Maybe Central High deserves a mulligan for that season-opening 24-3 loss to Bullard three weeks ago.
Maybe the Grizzlies actually deserve to be top-ranked in Central Section football.
Process this question: Is there a team from Chowchilla to Bakersfield remotely capable of matching Central’s 38-0 demolition of then-No. 1 and defending Division I champion Liberty-Bakersfield on Friday night? And in Kern County, no less?
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But for now, it’s Clovis, Bakersfield, Central, Buchanan and Bullard running 1-2-3-4-5 in The Fresno Bee’s rankings, and this surely will play out by Dec. 2, the night of the D-I championship game.
Central, under first-year coach Kyle Biggs, soars nine spots to No. 3 after administering Liberty-Bakersfield’s first shutout in 66 games, spanning seven seasons.
The Patriots entered the home game 30-9 under four-year coach Bryan Nixon and had opened the season with wins over sixth-ranked Clovis West (28-24) of the Tri-River Athletic Conference and defending D-II champion Ridgeview (20-0) of the South Yosemite League.
But they were overwhelmed by a Grizzlies defense led up front by Samuel Satele, Rodney Murphy, Jason Russell and Brandon Ballard.
94-15Combined scoring margin in two Central wins following a 24-3 loss to Bullard
And the supporting cast was exceptional at the next two levels, first at linebacker with Adrian Lopez (three tackles for losses), Jake Rohrmann, Jacob Hollins and two-way standout Mathew Mendoza, and then in the secondary with national recruit Jaylon Johnson, Jaden Williams, Tyrell Grayson and Kev’vion Schrubb.
Biggs can only wonder how the Grizzlies might have fared against Bullard had they not had a scrimmage canceled at Sanger because of bad air a week prior.
Biggs, in fact, scouted Bullard’s scrimmage at Dinuba the night before the cancellation.
“Thing is,” Biggs says, “when you play Sanger, they’re going to punch you in the mouth and play tough, so you learn how your kids respond. Since, we got punched in the mouth by Bullard, and the kids have responded, studying film and doing the little things to win at this level.”
Central will return home Friday night to play Frontier (1-2) of the Southwest Yosemite League.
Clovis, meanwhile, will play at Stockdale in a duel of 3-0 D-I teams.
Clovis and Central will collide Oct. 14 at Koligian Stadium in the second week of TRAC play.
Central Section Football Rankings
- 1. Clovis (TRAC, 3-0)
- 2. Bakersfield (SWYL, 3-0)
- 3. Central (TRAC, 2-1)
- 4. Buchanan (TRAC, 3-0)
- 5. Bullard (CMAC, 1-2)
- 6. Clovis West (TRAC, 2-1)
- 7. Liberty-Bakersfield (SWYL, 2-1)
- 8. Ridgeview (SYL, 1-2)
- 9. Clovis North (TRAC, 2-1)
- 10. Edison (CMAC, 0-3)
- 11. Stockdale (SWYL, 3-0)
- 12. Sanger (CMAC, 3-0)
- 13. Tulare Western (EYL, 3-0)
- 14. Memorial (CMAC, 3-0)
- 15. Dinuba (CSL, 2-0)
- 16. Redwood (WYL, 3-0)
- 17. Selma (CSL, 3-0)
- 18. Sunnyside (NYL, 1-2)
- 19. Fresno (NYL, 2-1)
- 20. Tulare (EYL, 2-1)
- Division I: 1. Clovis, 2. Bakersfield, 3. Central
- Division II: 1. Ridgeview, 2. Sanger, 3. Dinuba
- Division III: 1. Tulare Western, 2. Memorial, 3. Fresno
- Division IV: 1. Selma, 2. Chowchilla (2-0), 3. Exeter (3-0)
- Division V: 1. Mendota (3-0), 2. Dos Palos (2-0), 3. Firebaugh (2-0)
- Division VI: 1. Kennedy (2-1), 2. Sierra Pacific (2-1), 3. Strathmore (2-0)