High School Football

Central will start the season as The Bee’s top-ranked team. Who else made the Top 25?

Central High football coach Kyle Biggs is excited about his new quarterbacks

Jameson Silva and DJ Frampton are competing for the Central High starting quarterback job after star Trent Tompkins graduated to UC Davis.
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Jameson Silva and DJ Frampton are competing for the Central High starting quarterback job after star Trent Tompkins graduated to UC Davis.

Defending Central Section champion Central High is the preseason No. 1 in The Bee’s expanded high school football rankings.

The Grizzlies must replace quarterback Trent Tompkins, who is at UC Davis, but have enough talent across the board to edge Tri-River Athletic Conference rival No. 2 Buchanan for the top spot.

Central opens the season Friday night against No. 8 Edison at Koligian Stadium. Buchanan gets started Saturday night when it plays Narbonne-Harbor City at Veterans Memorial Stadium in a game televised on ESPNU.

Here are the overall section Top 25 and top 10s in each division:

Top 25

1. Central Grizzlies (13-1 in 2018)

Coach: Kyle Biggs

League: Tri-River Athletic Conference

Division: I

Skinny: Transfers Jameson Siliva and DJ Frampton compete to be the starting quarterback. The Grizzlies welcome back Cal-bound wide receiver Jeremiah Hunter, athlete Quail Conley, LB/RB Jekob Jones, OL DJ Tatum and DL Ricky Correia.

2. Buchanan Bears (10-3)

Coach: Matt Giordano

League: Tri-River Athletic Conference

Division: I

Skinny: This is it for star running back Kendall Milton, the senior who has committed to Georgia. Giordano said he likes the leadership by the seniors.

3. Liberty-Bakersfield Patriots (12-2)

Coach: Bryan Nixon

League: Southwest Yosemite League

Division: I

Skinny: The Patriots lost quarterback Hector Gonzalez and running back Sam Stewart Jr. to graduation, but have senior WR/DB Ramon Henderson back from team that upset Buchanan and reached the section final against Central last year.

4. San Joaquin Memorial Panthers (14-1)

Coach: Anthony Goston

League: County/Metro Athletic Conference

Division: II

Skinny: QB Alec Trujillo is gone, but the Panthers highlight major-college recruits in WRs Jalen McMillan (Washington) and Mac Dalena (Fresno State) and DE Tobin Phillips (Stanford). Who will replace Trujillo? It’s Finn Collins, a transfer from Loyola-Los Angeles.

5. Bakersfield Drillers (9-4)

Coach: Michael Stewart

League: Southwest Yosemite League

Division: I

Skinny: Gone is coach Paul Golla, who Bakersfield to five section D-I titles and a state title in 14 seasons but now is at Garces. Enter Stewart who starred at Fresno State before going in the eighth round of the 1987 NFL Draft with the Los Angeles Rams. The Drillers return seniors Wesley Wilson and Isaac Jernagin.

6. Bullard Knights (5-7)

Coach: Don Arax/Yosef Fares

League: County/Metro Athletic Conference

Division: I

Skinny: Arax brought a lot of knowledge to the coaching staff this season including Fares as co-head coach. The Knights won four straight last year before falling to Bakersfield in the playoffs.

7. Clovis Cougars (7-5)

Coach: Rich Hammond

League: Tri-River Athletic Conference

Division: I

Skinny: The Cougars are set at QB with Isaiah Robles, who threw for 2,282 yards and 19 touchdowns last season.

8. Edison Tigers (6-6)

Coach: Atnaf Harris

League: County/Metro Athletic Conference

Division: I

Skinny: Harris admits the first three games will be tough for his Tigers having to face Central, Clovis West and Buchanan. His starting QB will be San Joaquin Memorial transfer Justin Klair.

9. Ridgeview Wolf Pack (7-4)

Coach: Richard Cornford

League: South Yosemite

Division: I

Skinny: Cornford takes over for Dennis Manning. He remains with the team as a coordinator. He was the head coach for the past 10 years and led Ridgeview to nine league titles and three section titles.

10. Tulare Western Mustangs (9-2)

League: West Yosemite League

Division: II

Skinny: The Burrell brothers, QB Elijah and DB Jordan, are back. Elijah Burrell was effective in the air (11 TDs) and on the ground (five TDs) last season. Jordan Burrell had eight interceptions. Junior DE Michael Machado had seven sacks.

11. Arroyo Grande Eagles (8-4)

Coach: Michael Hartman

League: Mountain

Division: I

Skinny: The Eagles lost plenty on offense, but the strength will be the offensive line that is comprised mostly of juniors. QB Ethan Royal moves up from junior varsity.

12. Centennial Golden Hawks (6-5)

Coach: Richard Starrett

League: Southwest Yosemite

Division: I

Skinny: Starrett gets his first head-coaching assignment; he served as the offensive coordinator for four seasons at Mayde Creek-Houston. The Hawks return junior RB Ty Glass who had 848 yards and five TDs.

