After six weeks of measuring-stick games, many matching divisional opponents from different corners of the Valley, league play launched Thursday and Friday nights for most of the Central Section.
Here’s a look back at Week 6 action:
Chibuikem Dunu carried 24 times for 215 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown in the third quarter that proved to be the difference, as the Bears (4-2) defeated the Grizzlies (1-5) in a Tri-River Athletic Conference opener Thursday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Mitchell Souza kicked a 27-yard field goal and Trevor Ervin scored on a 2-yard run for Buchanan, which equaled its best win total in the past four years. The Bears last had a winning season in 2010 (6-5).
Central’s Nick Szpor completed 18 of 31 passes for 298 yards and two TDs. That included an 82-yard score to Malik White, who caught 10 passes for 210 yards.
Romello Harris rushed 28 times for 352 yards and six TDs as unbeaten Tulare (6-0) beat the Marauders (1-5) in an East Yosemite League opener.
Harris now has 6,910 career yards, fourth-best in section history, and needs 1,120 yards to pass section career rushing leader Edgar Segura of Mendota.
Seth Brooks took a screen pass 50 yards for a score to tie and then converted a 31-yard rush for the go-ahead touchdown to lead the Vikings to a comeback win over the host Panthers in Easton.
The nonleague game was rescheduled from Week 2 when poor air quality forced school officials to postpone it. Kingsburg filled in its previously scheduled Week 6 bye; Sierra did Washington a favor by moving their North Sequoia League game from Week 6 to Week 5.
Brooks added a 67-yard TD in the fourth quarter to keep Kingsburg’s lead to two touchdowns before Brandon Perez scored on a 19-yard run to seal the victory.
Brooks rushed 18 times for 194 yards, had the 50-yard reception and totaled three TDs. Kingsburg’s Anthony Sierra threw two scoring passes, the first a 93-yard hookup with Emmett Brooks.
Washington’s Noah Beukers rushed 15 times for 185 yards, including a 64-yard TD run in the second quarter to give the Panthers a brief 14-7 lead.
The host Cougars (6-0, 1-0) scored the only points of the second half, three touchdowns that helped them pull away from the Timberwolves (3-3, 0-1) in a TRAC opener at Lamonica Stadium.
Andrew Azua punched in two third-quarter touchdowns, both from 23 yards out, to lift the Apaches over the visiting Stallions on homecoming night at Tom Flores Stadium.
Azua finished the night with 60 yards rushing on seven carries. Isaiah Hilliard led Sanger (5-1,1-0) with 103 yards on 20 attempts and one score.
Madera South quarterback Jonah Johnson went 11-of-16 passing for 101 yards to go with with one TD and an interception. He also had a team-high 89 rushing yards on 19 carries as the Stallions' (4-2, 0-1) four-game win streak came to an end.
Nyric Hinton rushed for 247 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns to lead the host Warriors (5-1, 1-0) to a North Yosemite League win over the winless Patriots.
The Wildcats trailed 28-7 at halftime before rallying, getting three fourth-quarter touchdowns to win at McLane Stadium.
Sunnyside scored 26 unanswered points over the third and fourth quarters to take its first lead of the game at 33-28 with 5:18 remaining. The Highlanders retook control on Ricardo Arias’ touchdown with just over 4 minutes to go, but the Wildcats scored one last time for the victory.
After the game, both teams joined on the field for encouraging words from the Sunnyside coaching staff.
The Bears (6-1, 1-0) opened the Central Sequoia League season by cruising past the host Monarchs (5-2, 0-1) for their sixth straight win.
Since losing its opener 38-28 to Kerman, Selma’s defense has been stingy, allowing an average of less than eight points a game in its winning streak. Exeter converted just 2 of 9 third-down attempts and lost five turnovers (four interceptions and one fumble).
Sergio Pena had two interceptions for the Bears, including one he returned for a score in the third quarter. Jordan Dominguez led Selma offensively with 79 yards rushing on 24 attempts and three TDs.
Tulare Western’s Elijah Alonzo found an unusual way to score two touchdowns and lead the Mustangs (3-3, 1-0) past the host Tigers (2-4, 0-1) in their East Yosemite League opener.
Alonzo had a 31-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter when a high snap bounced off Delano quarterback Raymond Ortega and Alonzo scooped it up to score. In the fourth quarter, he batted away Ortega’s pass and caught it for a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Quarterback Andre Aguilar also had two touchdowns, the first on a 9-yard run and the second on a 24-yard throw to Joshua Portillo for the final score of the game.
Aguilar led the Mustangs with 104 yards rushing to go with 105 passing on 8 of 18 attempts. Samuel Guyton rushed for 60 yards on 17 carries and scored Delano’s only touchdown.
Isaac Leppke threw three touchdown passes, including two to Jacob Paradine, while leading the Emperors to a Central Sequoia League-opening win over the Cavaliers, who made it interesting by scoring the game's final 21 points.
Leppke hit Paradine with scoring strikes of 74 and 9 yards in the second quarter, and connected with Adrian Garza for a 2-yard touchdown in the third as Dinuba (4-3, 1-0) opened a 31-3 lead. Leppke finished with 162 yards passing.
CVC (4-2, 0-1) rallied in the second half with touchdown runs of 1 and 2 yards by Kolin Stock, and a 5-yarder by Chad Zysling.
