UPDATED, 12:33 a.m.: For a full recap, check back Sunday or watch our BVarsity Live replay, which I'll tweet out when it's ready later tonight.
But for now, the scorelist below is up to date with what we have. And finally here's a list of teams trending up, down or neutral after tonight's action:
UP: Liberty, Stockdale, Arvin, Garces, Highland, Shafter, Independence, West
NEUTRAL: Bakersfield, Frontier, Centennial, South
DOWN: Golden Valley, Tehachapi, North, Foothill, Taft
UPDATED, 10:42 p.m.: I'm on deadline, but Jermaine Ervin came up with a third-down interception, and Bakersfield ran out the clock. Bakersfield 34, Garces 24, final, and what a game from Griffith Field. Drillers obviously have work to do if they're going to a state bowl game — or even winning the SWYL. But that's for later. For now, they celebrate survival of another week.
UPDATED, 10:31 p.m.: Trailing by a field goal and armed with 4:15 and two timeouts, Garces will start from its 20. Adams incomplete. Now Adams sacked by about three Drillers, and it's third and long. He'll look deep for Bellue again. One-on-one coverage, but it's tight, and the ball falls incomplete. Garces will punt. 3:19 on the clock and two timeouts, so the Rams have a shot if they can force a three-and-out. Or a turnover, of course.
Drillers nearly block the punt, force a short one and get the ball at the Rams 40. One first down will almost do it. Reddick gets one, maybe two, on first down, and Garces uses its second timeout. 3:03 on the clock.
Play action. Hill open again. First down and more. He breaks a tackle, and that's a 39-yard touchdown that should seal it. 34-24 Drillers, 2:56 to play.
UPDATED, 10:26 p.m.: Big play from the BHS D on first down backs Garces up, and now on third-and-13 from the 7, the Drillers use their first timeout. 4:59 on the clock.
Adams will look deep. Bellue has a half-step on Hayes, but Hayes makes a terrific play and knocks the ball away at the last second. Garces will punt. Adams hits it, and it dies at the Garces 43. Not a bad punt, considering the circumstances, but good field position for the Drillers. 4:41 left.
Reddick on a dive. Has a hole this time, and he rumbles down to the 28. Play-action pass. Rufus has Lamishio Hill wiiiide open. Touchdown. Bakersfield leads with 4:15 to play. Campbell's PAT is hooked left! and the score is 27-24 Drillers. Garces stays within a field goal. What a game.
UPDATED, 10:18 p.m.: Kickoff goes out of bounds and will give Bakersfield possession at its 35. Just over 8 minutes left in this one. 24-21 Garces. Reddick gets about 5. Rufus running the option, pitches to Hill. Big gain up the sideline into Garces territory. Steps out at about the 44. First down.
Now Reddick on another dive, only got one that time. Rufus nowhere to go on second down. It's third-and-10. Less than seven to go, Bakersfield probably still 15 yards from field-goal range. Big-time play here. Rufus to pass. Throws for Hayes, and it's out of his reach out of bounds. Fourth down. 6:16 left. Drillers will punt, or at least line up to do so. Campbell kicks it and gets a nice roll down to the 10. Garces takes over, 6:05 to go.
UPDATED, 10:13 p.m.: Kevin Hayes has looked dangerous on kickoff returns in this one, and he has another chance here. Instead, he fumbles at the 25, and Garces has it! Konrad Kuntz comes up with it and shows the ball to the delight of the Garces half of the crowd.
So Garces set up at its 28. Croney for 3. Now a false start on the Rams will push them back. Halfback pass time! Croney threw it into the ground. He rsuhed the throw and it's third down. Adams to pass. Has Frasch, but he's wrapped up at the 21, short of the first down. Reed Robertson on for a 38-yard field goal. He hit that one true. It's good, right down the middle, and Garces leads 24-21 with 8:21 left.
UPDATED, 10:06 p.m.: Croney picks up about 3 on the final play of the third quarter, and we'll flip ends with Garces trailing for the first time tonight and facing a second-and-7.
South and Arvin are tied 22-22 in the fourth quarter. Moorpark finished off Frontier, 17-7.
