League play for all: It will be league play in the Central Section tonight, except for four games. And, for some teams, it will launch their final runs before shifting leagues next year.
Moving will be Memorial and Sunnyside from the North Yosemite League to County/Metro Athletic Conference; Hoover and Reedley from the CMAC to the NYL; Clovis North from the CMAC to the Tri-River Athletic Conference; and Madera from the TRAC to the CMAC.
Midseason Oscars: Player of the Year - Kingsburg QB Tyler Bray (1,273 yards, 62.2%, 18 TD, 2 ints., for a 5-0 team that's No. 1 in the section's D-IV and No. 13 overall); Coach of the Year - Lindsay's Robert Hurtado (5-1 and top-ranked in D-V in his first permanent season after 3-8 in 2008); Team of the Year - Buchanan (5-0, top-ranked in the section, No. 24 in the state and consecutive wins over No. 9 Bakersfield, No. 6 Edison and No. 7 Memorial).
By the way: It was Buchanan tackle Josh Banks' penetration that blew up Memorial's last-minute, last-play rushing attempt at the Buchanan 1-yard line last Friday in the Bears' 28-21 win. Had David Garcia scored on the play? Said Memorial coach Anthony Goston: "We were going for two and the win right there."
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Chowchilla challenges: A year after going unbeaten in the North Sequoia League and winning the section's D-IV title, fate is frowning on Chowchilla. In a 20-13 loss at Kerman last week, the Redskins played without starters Juan Medina (guard/defensive end, ankle), Francisco Delgadillo (guard, ankle) and Justin Blackwell (fullback/linebacker, shoulder), and lost another, Chad Neal (fullback/linebacker, knee), in the second quarter. Chowchilla carries 34 players when healthy, and that's down from 45 last season. Said coach John Henson: "We are experiencing a wave of classes that have not displayed an interest in extracurricular activities comparable to those who preceded them."
He said it: "He's brought character, family, everything. This is our family, and we're going to be doing big things." - Kerman cornerback Adrian Flores on second-year coach Marty Martin following the Lions' victory against Chowchilla.
PLAYER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Brendon Bigelow, Central: On a night Clovis West running back Kendall Brock is doubtful with a knee injury, the stage clears for Bigelow to have the biggest impact on the game. Golden Eagles coach Coby Lindsey is concerned with the Grizzlies' speed - "Nobody in the Valley can catch those guys from behind, even with angles; it's scary, man." It begins with state-class sprinter Bigelow as a running back. He's averaging 10.3 yards a carry and has scored five touchdowns.
GAMES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Central (3-2) at Clovis West (2-3): Edison beat Central 25-17 a month ago by controlling the ball and tempo. The Golden Eagles will attempt to do the same, with Braden Seibert likely carrying the load. And check out the new arrival - sophomore running back Sean Morris, promoted from junior varsity.
Clovis North (4-1) at Bullard (5-0): Yes, it's No. 15 at No. 2 with glossy records in a County/Metro Athletic Conference opener. But it's a stretch to ask the Broncos to hang with a 30-man roster and no seniors.
Edison (3-2) at Reedley (5-0): Similar to Clovis North and Bullard, this no doubt is much sexier by records alone than the outcome will prove. Wonderful turnaround for Reedley a year after it went 3-7, but the Pirates are taking a major step up in class tonight.
Buchanan (5-0) at Madera (4-1): Just like the two above, records here deceive the matchup. But the Coyotes should be howling in two years with a solid senior class.
Sierra (4-1, 0-1) at Washington (3-2, 1-0): Fulfilling a preseason prophecy - "No one thinks we have anything, so we're going to sneak up on people" - Sierra interim coach Rob Hastie has been magical a year after the Chieftains went 2-8. But now for another trick: Make Panthers quarterback Adam McCurley disappear. The senior has completed 61.3% of his passes while throwing for 1,342 yards and 14 touchdowns, with only four interceptions.
Dos Palos (3-2, 2-0) at Kerman (4-1, 1-1): Good idea for the Lions to jump off that cloud and float down to earth following their upset of Chowchilla because Dos Palos is showing flashes of old behind junior running back/linebacker Kevin Schofield.
Kingsburg (5-0, 2-0) at Dinuba (4-1, 1-1): Only the Emperors appear threatening to Kingsburg in a down Central Sequoia League. No other teams in the conference have winning overall records.
Follow us: Keep up with the action tonight at fresnobeehive.com/sportsbuzz and on Twitter @scoopysports. Coverage will be provided by Andy Boogaard (Central at Clovis West) and Nick Giannandrea (Kingsburg at Dinuba).
Coaches: Got a score to report? Call (559) 441-6379 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.