High School Sports

Week 9 Prep Blitz: Ashanti Ross a headache only for opponents now as Washington in command

Quarterback Ashanti Ross is back and, consequently, so is Washington High, prominently, in Central Section Division IV.

The Panthers, back to D-IV after having been elevated to D-III the past three seasons, are 5-1 with Ross at the wheel following an 0-2 start without him.

They also lead the North Sequoia League with a 3-0 record while emerging as a section D-IV contender entering Friday night’s game at Yosemite (0-7, 0-3).

This is continued misery waiting to happen for the outmanned Badgers, particularly in trying to defend multisport star Ross.

The senior didn’t play football last year after suffering a concussion as a sophomore.

He did, however, star in soccer and baseball as a junior.

His 13 saves as a goalie allowed Washington to defeat McLane 2-1 in February for the D-IV championship, the Panthers’ first in boys soccer.

It wasn’t until after Washington lost 10-7 to Memorial and 25-19 in five overtimes to Mission Oak to begin this football season that Ross persuaded his mother not to fear a repeat concussion, and she allowed him to play.

Firing from coach Dennis Randle’s spread offense, he has passed for 813 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“He’s just a great leader with a competitive drive that just wills us to win,” Randle says. “He just brings so much to the table.”

The supporting cast is deep in a program that captured consecutive D-IV titles – going 14-0 and also winning a state bowl championship in 2011 – before being promoted to D-III.

Also making a considerable impact for the Panthers have been wide receiver/cornerback Carlos Silva, running back/defensive end Noah Beukers, wide receiver/free safety/kicker Johnny Rodriguez and linebacker Ricky Dow.

Washington will close the regular season at home against Kerman next Friday, then figures to be in line for a D-IV top-four seed the following day.

It’s a stacked division, also featuring Madera South of the County/Metro Athletic Conference, Chavez of the South Sequoia League, Chowchilla of the NSL and Central Valley Christian and Selma of the Central Sequoia League.

Games of the week (all Friday)

No. 2 Liberty-Bakersfield (4-3, 3-0) at No. 8 Centennial (6-2, 3-0): To the section’s north, at least, this is all about D-I seeding interest. And, mostly, with Clovis, which would benefit hugely from a Centennial win here. Why? The Cougars won 28-27 at Centennial in late September. Hence, a Centennial Southwest Yosemite League title + a Clovis TRAC crown = potential Cougars top seed in D-I. Top-ranked Bullard of the CMAC, meanwhile, paying close attention here, also.

No. 4 Clovis (7-1, 2-1) vs. No. 5 Clovis North (5-2, 3-0), Veterans Memorial Stadium: Clovis North’s records against TRAC schools since the Broncos engaged them in 2010 – Clovis East 7-0, Buchanan 5-0, Clovis West 5-1, Central 4-3 and Clovis 3-4.

No. 15 Stockdale (2-6, 1-2) at No. 13 Bakersfield (4-4, 1-1): D-I scoreboard-watcher, but in no way what had been anticipated two months ago.

Selma (6-2, 1-1) at CVC (6-2, 2-1): CSL championship and D-IV seeding implications. Selma lost this one 42-0 a year ago – at home, no less – and good guess is Bears haven’t forgotten.

Sierra Pacific (6-2, 2-1) at Woodlake (6-2, 3-0): Section small-schools special with banner hanging on line in East Sequoia League. But not to ignore Lindsay (3-5, 2-1), which has beaten Sierra Pacific (21-20) and lost to Woodlake (34-21).

Andy Boogaard: 559-441-6400, @beepreps

Central Section Football: Week 9 Schedule

Thursday

TRI-RIVER ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Central vs. Clovis West (Lamonica Stadium), 7 p.m.

COUNTY/METRO ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Sanger vs. Bullard (McLane), 7 p.m.

NORTH YOSEMITE LEAGUE

McLane vs. Fresno (Sunnyside), 7 p.m.

EAST YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Delano vs. Porterville (Granite Hills), 7 p.m.

Friday

TRI-RIVER ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Buchanan vs. Clovis East (Lamonica Stadium), 7 p.m.

Clovis vs. Clovis North (Veterans Memorial Stadium), 7:30 p.m.

COUNTY/METRO ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Madera vs. Edison (Sunnyside), 7:30 p.m.

Memorial vs. Madera South (Memorial Stadium), 7:30 p.m.

NORTH YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Hoover at Reedley, 7:30 p.m.

Sunnyside vs. Roosevelt (McLane), 7:30 p.m.

WEST YOSEMITE LEAGUE

El Diamante at Lemoore, 7:30 p.m.

Golden West vs. Mt. Whitney (Mineral King Bowl), 7:30 p.m.

Redwood vs. Hanford West (Neighbor Bowl), 7:30 p.m.

EAST YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Mission Oak at Tulare, 7 p.m.

Tulare Western vs. Monache (Granite Hills), 7:30 p.m.

SOUTHEAST YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Highland at North, 7:30 p.m.

Mira Monte at Foothill, 7:30 p.m.

SOUTHWEST YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Garces at Frontier, 7:30 p.m.

Liberty-Bakersfield at Centennial, 7:30 p.m.

Stockdale at Bakersfield, 7:30 p.m.

SOUTH YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Independence at East Bakersfield, 7:30 p.m.

Ridgeview at Tehachapi, 7:30 p.m.

West at Golden Valley, 7:30 p.m.

NORTH SEQUOIA LEAGUE

Liberty-Madera Ranchos at Kerman, 7 p.m.

Sierra at Chowchilla, 7 p.m.

Washington at Yosemite, 7 p.m.

CENTRAL SEQUOIA LEAGUE

Exeter at Kingsburg, 7 p.m.

Selma at Central Valley Christian, 7 p.m.

EAST SEQUOIA LEAGUE

Granite Hills at Strathmore, 7:15 p.m.

Sierra Pacific at Woodlake, 7:15 p.m.

Lindsay at Corcoran, 7:30 p.m.

SOUTH SEQUOIA LEAGUE

Arvin at Wasco, 7:30 p.m.

Kennedy at Taft, 7:30 p.m.

Shafter at Chavez, 7:30 p.m.

WEST SEQUOIA LEAGUE

Riverdale at Fowler, 7 p.m.

Minarets at Parlier, 7:30 p.m.

EAST SIERRA LEAGUE

Farmersville at Orange Cove, 7:30 p.m.

McFarland at Laton, 7:30 p.m.

WEST SIERRA LEAGUE

Coalinga at Dos Palos, 7:30 p.m.

Firebaugh at Avenal, 7:30 p.m.

Tranquillity at Mendota, 7:30 p.m.

HIGH DESERT LEAGUE

California City at Kern Valley, 7 p.m.

Frazier Mountain at Bishop, 7 p.m.

NONLEAGUE

Orosi at Caruthers, 7:30 p.m.

CENTRAL SIERRA LEAGUE (8 man)

Alpaugh at Kings Christian, 7 p.m.

INTERSECTIONAL (8 man)

Fresno Christian at East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy, 7 p.m.

Saturday

CENTRAL SIERRA LEAGUE (8 man)

Faith Christian at Riverdale Christian, 1 p.m.

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