With high school football practice beginning in earnest next week in most places across the Central Section, intriguing season-opening matchups loom ever closer for area teams.
Week 0 -- a moniker given to the season's first week when the Central Section expanded its schedule to 11 weeks about 10 years ago -- is no longer a bye week or a scrimmage week for most teams; instead, several teams have scheduled challenging openers.
The headliner for Kern County in Week 0, which is Aug. 30-31, sees Bakersfield High travel to Westlake Village to take on Oaks Christian. Both teams feature a number of Division I college recruits and two teams that are ranked in CalPreps' preliminary state top 25, which are computer-based.
Oaks Christian, which is ranked No. 8, was 8-3 last year and lost in the first round of the Southern Section Pac-5 playoffs. Bakersfield is ranked No. 23 and lost in the Central Section Division I quarterfinals, but both teams return several key players.
The same night, Bakersfield Christian will travel to Huntington Beach, a much bigger school in the Southern Section's Southwest Division that was 6-6 a year ago. The Eagles, meanwhile, reached the Division IV championship game before losing to Wasco.
Centennial also has a new opening opponent: Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial, which like the Golden Hawks had a rare non-playoff season a year ago.
Other teams play the home/road reverse of their opening game last season: Stockdale hosts Stockton-St. Mary's, Ridgeview hosts Frontier, Taft plays at Golden Valley, Arvin is at Highland, Delano is at Liberty and, on Saturday, Garces hosts San Luis Obispo.
EBHS football reunion
East High is holding a preseason Blade Football Reunion on Aug. 15 at Amestoy's Bar at 2303 River Blvd. in Bakersfield.
All former East football players are invited to attend the event, which begins at 7 p.m. Cost is $20 at the door. For more information, call (661) 565-7185.
Carr given preseason honor
In a move that surprised no one, media covering the Mountain West Conference selected Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, a Bakersfield Christian graduate, as its preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
Carr, after all, was the postseason Offensive Player of the Year in 2012, after a junior season in which he threw for 4,104 yards, 37 touchdowns and 7 interceptions and led the Bulldogs to a share of the Mountain West title.
Fresno State opens this season Aug. 29 at home against Rutgers.
Former BCHS admin moves on
Dan Swagerty, a former Bakersfield Christian athletic administrator and coach of various sports, has accepted the athletic director position at Farmersville, he said.
Swagerty served as an assistant to BCHS athletic director Doug Barnett for years and also coached girls basketball and girls golf at various times. He briefly was the Eagles' interim AD last year before the school named Blake Van Der Schaaf to the position.
Mira Monte needs coach
Mira Monte is looking for a frosh-soph level volleyball coach. Those interested should contact athletic director Mike Gibson at (661) 366-1800 or via email at email@example.com.