When the Central Section boys soccer playoff pairings are announced Saturday, expect Buchanan High to draw the top seed in Division I.
The Bears likely will be rewarded with homefield advantage throughout the playoffs after a 3-2 win Wednesday over visiting Clovis North that put the finishing touches on a 10-0 run through the powerful Tri-River Athletic Conference and an 18-2-2 overall record that is second to none among teams in the D-I field.
"They are talented in every position, from goalkeeper all the way through," Clovis North coach Chad McCarty said. "I haven't seen the Bakersfield teams play, but I have a hard time thinking there's a team on paper better than they are. They have a great shot at winning it all."
Buchanan, ranked No. 1 in the section by The Bee, is an experienced bunch with 15 seniors, including four-years starters J.P. Medina and Trevor Spurgeon. The Bears are also perhaps the section's hottest team, having gone unbeaten in their past 13 games since a 1-0 loss to Loyola-Los Angeles during the Golden West Invitational at the end of December.
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"This is a special group," Buchanan coach John Spurgeon said. "I think we're just about ready to peak."
The Bears had to rally to keep their unbeaten streak alive against the seventh-ranked Broncos (12-6-2, 5-4-1), who overcame a sloppy start and an early 2-0 deficit to make a game of it on second-half goals by Villyan Bijev.
But in blink of an eye, Buchanan transitioned from nearly allowing the go-ahead goal on a shot that just went over the top of the post, to scoring the winner when Josh Alvarez took a feed from Medina near midfield and outraced a Clovis North defender before burying a shot into the far-left corner of the post with roughly 30 seconds left in the game.
"Me and J.P. connected. He fed me and I kept my head down on the ball and just tried to finish," Alvarez said. "It was like I was in a tunnel, just jamming through there. I felt like no one could catch me."
Buchanan led 2-0 in the first half on goals by Jordan Scrivner and Nathan Toto.