Quarterback Ian Hall and offensive linemen Jeff Barth and Stephon McCray were outstanding as Clovis West High sophomores in a season-opening 31-21 win over Liberty-Bakersfield. And they obviously project well into the Golden Eagles' future.
Now meet Mr. Kirifi Taula.
He's a 6-foot-4, 285-pound senior defensive lineman from Servite-Anaheim, who destroyed Long Beach Poly last week in the Friars' 30-7 upset of a Jackrabbits team that was top-ranked in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times and No. 7 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports.
Servite will no doubt climb from its No. 12 state ranking before opposing Clovis West on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Cerritos College.
"They're good, really good," Golden Eagles coach Coby Lindsey said, "but I think we've got a shot -- a good shot."
Clovis West lost 35-21 at home to Servite last year. And, besides Taula, several accomplished players return for the Friars, including Cody Fajardo, a 6-2, 210-pound quarterback respected for both his throwing and running.
The Eagles will counter with Hall in his first varsity start, a role earned after rallying his team from 10 points down against Liberty.
"He's an unbelievable competitor, absolutely unflappable," Lindsey said.
Hall's classmates, Barth and McCray, helped spring junior Braden Seibert for 186 yards rushing on 19 carries.
What a ride for Sunnyside
Never has film review been so entertaining for Shannon Pulliam.
"One of the greatest games I've ever been involved with," the Sunnyside football coach said after breaking down the Wildcats' last-minute 22-21 nonleague win at Torrey Pines of San Diego.
Pulliam was particularly pleased with a winning 97-yard drive with Jerrold Tanner, a third-string running back thrust into duty under pressure following injuries to standouts Lejon Mason and Jacob Holloway.
Tanner's two-point conversion run with 19 seconds remaining decided it. The junior went right out of power formation, juked a blitzing linebacker and followed key blocks from fullback Michael Hawkins and tight end Ron Yom to score.
And it was Tanner who launched the drive from deep in Sunnyside territory when he converted a third-and-5 by bouncing a run outside and hurdling a linebacker.
"He actually landed on his feet," Pulliam said. "It was pretty amazing."
Holloway (foot) is doubtful but Mason (calf) is probable for the No. 15 Wildcats' nonleague game Friday at Sanger. Sunnyside is 0-9 all-time against the Apaches, who opened with a 50-7 loss at No. 1 Buchanan.
Broncos brace for Vikings
Dos Palos has had this one circled on the calendar for a while -- almost a year to the day, to be specific.
"We hope we can finish the game a little better," Broncos coach Mike Sparks said, referring to Friday's Division IV rematch at home against Kingsburg.
The Vikings rallied for a last-minute 38-34 win over Dos Palos last season, on Sept. 12, at Kingsburg.
It proved to be devastating for the Broncos, who also lost four players to injuries in the game, the beginning of a five-game losing streak that would lead to a 2-8 season and their first absence from the postseason in 30 years.
But the outlook has brightened for the fifth-winningest program in state history, thanks to a talented junior class featuring running back/linebacker Kevin Schofield, who rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns in Dos Palos' 48-0 win at Mendota last Friday.
No word on Papendorf
Buchanan coach Mike Vogt said Monday that swelling in Kyle Papendorf's left knee has delayed an MRI exam.
The defensive tackle dislocated his kneecap in the first quarter and didn't return to a game won 50-7 by the top-ranked Bears.
Papendorf, a fourth-place finisher in last year's state wrestling tournament, was told by a doctor at the game there didn't appear to be ligament damage.