116 years later: If ever 0-2 (Fresno) vs. 2-0 (Selma) season records were insignificant, it's tonight at Staley Stadium, home of the Selma Bears.
This is a series, albeit virtually in hibernation since 1942 (Fresno won 34-2), that was launched on Christmas Day 1894 at Selma's Athletic Park, a contest won 10-0 by the Bears in what is believed to be the Valley's first high school football game, Selma historian Randy McFarland said.
In 1929, McFarland says, the schools played the first night prep football game in the western U.S., Fresno winning 25-0 on Selma's Rose Avenue (now part of Brentlinger park). The only game since 1942 was won 6-0 by the Bears in 1991 on a Saturday night at a sold-out Staley Stadium.
Series advantage: Selma 14-13-3.
El D + C = A game: Way cool game tonight at Koligian Stadium, matching teams attempting to make a statement in Division I -- No. 8 El Diamante (2-0), the three-year reigning West Yosemite League champ promoted from D-II, and No. 2 Central (2-0), a rising power under third-year coach Casey Quinn. Coach Mark Rogers of 2007 D-II titlist El Diamante says: "Our players have handled going to D-I really well; they're really excited. Will it be harder to win Valley? Yes. Do the odds go down? Yes, they do. But if we pull it off, it will be a chance of a lifetime."
PLAYERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Kevin Schofield, Dos Palos and Chad Neal, Chowchilla: They'll arrive at Chowchilla's Massaro Stadium tonight having produced some of the most alarming rushing statistics in the state last week -- Schofield carrying 48 times (that's one per minute) for 222 yards in a 21-20 win over Los Banos while Neal averaged 47.8 yards on five carries in a 239-yard, three-TD night as the Redskins blasted Alisal-Salinas 51-12.
OTHER GAMES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
No. 15 Bullard (0-2) at No. 5 Clovis East (2-1): Shades of 2006 for the Knights? It was then that they were outscored 203-35 in their first four games (all losses) en route to a 2-8 season following a D-I title game appearance in 2005. Now, a year after going 13-0 and winning its first section crown, Bullard is 0-2 and outscored 90-19, including a 49-0 thrashing by the state's now-No. 9 Valley Christian-San Jose.
No. 9 Frontier (1-1) at No. 19 Clovis North (1-2): A win here in a matchup of D-II teams would go a long way in removing the sting of what had been an 0-2 start for the Broncos with their first senior class.
No. 13 Tulare (2-0, 1-0 EYL) at Porterville (3-0, 1-0): In the regular season, Tulare has won 32 straight and scored at least 35 points in its past 26.
No. 14 Liberty-Bakersfield (2-1) at No. 6 Buchanan (2-0), Saturday: A comparative score used no doubt in D-I seedings in two months.
Memorial (2-0) at No. 10 Garces (2-0), Saturday: Latest Holy War of D-II powers features unbeaten records -- not unusual in the series.
Follow us: Keep up with the action tonight at blitz.fresnobeehive.com and on Twitter @scoopy sports. Coverage will be provided by Andy Boogaard (Dos Palos at Chowchilla) and Nick Giannandrea (El Diamante at Central).
Coaches: Got a score to report? Call (559) 441-6379 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.