Central High set to defend section football title
What drives Trent Tompkins, senior quarterback of the undefeated Central High Grizzlies?
Four college scholarship offers.
That is all Tompkins has received so far, and that’s bad news for the rest of the Central Section.
Because all the snub-motivated Tompkins has done is set numerous section records while leading the Grizzlies to three straight Division I title games including Friday night against Liberty-Bakersfield at Deran Koligian Stadium.
He threw four touchdown passes in a 46-34 victory over Bakersfield last week, bringing his season total to a record 55 touchdowns, according to section historian Bob Barnett. The old record was held by three players at 54.
Tompkins says he ignores the outside noise – particularly that he’s too short (5 feet 11 inches) to be major-college material.
“I’ve been doubted for a long time because of my height. A lot of things play into it. I hear a lot of stuff. I just try to stay off social media and I stay to myself and I try to do my own thing.”
Grizzlies coach Kyle Biggs says he doesn’t understand why Tompkins’ height is an issue, though most Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks are at least 6-1.
Biggs says Tompkins can bring a lot to his team, evidenced most recently by the way he rallied Central to a come-from-behind victory over Bakersfield.
“He’s phenomenal,” Biggs says. “As long as we have him on our sideline, I like our chances. He’s taken his leadership to another level. He’s one of the guys who definitely didn’t want his season to end” last week.
Says junior wide receiver Jeremiah Hunter: “Just glad we have him on our team. He’s a really good leader.”
Tompkins will play at the college level at a school to be determined, with offers so far from Nevada, UC Davis, Brown and St. Francis-Pennsylvania.
In three varsity seasons at Central, Tompkins has put up highlight numbers often playing against three- to five-star recruits. He’s completed 681 of 1,078 passes for 10,822 yards and 128 touchdowns against 21 interceptions. Central has gone 35-4 and 15-0 in the Tri-River Athletic Conference under Tompkins. The Grizzlies lost a 21-14 heartbreaker to Bakersfield for the 2016 section championship then beat Buchanan 29-7 last year for the school’s first crown in 87 years.
All the while, Tompkins had a soundtrack for success.
“When I hear those things, it just drives me,” he says. “I don’t say nothing, I don’t do nothing, I just play my game.
“I don’t want anyone to have anything to say about me. I just want to go in and basically prove everybody wrong.”
A look at Friday’s other section finals:
Division II – Tulare Union defends its title against section newcomer Righetti, one of the Central Coast transfers this year.
Tulare Union quarterback Nathan Lamb completed 24 of 39 for 305 yards and two touchdowns to help his team to a 44-37 victory over Dinuba in the semifinals.
Division III – San Joaquin Memorial and Bakersfield Christian meet again in the playoffs, only this time it’s for the section title.
Last season, the Panthers defeated the Eagles 49-7 in the semifinals.
Both teams had little trouble last week.
The Panthers rolled to a 68-34 win over Mt. Whitney after senior running back Leonard Glass scored the first three touchdowns. Memorial senior quarterback Alec Trujillo threw four touchdowns and ran for one.
Bakerfield Christian senior Jacob Maran passed for 251 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-7 victory over Kingsburg.
The Eagles are led by coach Darren Carr, the older brother of Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
Division IV – It’s an all-Visalia final between Central Valley Christian and the defending section champion Golden West.
Last year, top-seeded Golden West beat No. 2 CVC 27-21 for the championship. This time, the venue shifts to top-seeded CVC’s home field.
Central Section championships
Friday, 7 p.m.
DIVISION I: No. 3 Liberty-Bakersfield (12-1) at No. 1 Central (12-0)
DIVISION II: No. 3 Righetti (10-2) at No. 1 Tulare Union (12-0)
DIVISION III: No. 2 Bakersfield Christian (9-3) at No. 1 San Joaquin Memorial (12-0)
DIVISION IV: No. 4 Golden West (7-5) at No. 2 Central Valley Christian (10-2)
DIVISION V: No. 3 Kennedy (12-1) at No. 1 Shafter (12-0)