13. Garces Rams (4-8)

Coach: Paul Golla

League: Southwest Yosemite

Division: II

Skinny: Senior QB Joseph Campbell last season threw for 3,553 yards and 19 TDs against 21 interceptions.

14. Clovis East Timberwolves (4-7)

Coach: Ryan Reynolds

League: Tri-River Athletic Conference

Division: I

Skinny: Reynolds said his team will be led by junior QB Sean Kelly. He saw plenty of action last season when the Timberwolves ended a 27-game losing streak in a climb back to competitiveness.

15. Clovis West Golden Eagles (2-9)

Coach: Tim Randall

League: Tri-River Athletic Conference

Division: I

Skinny: Randall was the defensive coordinator and takes over for George Petrissans. The Golden Eagles will be inexperienced at QB, but they will have senior RB Brandon Wafer back.

16. Central Valley Christian Cavaliers (12-3)

Coach: Mason Hughes

League: Central Sequoia league

Division: III

Skinny: A bunch of talent on the team led by senior RB Jaalen Rening and OL/DL Dirk Nelson. Rening rushed for 1,695 yards and 24 TDs. Hughes said the Cavaliers are not as deep as past years but they have a big offensive and defensive lines.

17. Tulare Union Tribe (13-1)

Coach: Darren Bennett

League: East Yosemite

Division: I

Skinny: No Nathan Lamb for the Tribe (he’s at Fresno State), so who will step in? Whoever it is they’ll have deep-threat senior WR Willie James who finished with 1,252 yards and 13 TDs.

18. Bakersfield Christian Eagles (9-4)

Coach: Darren Carr

League: South Yosemite

Division: III

Skinny: Back is senior DE/TE Ben Yurosek (Stanford) who last season had 329 yards and three TDs and was a force on defense with 15.5 sacks.

19. Dinuba Emperors (9-3)

Coach: Carlos Barajas

League: Central Sequoia League

Division: II

Skinny: Barajas was previously the defensive coordinator under Kevin Scharton who is now at Redwood. Barajas welcomes back QB Josh Magana who finished with 2,472 yards and 31 TDs.

20. Sanger Apaches (7-4)

Coach: Jorge Pena

League: County/Metro Athletic Conference

Division: II

Skinny: The Apaches will always be a threat in the CMAC. Returning are senior QB Noah Collazo and senior RB Kosi Agina who has an offer from Fresno State.

21. Hanford Bullpups (8-4)

Coach: Josh Young

League: West Yosemite

Division: II

Skinny: Will be led by senior QB Juaron Watts-Brown and junior RB Luttrell Young. Watts-Brown was effective on the ground when he ran for 883 yards and 14 TDs, and Young had 905 yards and 11 TDs. Senior LB Tyler Mello had 14 sacks.

22. Righetti Warriors (10-3)

Coach: Tony Payne

League: Mountain

Division: II

Skinny: Righetti used two QBs last season and one of them, Logan Mortensen, is back. Senior DB Jake Steels had seven interceptions.

23. Kingsburg Vikings (10-3)

Coach: David Wilson

League: Central Sequoia

Division: III

Skinny: Junior QB Jett Jackson is back after throwing 19 TDs and rushing for nine TDs.

24. Porterville Panthers (8-3)

Coach: Michael Machado

League: East Yosemite

Division: IV

Skinny: QB Hector Nava Jr. blossomed last season when he threw for 2,756 yards and 23 TDs.

25. St. Joseph Knights (8-3)

Coach: Pepe Villasenor

League: Mountain

Division: II

Skinny: The Knights moved from Division I. QBs Mark Crisp and and Ben Camarena are expected to split time.

Division I

1. Central

2. Buchanan

3. Liberty

4. Bakersfield

5. Bullard

6. Clovis

7. Edison

8. Ridgeview

9. Arroyo Grande

10. Centennial

Division II

1. San Joaquin Memorial

2. Tulare Western

3. Garces

4. Dinuba

5. Sanger

6. Hanford

7. Righetti

8. St. Joseph

9. Stockdale

10. Redwood

Division III

1. Central Valley Christian

2. Bakersfield Christian

3. Kingsburg

4. Highland

5. Mt. Whitney

6. Lemoore

7. Independence

8. San Luis Obispo

9. Golden West

10. Madera

Division IV

1. Porterville

2. Kennedy

3. Wasco

4. Roosevelt

5. Chowchilla

6. Monache

7. North

8. Kerman

9. Selma

10. Templeton

Division V

1. Shafter

2. Strathmore

3. Caruthers

4. Liberty-Madera Ranchos

5. Exeter

6. Firebaugh

7. Woodlake

8. Dos Palos

9. Reedley

10. Arvin

Division VI

1. Orange Cove

2. Mission Prep

3. Bishop

4. California City

5. Lindsay

6. Orosi

7. Sierra Pacific

8. McFarland

9. Riverdale

10. Corcoran


1. Fresno Christian

2. Orcutt Academy

3. Riverdale Christian

4. Laton

5. Orcutt Academy

6. Kings Christian

7. Frazier Mountain

8. Trona

9. Alpaugh

10. Faith Christian

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