 23-8 in three seasons after going 5-26 in the previous three.
Friday's 20-0 win over Clovis East was the Cougars eighth shutout since 2010. And this one was led by lineman Nick Nevills, linebacker Jordan Harper and deep backs Jason Black, Alan Crowley and C.J. Broussard.
Clovis marches into Koligian Stadium on Friday in a forward lean, having beaten the Grizzlies 21-7 and 26-0 last year.
Sanger still gets better of Manning
For all his success at Edison, Ricky Manning has a problem -- Sanger.
It was the Apaches who spoiled Manning's going-out party as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in state history on Dec. 4, 1998, when Sanger won 35-28 for the section Yosemite Division Small Schools title.
Then on Friday, Edison -- ranked sixth in the section in Manning's first season as coach -- was shocked 35-29 by a then-unranked Sanger team in a County/Metro Conference opener.
"Starting out league with Edison is always a tough task," Apaches 23-year coach Chuck Shidan says. "But if you can beat them, that's a good one to get started on."
Establishing the run with its wing-T offense while also stuffing the Tigers' ground game were keys for Sanger (5-1), now ranked No. 11.
The Apaches have experienced offensive linemen in tackles Hunter Rangel and Jesus Marez, guard Abraham Contreras and center Antonio Salazar.
Sanger's secondary also boasts established players in cornerbacks Josh Moreno and Steven Villagomez, and safety Rudy Gallegos.
They made life miserable for Edison preseason All-State quarterback Khari McGee, who was 10 of 33 with an interception. And Tigers running backs Kevin Nutt and Blake Wright combined for 82 yards on 18 carries a week after blasting Clovis West for 290 on 29 trips.
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