Sanger coach Jorge Pena and Hanford coach Josh Young expect an electric atmosphere when their teams meet in a nonleague game Friday at Hanford’s Neighbor Bowl.
“Fun atmosphere,” Pena said. “Two crowds with a lot of pride in their school and town.”
“Hanford has a history of good football and we match up with each other,” Pena said. “We scheduled them after their state title looking to upgrade our schedule and we played each other for years.”
Hanford and Sanger are separated by 31 miles but only recently revived a rivalry. This will be the third straight season for the teams to meet. Sanger won in 2016 and 2017, rolling to a 42-0 victory last season. Once upon a time, they were foes in the West Yosemite League before Sanger moved to the North Yosemite League and eventually the County/Metro Athletic Conference.
Both teams are coming off season-opening victories over traditional rivals (Sanger beat Reedley 45-0 in the 105th meeting between the schools and Hanford beat Hanford West 63-6).
Young is expecting a physical game. “We need to execute a better than we did last week,” he said. “This is a big game for us. This is the one we look forward to playing every year.”
Other notable games:
Grant-Sacramento (1-0) at Central (1-0) - This will be a much tougher test for the Grizzlies, who are No. 1 in The Bee’s Central Section Top 10 and coming off a 35-7 win over Edison.
Grant was 4-6 last season but comes into Friday as The Sacramento Bee’s ninth-ranked team. The Pacers feature quarterback Xavier Johnson coming off a 337-yard, five-touchdown game in a 59-28 victory over Davis. Another Pacer to watch is Paris Warren Jr., a 6-foot-2, 205-pound receiver/linebacker who is the son of Paris Warren Sr., who played in the NFL from 2005-09.
“They look a lot like the Grant teams of the past,” Central coach Kyle Biggs said, referencing a program that has won a state championship. “This is a great chance for us to play against someone we are not familiar with and I can’t wait to see how we handle a little adversity and to see how we respond to that adversity.”
Buchanan (1-0) at Bullard (0-0) - The Knights had an opening-night bye and what do they get for their season opener at Ratcliffe Stadium? The second-ranked Bears and five-star recruit Kendall Milton and wide receiver Jalen Cropper.
Buchanan routed Paso Robles 56-17 at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Bullard will feature running back Marcus Fulcher who is coming off a 1,780-yard, 18-touchdown season in 2017.
“Buchanan is a hot school right now,” Bullard coach Don Arax said. “Big-time athletes and we have to be at our very best to have a chance to compete.”
Records - Central Section historian Bob Barnett noted a Tulare Union school record.
Only this time, it wasn’t set by Kazmeir Allen who’s now at UCLA.
Fresno State commit Randy Jordan Jr. had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to set a school record in Tulare Union’s 36-33 victory over Mt. Whitney.
Barnett also noted Tribe coach Darren Bennett notched his 198th career win in 28 seasons.
Other top achievements last week as noted by Barnett:
Porterville quarterback Hector Nava Jr. tied a school record with five touchdown passes and threw 429 yards, second-best in school history.
Woodlake quarterback Damian Hernandez had 418 yards to set a school record and tied a school record with six touchdowns in the Tigers’ 55-12 victory over Parlier.