High School Football

The Bee’s Central Section football rankings: Bullard, Bakersfield headed opposite directions

Bullard’s Markelle Raymond, scoring against Clovis West on Sept. 25, 2015, is coming off a four-touchdown game against Memorial heading into a showdown with Sanger on Thursday night at McLane Stadium.
Bullard’s Markelle Raymond, scoring against Clovis West on Sept. 25, 2015, is coming off a four-touchdown game against Memorial heading into a showdown with Sanger on Thursday night at McLane Stadium. ezamora@fresnobee.com

Bullard and Bakersfield have Central Section football abuzz, which is not unusual.

Bullard, a section Division I champion once and a runner-up twice in the past 10 seasons, is contending for gold again under 16-year coach Donnie Arax.

This has been the plan all along in Arax’s return to his alma mater, planting the Knights into the elite D-I neighborhood and keeping them there. His latest team is one of his finest, which speaks volumes given his 118-61-1 record with the program.

Bullard – firing with a wing-T loaded with bells and whistles, featuring quarterback Jack Taylor, running back Charles Williams and multi-purpose threat Markelle Raymond – is top-ranked by The Bee in the Central Section, 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the County/Metro Athletic Conference heading into a first-place showdown with No. 10 Sanger (7-1, 3-0) Thursday at 7 p.m. at McLane Stadium.

Bakersfield, conversely, is spinning.

The Drillers (4-4, 2-1) are ranked 13th – borderline embarrassing for the standards for a 119-year program that, according to section historian Bob Barnett, leads the state in wins (762) and section titles (36).

19-0 Bakersfield’s loss to Centennial, the Drillers’ first offensive shutout in 11 years

They bottomed out Friday in a 19-0 Southwest Yosemite League loss to Centennial.

Given Centennial’s records (6-2 overall, 3-0 league) and ranking (No. 8), the loss wasn’t as humbling as the shutout – Bakersfield’s first since losing 31-0 at Clovis East in a section D-I first-round playoff game on Nov. 19, 2004.

“This is the best feeling of my life,” Centennial defensive tackle Brandon Stout told The Bakersfield Californian afterward, and at the Drillers’ cathedral-like Griffith Field, no less.

Bakersfield was last blanked at home to Stockdale, 34-0, on Nov. 14, 2003.

Never had the Drillers failed to score in a game under 11-year coach Paul Golla, who’s 107-29-3 with four section championships (2005, ’07, ’11, ’13).

Meaning, for all their success, they’ve been particularly efficient in odd years. But not this one, so far.

Then there’s Bullard.

51.5 Bullard’s scoring average in its past four games

The Knights, who throttled No. 20 Memorial 63-14, have averaged 51.5 points in their past four games while winning by an average margin of 31.7.

Arax expects that his team will be stepping up in class when opposing Sanger, which, while deploying a triple-offense now, has a history of success operating the wing-T under coach Chuck Shidan.

“We have a lot of weapons and we’re playing very well,” Arax says, “but Sanger is familiar with this offense and I’m quite certain they’ll do a nice job of defending us.”

Perhaps, but reviewing the Bullard-Memorial game film has to be horrifying for the Apaches.

Overwhelming the defense of a Memorial team that was 5-0 only three weeks ago, the Knights launched 1,524-yard rusher Williams for 145 yards and two touchdowns, had Taylor complete 8 of 12 passes for 196 yards and three TDs, and had Raymond score on 22- and 66-yard receptions and 30- and 31-yard runs.

This wing-T, implemented by Arax in the spring, is far from traditional, mainly because of Taylor’s throwing ability and diverse use of Raymond.

“I modified it to make it more modern,” Arax says, “so I’m patting myself on the back. It’s hard to defend what we’re doing. But, hey, I knew we were going to win with this talent.”

Andy Boogaard: 559-441-6400, @beepreps

Week 9 Central Section football rankings

OVERALL

  • 1. Bullard (7-1)
  • 2. Liberty-Bakersfield (4-3)
  • 3. Ridgeview (8-0)
  • 4. Clovis (7-1)
  • 5. Clovis North (5-2)
  • 6. Buchanan (5-3)
  • 7. Clovis West (4-3)
  • 8. Centennial (6-2)
  • 9. Lemoore (6-2)
  • 10. Sanger (7-1)
  • 11. Hanford (9-0)
  • 12. Tulare (8-0)
  • 13. Bakersfield (4-4)
  • 14. Central (2-6)
  • 15. Stockdale (2-6)
  • 16. Frontier (4-4)
  • 17. Edison (3-5)
  • 18. Madera South (4-4)
  • 19. Fresno (7-1)
  • 20. Memorial (6-2)

