High School Football

Central gets started in section playoffs with eye on a bigger prize

Central High set to defend section football title

Central High will open the season against Edison on Aug. 17 at Ratcliffe Stadium. The Grizzlies are coming off their first Central Section title in 87 years after a 29-7 victory over Buchanan in the 2017 championship game.
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Central High will open the season against Edison on Aug. 17 at Ratcliffe Stadium. The Grizzlies are coming off their first Central Section title in 87 years after a 29-7 victory over Buchanan in the 2017 championship game.

It has been nothing but lopsided victories for the undefeatd Central High football team this season, an average score of 52.6 to 14.

The Grizzlies are peaking in time for the Central Section playoffs, right?

Don’t tell that to coach Kyle Biggs.

“We’re still ascending,” he said. “That’s the exciting part of this team.”

The top-seeded Grizzlies will face No. 9 Edison at Deran Koligan Stadium in the Division I quarterfinals on Friday night. The Tigers advanced after defeating Ridgeview 42-33 in Bakersfield last week. Central had a first-round bye.

Central and Edison met in the season-opener, won by the Grizzlies 35-7 at Ratcliffe Stadium.

The Bee's top-ranked Central High Grizzlies met Edison in a season opener for both teams at Ratcliffe Stadium on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

The Grizzlies are coming off a memorable 2017 season that saw them win the school’s first section championship and give eventual state champion Folsom a run in the state semifinals.

Biggs believes his current team can do so much more.

“This team can pick up right where last year’s team left off,” he said. “They are just as talented and this team knows what needs to be done for us to accomplish our goals of winning Valley and state.”

A look at how Central High senior quarterback Trent Tompkins tied the Central Section record for touchdowns in a season. He needs one to pass Sam Metcalf, formerly of Farmersville High. The Grizzlies rolled past Clovis West 75-7.

“This team is on a mission,” Biggs said. “They know what they need to do to accomplish that mission. We just have to keep that focus and determination.”

Highlighting the other matchups involving top-seeded teams:

Division II – Tulare Union will face No. 8 Garces. The Rams blanked No. 9 Redwood 45-0. The Tribe, coming off a bye, is led by quarterback Nathan Lamb who finished the regular season with 3,263 yards, passing Emmanuel Lewis who had 3,249 yards in 2005, according to section historian Bob Barnett.

Division III – San Joaquin Memorial hosts No. 8 San Luis Obispo. The Tigers defeated No. 9 South 24-16. The Panthers, who had a first-round bye, are led by quarterback Alec Trujillo and wide receiver Jalen McMillan.

Division IV – Porterville will meet visiting No. 8 Wasco, which defeated No. 9 East 33-13. Porterville had a bye. Panthers sophomore quarterback Hector Nava Jr. finished the regular season with 2,504 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Division V – Shafter hosts No. 9 Dos Palos. The Broncos rolled to a 41-8 victory over Bishop Union. The Generals, coming off a bye, are led by quarterback Alex Aguilar who has 33 touchdowns against four interceptions this season.

Division VI – Strathmore routed No. 8 Boron 54-6 in the first round and will face No. 5 California City in the semifinals. The other semifinal sends No. 6 Sierra Pacific to No. 2 Orange Cove.

8-Man – It’s also the semifinals, featuring No. 1 Mission Prep hosting No. 4 Riverdale Christian and No. 3 Orcutt Academy visiting No. 2 Fresno Christian.

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