Isaiah Jones scored three touchdowns in a five-minute fourth-quarter span to lead the host Panthers to a 61-35 win over the Hawks in their EYL opener at Granite Hills High.
Porterville (2-4, 1-0) erased an eight-point first-quarter deficit to force a 21-21 tie at halftime and Jones sealed the comeback with his fourth-quarter burst. He finished the game with six rushing TDs and 302 yards.
Mission Oak (2-4, 0-1) senior quarterback Trey McJunkin threw five TD passes, with two apiece going to Keshon Butler and Jeffrey de Macabalin. McJunkin finished 21-of-40 passing for 302 yards. Michael Villa had a game-high 108 yards receiving and one score.
The Redskins’ defense produced three touchdowns – Alex Gutierrez’s 32-yard fumble return and interception returns of 27 and 25 yards by Ronnie Reyes and Damon Perry, respectively – to spoil Kerman’s Tom Hanks homecoming in the North Sequoia League opener.
Chowchilla (5-1, 0-1) was led offensively by Anthony Stewart, who rushed for 113 yards and touchdowns of 60, 11 and 9 yards, and Gutierrez, who rushed for 164 yards.
For Kerman (2-3, 0-1), Sean Chambers was 18 of 39 for 158 yards and two TDs and also rushed 11 times for 45 yards. He was intercepted four times.
Chad Wallace rushed for two touchdowns and Markie Brandt threw a pair to lead the Hawks (5-1, 0-1) past the Badgers (0-5, 0-1) in the North Sequoia League.
Wallace scored on runs of 6 and 80 yards, while Brandt hit Kaleb Roth for a 21-yard score and John McHatton for a 19-yarder.
Liberty also received a 44-yard fumble return from Hunter Gray, and touchdown runs of 34 yards by Jackson Watts and 6 yards by Jesse De La Cruz.
The visiting Panthers notched their first win of the season after Granite Hills missed a game-winning field goal in the final minute in the East Sequoia League opener.
Corcoran got on the board with a safety and returned the ensuing punt return for a touchdown to take an early 9-0 lead. The Grizzlies cut the deficit in the fourth quarter on Baggio Gutierrez’s 1-yard run.
Granite Hills had one more shot, recovering a Corcoran fumble with 1:14 left on the Panthers’ 28-yard line, but the 39-yard field goal sailed wide left.
Alex Puga crossed the goal-line four times in the first half on runs of 17, 2, 1 and 20 yards to lead the Blue Raiders (3-3, 1-0) past the host Mustangs (2-3, 0-1) to open the West Sequoia League.
Puga carried the ball 25 times and finished with a game-high 239 yards rushing.
Minarets running back Mason Ellis had 90 yards rushing on 10 carries and had his team’s only score – a 6-yard dive in the first quarter.
Matthew Rodriguez rushed for 131 yards, including a 13-yard second-quarter touchdown that provided the difference in the scoring, as the Aztecs (1-5, 1-0) downed the Cardinals (1-5, 0-1) in the East Sierra League.
Farmersville also scored on a 60-yard pass from Victor Castarejon to Leo Alvarez and on a 17-yard run by J.J. Galaviz.
Tyler Villines and Chris Kollenkark scored three TDs apiece as the visiting Eagles (5-2, 2-0) coasted past the Crusaders in Lemoore in the Central Sierra 8-man league.
Kollenkark finished with 101 yards rushing on six carries. Villines added 87 yards on 11 attempts and also ran back a punt 55 yards for a score. Defensively, Sam Janzen had nine tackles, three for sacks, and Bailey Brogan nabbed three interceptions.
Quarterback Matthew Oropeza converted a 2-yard sneak for a fourth-quarter touchdown as the Cougars (3-3) held off the Cowboys (1-5) to win their third straight game in a non-league contest at Riverdale.
Oropeza put McFarland in front in the second quarter, scoring on a 3-yard sneak for a 14-7 lead. After halftime, he found Ribaldo Hernandez on a 9-yard TD strike to push their lead to 15.
JP Sanchez scored on 82-yard run late in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late as the Cowboys dropped their fifth in a row since winning their season opener. Sanchez rushed for a game-high 188 yards on 14 carries.
Matt Kahaian accounted for three touchdowns and the Redcats’ defense scored twice during a West Sequoia League rout of the Panthers.
Kahaian scored on a 10-yard run and threw touchdown passes of 13 and 24 yards to Victorio Jimenez and Julian Sweidy. Kahaian finished 16-of-20 passing for 169 yards.
Fowler (3-2, 1-0) also received touchdowns on interception returns of 74 yards by Isaac Siordia and 65 yards by Hugo Mendez, as well as a 1-yard run by Izaiah Moreno and a 77-yard run by Raymond Ramirez.
Robby Stevenson, the freshman grandson of former Tigers’ coaching legend Leo Robinson, was a winner in his varsity debut at quarterback in an East Sequoia League opener against the Spartans (2-4, 0-1).
Stevenson, up from the junior varsity to replace injured starter Eric Schwarz (broken collarbone), completed 7 of 11 passes for 121 yards.
Noe Garcia and Alexander Marquez carried the load for Woodlake (4-2, 1-0), each scoring two touchdowns.