Central High showed just how imposing a force its has become on the football field.
And what’s ever scarier for opposing teams: The Grizzlies appear to be getting better as the postseason looms.
In a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in The Bee’s Top 10 coaches poll, top-ranked Central dismantled Clovis West 40-13 Thursday night at Lamonica Stadium and clinched at least a share of the Tri-River Athletic Conference title.
The Grizzlies (8-1, 4-0) also likely locked up homefield advantage throughout the Central Section Division I playoffs and can go undefeated in the TRAC for the second consecutive season with a win against Clovis East in a regular-season finale next week.
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Postseason seedings will be announced following a Nov. 4 meeting at the section office in Porterville.
“We were dialed in,” Central coach Kyle Biggs said. “We had a great week of practice. We played our hearts out.”
Grizzlies quarterback Trent Tompkins eluded pressure throughout, scrambling away from trouble or quickly getting rid of the ball while frustrating the Golden Eagles all night.
Central’s defense, meanwhile, stifled Clovis West’s vaunted offense and had a shutout going until surrendering a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Clovis West (7-2, 3-1) had a seven-game winning streak snapped while suffering its worst loss of the season.
“When we play how we can play, this is how good we’re supposed to be,” said running back Diotry Brewer, who scored three touchdowns. “So I’m not surprised. We just have to come out here and execute.”
Central has beaten Clovis West three straight times the past two seasons.
Thursday’s game seemed as it was over by halftime. Central was up 20-0, and Clovis West was struggling to generate anything on offense.
Brewer ran in touchdowns from 2 and 29 yards for the game’s first scores.
Then Tompkins connected with Manuel Oliver-Davis for a 14-yard touchdown.
Any thoughts of Clovis West coming back after the break quickly went away after Tompkins corralled a high snap before zipping a pass to Jacob Torrez, who raced upfield for an 80-yard touchdown on the first drive of the second half.
Torrez even lost a shoe as he maneuvered his way along the Grizzlies sideline.
Tompkins had completed 19 of 26 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 51 rushing yards.
Running back Jevon Bigelow logged 23 carries for 101 yards.
Clovis West mustered just 170 total yards.
“I feel like this was a great statement to the Valley of who the Central Grizzlies really are,” Tompkins said. “It really showed who we are. The No. 1 team.”
No. 1 Central 40, No. 2 Clovis West 13
Central (8-1, 4-0)
Clovis West (7-2, 3-1)
C: Diotry Brewer 2 run (Kyler Collins kick)
C: Diotry Brewer 29 run (kick failed)
C: Manuel Oliver-Davis 14 pass from Trent Tompkins (Kyler Collins kick)
C: Jacob Torrez 80 pass from Trent Tompkins (kick failed)
C: Trent Tompkins 10 run (Andrew Alvarez kick)
C: Diotry Brewer 1 run (Andrew Alvarez kick)
CW: Rodney Wright 1 run (Eli Riofrio kick)
CW: Rodney Wright 16 pass from Dante Chachere (clock expired)
RUSHING: Central, Jevon Bigelow 23-101, Trent Tompkins 9-51, Diotry Brewer 8-50, Uriah Carter 7-27, Jekob Jones 2-15. Clovis West, Nick Coleman 1-3, Dante Chachere 8-15, Rodney Wright 1-(-6).
PASSING: Central, Trent Tompkins 19-26 303. Clovis West, Dante Chachere 25-43 188.
RECEIVING: Central, Avery Boyd 5-43, Jacob Torrez 7-178, Jeremiah Hunter 1-10, Jevon Bigelow 4-54, Manuel Oliver-Davis 2-18. Clovis West, Nick Coleman 9-49, Rodney Wright 9-47, Ricardo Arias 4-58, Miguel Junior Rodriguez 2-14, Gabe Solorio 4-36.