Kerman and Washington on Friday night celebrated the life of a coach who spent time at both high schools, Anthony Taylor.
Taylor died earlier this season after battling health issues. He was just starting his third season as Kerman head coach after many years as a Washington assistant.
Before Friday’s varsity game at John Ventura Stadium in Easton, the schools’ athletic directors joined to present the Taylor family with a special framed jersey representing both programs.
Then the varsity teams competed for the Anthony Taylor Cup, which will become an annual trophy in the series that now has the nickname “Battle of the Cat.” (Kerman Lions, Washington Panthers.) Etched on the trophy:
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“Coach Anthony Brian Taylor - December 26, 1968 - September 1, 2017. Sincere appreciation for the countless, selfless hours of your time & work to both the communities of Washington Union School District & Kerman Unified School District. Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure. You are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.”
Taylor was a longtime assistant at Reedley and Washington prior to coaching at Kerman. He was an assistant on the Panthers’ 2011 state championship team.
Taylor died Sept. 1, just a few hours before the Lions were to play at Madera South.
Kerman went 12-11 during Mr. Taylor’s two seasons, including a 7-5 run with a Central Section Division IV runner-up finish in 2015 during his first year. With Friday’s 49-0 victory over Washington, his Lions have produced a 9-1 record and secured the outright North Sequoia League championship.