The test at Tulare: The most intriguing of all Central Section opening-round football playoffs tonight sends 11th-seeded Clovis East (3-7) to No. 6 Tulare (9-1) in Division I -- the first matchup between the schools.
So many subplots:
- Tulare, in the section's competitive equity driven realignment, has been elevated to D-I after often overpowering D-II, including a 37-2 run from 2007-09. And that was highlighted by a 13-0 section championship season in 2008.
- Clovis East, in coach Tim Murphy's previous eight seasons, not only never had a losing record, it never had lost consecutive games in the same season. And the Timberwolves won D-I titles in 2003 and '06. Yet, before going 0-5 in the Tri-River Athletic Conference this season, they did win 29-0 at Liberty-Bakersfield, which placed third behind Southwest Yosemite League co-champs Centennial and Bakersfield.
CAL-HI BOWL RANKINGS
Cal-Hi Sports' South Region rankings for state bowl purposes: No. 10 Clovis West, No. 16 Centennial and No. 20 Bakersfield in D-I, No. 7 Porterville in D-II and No. 3 Dos Palos and No. 10 Washington in D-III. Porterville made a three-spot jump from last week.
The four bowl divisions vary from the six the Central Section uses in playoffs. The bowls' main event is an Open Division game Dec. 18 at the Home Depot Center in Carson. There will be a total of five games there Dec. 17-18. Bowl selections made by the state's 10 section commissioners will be determined Dec. 12.