Buchanan defensive target – Stallworth: It's been common for college recruiters to swing through Buchanan High and drop the name of Tulare receiver William Stallworth to Bears coach Mike Vogt.
"Now I see why," he says after watching film of Stallworth and the seventh-seeded Redskins (9-1), who tonight will host No. 10 Buchanan (3-7) in a Central Section Division I first-round football game.
"He's unbelievable, a really great player," Vogt says of the athlete separated, for now, from a major college scholarship by academic ineligibility.
"He's trying real hard," Tulare coach Darren Bennett says. "He made up six classes in the summer."
Redskins graduate Marquess Wilson has not only made that leap, he ranks third nationally in receiving with 1,197 yards for Washington State after toasting Arizona State for 223 yards and three touchdowns in the Cougars' 37-27 upset of the Sun Devils on Saturday.
And 17-year coach Bennett says of Stallworth: "He's the best receiver I've ever had. He's quicker than Marquess."
Stallworth, a 1,000-yard receiver for two consecutive years, will attempt to help the Redskins reverse a disturbing homefield double against North Area opposition: in 2009, while top-seeded, they lost 26-25 in the D-II semis against fifth-seeded Edison; and then, last year, while sixth-seeded in D-I, they lost 20-7 in the first round against an 11th-seeded Clovis East team that had gone 0-5 in the Tri-River Athletic Conference.
And now to Buchanan, which went 1-4 in the TRAC, but is equipped with a quarterback, Nolan Sorensen, whose 1,800-yard season included a 438-yard effort against Clovis West. And that's the team that upset previously unbeaten Clovis 29-27 last week.
"We're pretty optimistic right now," Vogt says, "as much as we can be after the year we've had."
POY list a dandy dozen: Postseason play figures to glean a winner from a deep line of Bee Player of the Year candidates. In alphabetical order:
Brian Alvarado, RB/LB, Coalinga
Michael Baker, QB, Central
Dakota Gordon, RB/NT, Clovis
Deontay Greenberry, WR/DB, Washington
Khari McGee, QB, Edison
David Rico, QB, Dinuba
Brayden Sanchez, WR/RB, Hanford
Edgar Segura, RB/LB, Mendota
William Stallworth, WR/DB, Tulare
Demetrius Warren, RB/DB, Bullard
Errian Wingfield, RB, Sunnyside
He said it: "We're not smart enough to think it was going to win the game for us, we just wanted to score some points." – Clovis West coach Mike Parsons on Hunter Burns' 2-point conversion run that gave the Eagles a 22-21 lead with 27 seconds remaining in the first half and proved to be the difference in their 29-27 TRAC win over then-unbeaten Clovis last Friday. Parsons said they didn't kick only because regular long snapper Justin Flores (neck injury) wasn't playing and they had botched their first conversion snap earlier in the game.
PLAYER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Ian Hall, Clovis West: He completed only eight passes against Clovis – including a 2-point conversion – but they all had impact. His 12- and 10-yard runs also helped set up touchdowns. And, entering a D-I home game tonight against Centennial, the senior's operating behind a six-player front (counting a tight end) that has three sophomores and two juniors.
"It's been kind of tough on him," Parsons said, "but he's rallied, hasn't complained and been a team guy."
OTHER GAMES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Hoover (4-6) at Frontier (4-5), D-II: Here's an opportunity for 10th-seeded Hoover to make a statement for the North Yosemite League, where it went 4-1. Seventh-seeded Frontier finished 1-4 in the more advertised Southwest Yosemite League.
Sanger (4-6) at Redwood (5-5), D-II: Two weeks ago, Sanger coach Chuck Shidan said he was going to turn in the gear unless the Apaches beat ranked Sunnyside and once-ranked Madera to close the CMAC. They did.
Golden Valley (4-5) at Mt. Whitney (7-3), D-III: If eighth-seeded Mt. Whitney wins this one under first-year coach Marty Martin, they go to top-seeded Dinuba in what would be one of the section's most intriguing quarterfinals.
Yosemite (4-6) at Madera South (9-1), D-III: NYL titlist and third-seeded Madera South, after winning six games total in the first four years of the program, plows ahead in a division that counts four additional league champs in Dinuba (Central Sequoia), Hanford (West Yosemite), Delano (co-East Yosemite) and Ridgeview (South Yosemite).
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