Clovis News: Sports

Buchanan, Bakersfield will put offenses to test

Watching Buchanan High's spread offense is like watching an orchestra, Bakersfield coach Paul Golla says.

"In the five years I've been here, it's one of the top five offenses I've seen," he says.

Watching his own flexbone option offense, he says, is like watching a punk rock concert.

Not to suggest it's bad.

"He's underselling," Buchanan coach Mike Vogt says. "It's the best offensive line we've seen in a while, they run the option really well, they run it downhill, and their quarterback [Brian Burrell] is exceptional. So we're nervous."

Bottom line, it will be sweet music for Central Section football Friday, when Vogt's No. 1 Bears oppose No. 3 Bakersfield in a nonleague game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The result promises to have Division I playoff seeding ramifications in two months. But, to that, Golla says: "I don't really care, and I'm one of the few guys that doesn't. I just tell our players it will be a great opportunity against a team that I think is terribly underranked in the state."

Buchanan, in fact, isn't ranked in Cal-Hi Sports' Top 25, but the Bears are listed at No. 15 in the D-I South for bowl purposes.

The Bears have beaten Sanger 50-7 and Redwood 43-21 -- teams directed by established coaches in Chuck Shidan and John Yavasile.

"I respect those coaches as much as anybody," Vogt says, "but we'll find out if we're any good in our next two games."

Buchanan will play No. 4 Edison on Oct. 2 at Sunnyside High.

In the year of the quarterback in the section, Friday's game between the Bears and Drillers will match two of the finest in Lance Orender and Burrell.

Orender, a 6-foot-6, 195-pound senior, has passed for 517 yards and racked up a 71.4 completion percentage -- with help, Golla says: "Their receivers understand coverage and know how to get into windows. Their timing and execution is fantastic."

Jake East, the quickest receiver Vogt has had in 25 years of coaching, has caught 10 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns. Seth Moranda (9-142-2) and Austin Kemp (5-141-2) provide depth.

Bakersfield's Burrell, at 6-3, 195, is a "definite" major college prospect, Golla says.

"If he played at a big-time passing school, he'd have all the numbers," the coach says. "His intelligence, competitiveness, leadership and calming presence -- he's special."

Burrell, who started the team's final five games last year as a sophomore, rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns, and passed for 132 yards and another score in an opening 43-7 rout of Canyon-Canyon County -- a state power this decade.

Then, last Friday, Burrell rallied the Drillers from an 11-point deficit in the final 8 minutes for a 32-31 win over then-No. 8 Stockdale.

Redwood linebacker gets good news

Taylor George and Redwood appear to have dodged a bullet after an MRI revealed the college prospect did not tear ligaments in his elbow during Friday's game against Buchanan as initially feared.

A ligament tear would have sidelined the third-year starting middle linebacker -- who leads Redwood with 30 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in two games -- for the season.

But Rangers coach Yavasile said the elbow is only dislocated and George could be back in three to four weeks.

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound George has received recruiting interest from Washington, San Diego State, UCLA, Nevada and Fresno State.