Central Section football playoff highlights
If Bullard High and Edison are to make a run in the Central Section Division I playoffs, it’ll have to be on the road.
On Friday in the first round, both teams proved they were up to the challenge.
No. 12 Bullard trounced No. 5 St. Joseph 45-28 in Santa Maria behind five touchdowns from Marcus Fulcher, and No. 9 Edison topped No. 8 Ridgeview 42-33 in Bakersfield thanks to Amos Scott’s four rushing scores.
Bullard (5-6) will remain out of town next week, playing at No. 4 Bakersfield (8-3) in the quarterfinals. The teams are 2-2 in postseason matchups since 2005 but haven’t met since 2011.
Edison (6-5) gets to stay close to home but will be the underdog when the Tigers face top-seeded Central (10-0) in a Fresno west-side matchup. Edison lost 35-7 when the teams met in a season-opener.
Fulcher, by the way, finished with 26 carries for 235 yards for Bullard.
Long road trip pays off for Dos Palos
Dos Palos traveled 12-plus hours for its first-round D-V matchup. Luckily for the Broncos, they got to enjoy their bus ride home.
In a matchup of schools separated by roughly a 270-mile drive around the Sierra, No. 9 Dos Palos managed to steer its way to a 41-8 victory against No. 8 Bishop.
Dos Palos’ Ronald Johnson scored two touchdowns in the first half, and the Broncos didn’t allow any points until the final quarter.
Dos Palos (6-5) has won six of its last seven and moves on to face top-seeded Shafter (10-0) in the quarterfinals. That means a round trip of about 300 miles.
The Dos Palos-Bishop matchup is among the longest distances between two schools in the Central Section. The section expanded five years ago to include five small-division schools from the Southern Section’s High Desert League, including Bishop. This fall, the Central Section welcomed 12 Central Coast schools.
Washington Union among nine underdog winners
Lower-seeded teams went 9-26 in the first round, including 10th-seeded Washington Union’s 14-6 win over No. 7 Roosevelt, the North Yosemite League-co-champion, in D-IV.
The Rough Riders scored in the final minute of the first half to lead 6-0, but Stephane Dowell scored on a 3-yard run in the third quarter to put Washington Union ahead and Darius McCray caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Christian Ruacho in the fourth for breathing room.
Rude welcome for Central Coast teams
Central Coast teams in the top three divisions went 2-4 including losses by higher seeds St. Joseph and Nipomo and No. 13 Santa Maria’s 77-0 loss to No. 4 Mt. Whitney in Division III.
Two leagues from the region joined the section this year seeking better playoff conditions after experiencing tough matchups and long road trips in the Southern Section.
Arroyo Grande (No. 7 in D-I), Righetti (No. 3 in D-II with a first-round bye) and San Luis Obispo (No. 8 in D-III) are into the quarterfinals.