DIVISIONAL

  • D-I: 1. Bullard, 2. Liberty-Bakersfield, 3. Clovis
  • D-II: 1. Ridgeview, 2. Lemoore, 3. Sanger
  • D-III: 1. Hanford, 2. Fresno, 3. Memorial
  • D-IV: 1. Madera South, 2. Chavez (7-1), 3. Washington (5-3)
  • D-V: 1. Immanuel (7-0), 2. Fowler (4-2), 3. Dos Palos (4-4)
  • D-VI: 1. Kennedy (6-2), 2. Avenal (4-3), 3. Sierra Pacific (5-2)

Week 9 Schedule

Thursday

TRI-RIVER ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Central vs. Clovis West (Lamonica Stadium), 7 p.m.

COUNTY/METRO ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Sanger vs. Bullard (McLane), 7 p.m.

NORTH YOSEMITE LEAGUE

McLane vs. Fresno (Sunnyside), 7 p.m.

EAST YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Delano vs. Porterville (Granite Hills), 7 p.m.

FRIDAY

TRI-RIVER ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Buchanan vs. Clovis East (Lamonica Stadium), 7 p.m.

Clovis vs. Clovis North (Veterans Memorial Stadium), 7:30 p.m.

COUNTY/METRO ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Madera vs. Edison (Sunnyside), 7:30 p.m.

Memorial vs. Madera South (Memorial Stadium), 7:30 p.m.

NORTH YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Hoover at Reedley, 7:30 p.m.

Sunnyside vs. Roosevelt (McLane), 7:30 p.m.

WEST YOSEMITE LEAGUE

El Diamante at Lemoore, 7:30 p.m.

Golden West vs. Mt. Whitney (Mineral King Bowl), 7:30 p.m.

Redwood vs. Hanford West (Neighbor Bowl), 7:30 p.m.

EAST YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Mission Oak at Tulare, 7 p.m.

Tulare Western vs. Monache (Granite Hills), 7:30 p.m.

SOUTHEAST YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Highland at North, 7:30 p.m.

Mira Monte at Foothill, 7:30 p.m.

SOUTHWEST YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Garces at Frontier, 7:30 p.m.

Liberty-Bakersfield at Centennial, 7:30 p.m.

Stockdale at Bakersfield, 7:30 p.m.

SOUTH YOSEMITE LEAGUE

Independence at East Bakersfield, 7:30 p.m.

Ridgeview at Tehachapi, 7:30 p.m.

West at Golden Valley, 7:30 p.m.

NORTH SEQUOIA LEAGUE

Liberty-Madera Ranchos at Kerman, 7 p.m.

Sierra at Chowchilla, 7 p.m.

Washington at Yosemite, 7 p.m.

CENTRAL SEQUOIA LEAGUE

Exeter at Kingsburg, 7 p.m.

Selma at Central Valley Christian, 7 p.m.

EAST SEQUOIA LEAGUE

Granite Hills at Strathmore, 7:15 p.m.

Sierra Pacific at Woodlake, 7:15 p.m.

Lindsay at Corcoran, 7:30 p.m.

SOUTH SEQUOIA LEAGUE

Arvin at Wasco, 7:30 p.m.

Kennedy at Taft, 7:30 p.m.

Shafter at Chavez, 7:30 p.m.

WEST SEQUOIA LEAGUE

Riverdale at Fowler, 7 p.m.

Minarets at Parlier, 7:30 p.m.

EAST SIERRA LEAGUE

Farmersville at Orange Cove, 7:30 p.m.

McFarland at Laton, 7:30 p.m.

WEST SIERRA LEAGUE

Coalinga at Dos Palos, 7:30 p.m.

Firebaugh at Avenal, 7:30 p.m.

Tranquillity at Mendota, 7:30 p.m.

HIGH DESERT LEAGUE

California City at Kern Valley, 7 p.m.

Frazier Mountain at Bishop, 7 p.m.

NONLEAGUE

Orosi at Caruthers, 7:30 p.m.

CENTRAL SIERRA LEAGUE (8 man)

Alpaugh at Kings Christian, 7 p.m.

INTERSECTIONAL (8 man)

Fresno Christian at East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy, 7 p.m.

SATURDAY

CENTRAL SIERRA LEAGUE (8 man)

Faith Christian at Riverdale Christian, 1 p.m.

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