Central-Buchanan, Part III tees up Friday night.
That would be the third meeting between the top two football teams in the Central Section, No. 1 Central vs. No. 2 Buchanan. They open the Tri-River Athletic Conference season at 7 p.m. Friday at Central’s Koligian Stadium.
It will be the first meeting between the schools since the section Division I title game won by Central 29-7. And the programs opened last year’s TRAC schedule at Buchanan in a game won by rallying Central 28-27.
Buchanan is coming off a 31-24 loss to perennial power De La Salle-Concord at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Sept. 21.
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, had a bye after opening the season 5-0. What did Central coach Kyle Biggs do on gameday last week?
He watched Buchanan play De La Salle.
“Great team,” he said. “Every time De La Salle had a chance to pull away, Buchanan made plays to keep them in the game, and that’s what great teams do.”
The Grizzlies will be led by senior quarterback Trent Tompkins, who has completed 97 of 153 for 1,698 yards and 28 touchdowns against two interceptions this season.
Tompkins has 101 career passing touchdowns – second-most in section history behind ex-Farmersville standout Sam Metcalf who had 142, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
Central junior wide receiver Jeremiah Hunter has 14 touchdowns.
And the Central defense has 23 sacks and four interceptions. Senior Dominic Mendez leads the team with 52 tackles and is tied with sophomore Jekob Jones with five sacks.
“Outstanding, talented team,” Bears coach Matt Giordano said. “Another outstanding coaching staff. We have to learn from (the De La Salle loss) quickly and move on quickly because it’s Central and they’re the defending Valley champions. They’re the favorite and we got to make sure we have our A-game.”
Buchanan has proven it can win on the road; the Bears won 28-13 at No. 5 Liberty-Bakersfield on Sept. 7.
“All we got to do is capitalize on our mistakes we made this week and the mental errors, so we don’t make the same mistakes and play an A-plus game,” Buchanan senior wide receiver/cornerback Jalen Cropper said.
Bears senior linebacker Steven Scheidt agrees.
“Just keep building, look at the film and get better,” he said. “See what we can do better to beat Central.”
Buchanan junior running back Kendall Milton has 51 carries for 377 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Biggs expects Buchanan to “come in hype and play physical football.”
“On offense, they’re very good and physical upfront on the offensive line and talented in their skill positions,” he said. “On defense, they’re very physical and fly to the football. They get 11 hats to the ball carrier.”
Tickets – Central is selling tickets ($7 for adults and $4 for students) at the East and West campus and the finance office.
Other TRAC games – Clovis North (1-3) meets Clovis West (0-5) at Veterans Memorial Stadium and Clovis East (3-2) visits No. 9 Clovis (4-1). Both games are 7 p.m. kickoff.
County-Metro Athletic Conference – Bullard (1-4) will visit No. 4 San Joaquin Memorial (4-1) in a game nationally televised by Stadium, a 24/7 multi-platform sports network.
It’s the first time Stadium is televising high school football this season. The game can be seen on WatchStadium.com, Facebook, the Stadium iOS, tvOS, Android TV and Android mobile apps, Twitter (@WatchStadium), Twitch (Twitch.tv/stadium) and dedicated channels on Roku and Fubo TV.
The game can also be seen on KFRE-59.1. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
Other CMAC games: Edison (2-3) at Madera South (0-5) and Madera (4-1) at Sanger (4-1).
North Yosemite League – McLane and Roosevelt will look to continue hot starts despite suffering losses last week.
The Highlanders (4-1) visit Sunnyside (0-5), while the Rough Riders (4-1) go to Reedley (2-3). Hoover (0-5) and Fresno (1-4) will meet at McLane Stadium. All games are 7:30 p.m. kickoffs.
Milestone – Tulare Union senior quarterback Nathan Lamb has 91 career touchdown passes after a 66-0 victory over Hoover.
The week before, he completed 15 consecutive passes after missing his first for 225 yards and tied a school record with seven touchdowns, Barnett said.
FHS Hall of Fame
The 12th annual Fresno High Wall of Champions Dinner is Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Pardini’s in Fresno.
Athletes joining the Wall are Jim Weymouth (Class of 1971), one of the school’s all-time basketball scoring leaders, and multi-sport standouts Ken Hoyt (1960), Don Jurkovich (1965), Billy Kemp (1976), Takeo Kunishige (1936) and Bob Van Galder (1955); boys basketball coaches Joe Kelly (1942-1953) and Dick Van Galder (1965-1990); Van Galder’s 1980 NYL championship team; and the 1980-81 NYL girls basketball championship teams.
Central Section Top 10 football rankings
4. San Joaquin Memorial
6. Tulare Union
7. Tulare Western
8. Arroyo Grande
10. St. Joseph