The final Friday of Central Section regular-season football will showcase eight league title games and playoff seeding implications that go with them.
Atop the marquee is The Bee’s second-ranked Liberty-Bakersfield (7-2, 4-0) against No. 3 Bakersfield (7-2, 4-0) for the Southwest Yosemite League crown at West High.
Bakersfield, with a state-leading 36 section titles, has played its “home” games at various fields this season because of renovation to its historic campus venue, Griffith Field. It’s a dirt lot currently.
It hasn’t been determined where the Drillers will play in the postseason should they have a home game. And that appears certain – they’re in line for a Division I seed anywhere from No. 2 through No. 4.
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Seedings by section Commissioner Jim Crichlow and his four-member committee will be made Saturday in his Porterville office. He projects an announcement around 2 p.m.
Coaches’ divisional rankings will determine the primary-seedings road map.
Given position ties, Crichlow says, a three-point criteria will be used to break them: Head-to-head competition; record vs.common opponents; and division rankings compiled by MaxPreps.com.
Other games to watch at the wire:
No. 7 Clovis (7-2, 2-2) vs. No. 5 Clovis West (6-3, 3-1), at Veterans Memorial Stadium: Clovis coach Rich Hammond expects the winner of this Tri-River Athletic Conference game to land a No. 4 seed behind No. 1 Central and a combination of Liberty and Bakersfield at Nos. 2-3. Clovis is No. 4 in the MaxPreps rankings but has defeated Liberty, so a No. 2 seed isn’t out of the question for the Cougars. First things first, and that means defending CW quarterback Adrian Martinez.
No. 10 Clovis North (4-5, 1-3) vs. No. 6 Buchanan (6-3, 2-2), at Lamonica Stadium: Could Buchanan, which beat Clovis, jump up and grab a No. 4 seed with a win over the Broncos and a Cougars loss to CW?
No. 4 Sanger (9-0, 4-0) at Memorial (5-4, 2-2): Sanger, the clear-cut pick for D-II top seed, is favored here to deliver in the County/Metro Athletic Conference as well as coach Chuck Shidan’s 200th career win.
No. 8 Bullard (5-4, 3-1) vs. No. 11 Edison (3-6, 3-1), at Sunnyside: Maybe a No. 7 seed for Bullard with a County/Metro Athletic Conference win here. It’s been a bizarre season for the Knights, opening with a win over Central but losing to Buchanan, Clovis, Clovis West and Centennial (2-7, 1-3 SWYL), which won’t even participate in the postseason because of a district policy that demands a .500 record or better overall.
Ridgeview (4-5, 3-1) at Independence (5-4, 4-0): A shocker here in that Ridgeview – two-year reigning D-II champion and The Bakersfield Californian’s preseason No. 1 team overall in the section – has to win this South Yosemite League contest to be allowed postseason participation, per district .500 mandate, like Centennial.
Buchanan DB recognized – Buchanan senior defensive back Jack Wilkins was honored as Cal-Hi Sports’ Northern California Defensive Player of the Week for his four-interception performance against then-unbeaten and top-ranked Clovis two weeks ago at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Wilkins ended three consecutive Cougars possessions in the first half of the game the Bears would win 28-13. And his final theft came with 7 minutes, 7 seconds remaining in the game, essentially sealing the decision.