Buchanan blues: Buchanan (9-0, 4-0), while unbeaten and top-ranked, suddenly doesn't appear to be the offensive force it once was entering a showdown with No. 3 Central (7-2, 4-0) tonight for the Tri-River Athletic Conference title and a possible top seed in the Central Section playoffs.
Running back Nigel Simmons (636 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns) is out for the season with a broken ankle, and top receiver Jake East (45 receptions, 1,107 yards, 11 TDs) is out for the game and maybe the season with a hairline leg fracture.
Kyle Novak, another starting receiver in the Bears' spread offense, will not play because of a concussion, starting offensive tackle Zach Young is doubtful with a bruised elbow and starting defensive end Christian Parra is a gametime decision with a shoulder stinger.
Seedings: Playoff seedings for all six divisions will be set Saturday in Porterville by section commissioner Jim Crichlow and three assistant commissioners. Only defending champion Tulare (D-II) and Kingsburg (D-IV) appear locks, given the fact they're prohibitive favorites in regular-season finales tonight. A Central win likely would land Bullard the top seed in D-I.
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State rankings: Buchanan remained No. 18 in Cal-Hi Sports' state Top 25 rankings, but Bullard dropped out after its 17-14, double-overtime win over Edison. In rankings for state bowl purposes, in the south, Buchanan is No. 8 and Bullard No. 11 in D-I, Tulare No. 8 in D-II and Taft No. 3 in D-III.
Singing for the Miners: El Diamante running back Aaron Sing, with 1,610 yards rushing, is making a run at Stefphon Jackson's school-record 2,678, set last year. Jackson averaged 206 yards per game for the 12-1 Miners. Sing is averaging 179 for this season's 8-1 team. He has 24 TDs. Jefferson scored a school-record 32.
PLAYER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Brendon Bigelow, Central: Averaging 13.7 yards per rush and 20.9 per reception, he's similar in explosiveness to Bakersfield's Alfonso Jackson. And it was Jackson who carried eight times for 178 yards, including touchdowns of 71 and 85 yards, and caught six passes for 105 yards, including scores of 79 and 11 in a 56-41 loss to Buchanan on Sept. 25.
OTHER GAMES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Sunnyside (5-5) at Memorial (8-1): With each 4-0 in the North Yosemite League, records no doubt deceive here. Memorial should roll for league title.
Sanger (4-5) at Reedley (7-2): This is No. 18 at No. 16, but much more. This is about tradition, history and an always large crowd, matching red vs. green. It's the 97th meeting, with Sanger leading 61-33-2.
Roosevelt (5-4) at Fresno (1-8): Tell the 4,000 or 5,000 in attendance that the Pig Bowl no longer matters.
Liberty-Bakersfield (6-3) at Garces (6-3): Southeast Yosemite League-leading Liberty has given up an average of 9.3 points in eight games since losing 31-21 at Clovis West. Garces has averaged 48.5 points in its past six games.
Fowler (7-2) at Caruthers (8-1): West Sequoia title on line for 3-0 teams, along with D-V seeding ramifications.
Corcoran (7-2) at Strathmore (7-2): D-VI power Strathmore could tie Corcoran for East Sequoia championship.