The Bee’s Central Section coaches’ rankings are likely to stay static for the next couple weeks.
But the teams at the top are going to be busy.
No. 1 Central cemented its place with a 30-3 thumping over Liberty-Bakersfield on Sept. 8. The Grizzlies (3-0) received nine of 10 first-place votes.
The other vote went to Bakersfield, which remained at No. 2 after a bye.
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Central will put its undefeated record on the line Friday against Ridgeview (1-1) at Koligian Stadium. Then the Grizzlies travel to perennial state powerhouse De La Salle-Concord on Sept. 23.
In any other year, that would probably be the toughest opponent a Central Section team faces in the regular season. De La Salle has won seven state championships since California adopted the state bowl system in 2006, and is 3-0 this year and No. 5 in the MaxPreps state rankings. (Central is No. 20.)
But Bakersfield is testing itself this week with a date at Chaminade-West Hills, No. 4 in the MaxPreps rankings. And next week, the Drillers go to No. 17 Valencia.
Liberty-Bakersfield dropped two spots this week in The Bee’s rankings, surpassed by Buchanan and Clovis West.
Golden West makes its debut in the Top 10, replacing Clovis North. The 10th-ranked Trailblazers, who were one play away from a section final last season, come off a bye to face visiting Madera South on Thursday.
Games to watch
No. 5 Liberty-Bakersfield at No. 3 Buchanan (Thursday) – Perhaps the strongest test for the Bears (3-0) who have rolled in their first three games by outscoring opponents 152-24.
Highly recruited Buchanan sophomore running back Kendall Milton has 10 touchdowns.
The Patriots (1-1) are led by Sam Stewart Jr. who has 32 carries for 229 yards and two touchdowns. He also has 17 tackles and one quarterback hurry.
Rocklin vs. No. 4 Clovis West – The Golden Eagles (1-1) routed Edison 30-9.
They’re missing Tennessee commit Adrian Martinez, their injured quarterback who’s likely sitting out the season to rehabilitate from shoulder surgery. But his replacement, junior Dante Chachere, has completed 43 of 89 for 419 yards and five touchdowns.
The Thunder (3-0) from the Sac-Joaquin Section is coming off a 40-22 win over Whitney-Rocklin in the annual Quarry Bowl.
Senior middle linebacker and running back Blayden Brown has been a force for Rocklin. He has a team-leading five interceptions – including one for a touchdown last week. Offensively, he has 25 carries for 206 yards and five touchdowns.
Liberty-Madera Ranchos at Fowler – Liberty (3-0) has marked itself as one of the section’s small schools to watch led by senior running back Kaleb Roth who has seven touchdowns to go along with 500 yards.
The Redcats (2-1) counter with quarterback Martin Plata who had 14 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns to go along with one passing touchdown in a 43-0 victory over Sierra.
Schools raising funds for St. Jude’s
Central Section schools including Farmersville and Riverdale are participating in the Touchdowns Against Cancer program aimed to unify teams across the country to defeat childhood cancer.
Last season, nearly 200 high schools from across the country raised more than $100,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
In support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, every touchdown scored by participating high schools between Sept. 14-30 will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Central Section historian Bob Barnett notes career highs for several players.
▪ Quarterback Blake Wolfe of Sanger completed 13 of 13 for 206 yards and three touchdowns, tied for the third best for completes without a miss in section history. The Apaches beat Clovis East 34-7.
▪ Jasper Berumen of Granite Hills rushed for a career-high 225 yards on 24 carries and scored two touchdowns in a 14-7 win over Orosi.
▪ Jacob Torrez of Central had nine receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown.
▪ Senior kicker Eli Riofiro of Clovis West made three field goals and three extra points for 12 kicking points. One of his field goals went for 49 yards, third-longest in school history. He has 18 career field goals.
▪ Tulare running back Kazmeir Allen leads the Central Section with 12 touchdowns. The Tribe has a bye.
▪ Quarterback Braden Wingle of Bakersfield Christian passed for 252 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-6 win over Mission Oak.
▪ Airing on KFRE-59.1 is Dos Palos at Los Banos at 7:30 p.m. Friday. On CMAC-94.1 (Comcast), it’s Clovis East at Sunnyside at 7:25 p.m.
The Bee’s coaches’ Top 10 poll
The coaches’ poll (first-place votes in parentheses):
1. Central (9)
2. Bakersfield (1)
4. Clovis West
10. Golden West
Games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted
Thursday, Sept. 14
California City at Lancaster, 7 p.m.
Liberty-Bakersfield at Buchanan, 7 p.m.
Orange Cove at Granite Hills, 7:15 p.m.
Madera South at Golden West
Friday, Sept. 15
Ridgeview at Central, 7 p.m.
Rocklin at Clovis West (Veterans Memorial), 7 p.m.
Roosevelt at Washington, 7 p.m.
Monache at Kingsburg, 7 p.m.
Merced at Madera, 7 p.m.
Lindsay at Farmersville, 7 p.m.
Hanford at Porterville, 7 p.m.
Dos Palos at Los Banos, 7 p.m.
Central Valley Christian at Chowchilla, 7 p.m.
Kennedy at Kerman, 7 p.m.
Mariposa at Yosemite, 7 p.m.
Taft vs. Exeter (Lindsay), 7 p.m.
Orosi at Strathmore, 7 p.m.
Kern Valley at McFarland, 7 p.m.
Bakersfield at Chaminade-West Hills, 7 p.m.
Trinity Christian-Monterey at Laton, 7 p.m.
Frazier Mountain at Kings Christian, 7 p.m.
Riverdale Christian at Coast, 7 p.m.
Bishop at Ontario Christian, 7 p.m.
Trona at Mammoth, 7 p.m.
Clovis North vs. Edison (McLane)
Stockdale at Clovis
Clovis East at Sunnyside
Bullard at Centennial
McLane at Wasco
Mt. Whitney vs. Mission Oak (Mathias Stadium)
Tulare Western at Redwood
Dinuba vs. El Diamante (Groppetti Stadium)
Sanger at Lemoore
Liberty-Madera Ranchos at Fowler
Fresno Christian at Parlier
Sierra Pacific at Hanford West
Sierra at Caruthers
Selma at Coalinga
Tranquillity at Minarets
Riverdale at Firebaugh
Mendota at Immanuel
Atascadero at Frontier
East Bakersfield at Highland
Independence at South
Mira Monte at Arvin
Shafter at Golden Valley
Delano at North
West at Foothill
Bakersfield Christian at Tehachapi
Valley Christian at Alpaugh, 1 p.m.
Garces at Memorial, 7:30 p.m.