Central High set to defend section football title
When Edison High takes the football field against The Bee’s top-ranked Central at Ratcliffe Stadium on Friday night, the Tigers will be playing for jewelry.
It’s called the Big Play Chain, a gold ET necklace, fashioned after University of Miami’s Turnover Chain.
The Grizzlies vs. Tigers is one of The Bee’s games to watch as the Central Section football season kicks off on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with 47 games.
New Edison coach and former Fresno State standout Atnaf Harris says he thought of the idea when Miami debuted the look last season to reward players who create turnovers. Harris says the Edison chain is 36 inches, 2.5 kilograms and 6.5 inches wide.
“A lot of people play copycat. I take the hit on that,” says Harris, who spent the past two seasons as the Roosevelt coach. “I was just thinking: being a player, it’s always something kids look forward to, and to keep good energy going. I’m always looking for little things, and I’m a guy who’s fiery on the sideline and I like my sideline to be on fire. “
Who will get to wear the bling? Harris says it will be presented to a player after a big play is made.
“I figure we had to be creative and build a mystique,” he said. “When I played here (Class of 1997), our sideline was lights out. We want to be flamboyant with a chip on our shoulder. We want to play loose. I just want our kids to react in a respectful way. I want to start an epidemic with it. “
The Tigers will sell a T-shirt with a gold “ET” on the front and “Edison Football Big Play Chain” on the back at Friday’s tailgate and during the game for $25.
Central coach Kyle Biggs feels good about his team as it begins defense of its section Division I championship. The Grizzlies lost in the state semifinals at Folsom.
“They have been working very hard to get better every day,” Biggs said. “This team has a chance to be very good, but we have to continue to take it one day at a time and focus on getting better every single day.”
Other games to watch
Central Catholic-Modesto at Clovis West — No. 6 Clovis West gets an early test against the perennial Sac-Joaquin Section small-school powerhouse when they meet for the first time, Friday night at Lamonica Stadium. Last season, the Raiders reached the Sac-Joaquin D-II quarterfinals.
Central Catholic features running back/defensive back Dawaiian McKneely and quarterback Dalton Durossette.
Golden Eagles coach George Petrissans said his team has come along well during camp.
“We’re young and they’re learning,” he said. “I like the talent we have. We’re happy where were at. We need to learn how to play with passion and bring the energy.”
It’s one of three games pitting Clovis Unified teams against out-of-area foes. No. 2 Buchanan hosts Paso Robles on Friday night and No. 10 Clovis is home Saturday night against Modesto.
Selma at Kerman — Lions coach Stephen Hurt hasn’t forgotten about last season’s season opener.
Selma lined up for an extra-point try but a bad center snap went to kicker Felipe Garcia who threw to tight end Parker Cazares for the winning two-point conversion. Final: Selma 22, Kerman 21.
“I keep reminding the boys this week,” Hurt said.
Gone for Kerman is star quarterback Sean Chambers who is at Wyoming. Starting for the Lions will be 5-foot-10 junior Gavin Layton. Selma has a new QB, too, senior Ricky Mota replacing Jr Ramirez.
The Bee’s preseason Top 10
1. Central 12-2
2. Buchanan 10-3
3. Bakersfield 6-6
4. Liberty-Bakersfield 6-5
5. San Joaquin Memorial 11-3
6. Clovis West 9-3
7. Tulare Union 13-1
8. Bullard 6-6
9. Tulare Western 11-2
10. Clovis 7-5