Croney gets two to set up third and 5. Adams looking deep for Bellue. Hits him in stride at the 50. He wrong-foots Hayes and he's off to the races! Won't get him. We're tied again, 21-21. Holy cow, what a game.
UPDATED, 10:00 p.m.: A roughing-the-kicker penalty on the PAT allowed Parker Campbell to kick off from the Garces' 45, and he predictably launches it out of the end zone. Garces from its 20. Croney didn't get much on first down, and Garces, running out of time on the play clock, calls its first timeout. 3:06 left in the third.
Liberty all over Tehachapi, by the way. Same for Stockdale over Inglewood and Ridgeview over Foothill. Moorpark and Frontier was tight, but Moorpark has pulled away and leads 17-7. Centennial hanging tough at Clovis, down 21-17 after three quarters.
Here, Adams hits Croney on a swing pass for a nice gain. He's less than a yard short of the first down, and he picks it up on third-and-short. Swing pass to Frasch loses yards. Nice play by Kenny Trueba and Parker
Campbell over there. Now Adams will go deep for Sweaney. Kevin Hayes is there in blanket coverage, and he wins the jump ball. Interception at the BHS 40, and the Drillers take over with a chance to take their first lead.
Daris Dallas avalanched in the backfield for a loss. Then a personal foul committed by BHS, but Garces will decline it and take the loss. Rufus has Campbell deep, but he overthrows him, and it's third-and-long. Garces defense about to bail out the offense's turnover and get the ball back. Final minute of the third quarter. Rufus looking deep again. This one is a much better ball. Jermaine Ervin — again, nobody that's on the roster — is under it, and he's off to the races. Running sideways to out-run the DB, and he's gonna score from 64 yards out. Drillers finally strike with the big play, and they lead 21-14 with 25 seconds left in the third quarter.
UPDATED, 9:48 p.m.: Good field position for bakersfield after a Garces personal foul on the kickoff return. The Drillers start at their 40, and now they have third-and-4 up at the 46. Now a swing pass to the other side, and Daris Dallas just ... can't .. quite .. come up with that one. Would have been a big gain. Instead, the Drillers will punt, and Garces has a chance to extend its lead. But Parker Campbell's line-drive kick is a perfect coffin corner kick. Goes out of bounds at the 3, and that's where Garces will start. Big series upcoming for both teams.
Carlovsky, the fullback, gets a couple yards' worth of breathing room. Now Croney on a pitch, and Shaq Garrett sped through to drag him down behind the line. About third-and-9 from the 4, from what I can tell. And now a false start on Garces. Backed up even more. Adams will pass, looking deep for Jake Sweaney. Off his fingertips. Adams now has to punt from the back of his own end zone. He gets it away, but Kevin Hayes has a chance to return from the Garces 41. He scotts upfield all the way to the Garces 17, and it looks like the Drillers got away with a block in the back during that return. Garces' coaches are not happy. Anyway, it sets up Bakersfield with a chance to tie. Lamishio Hill gets the pitch, breaks a tackle at the line of scrimmage and gets down to the 10. Second and short. Now a pitch to Daris Dallas, who has the first down at the 5. First-and-goal. Drillers need five yards for the potential tying touchdown. Rufus keeps it, cuts in the backfield and falls forward to about the 1. He'll keep it on the same play, and he's in. Touchdown Bakersfield, and we're a PAT away from another tie. Parker Campbell provides it, and it's 14-14 with 3:51 left in the third.
UPDATED, 9:34 p.m.: Bakersfield starts on its own 23 with a 4-yard gain from Jeremiah Reddick, then a broken play on second down. Rufus, under pressure, hastily pitches to Vickers, who dropped it and fell on it back at the 22. Third-and-11. Rufus caught in the undertow and sacked by Chris Sakowski. Great series to open the half for the Rams defense. A decent punt will be fair caught by Jake Sweaney at the Garces 47. Sheldon Croney takes a pitch and picks up good yardage across midfield and down to the Bakersfield 45. Now he has three more and the first down to the 42.
Now Croney again. Stiff-arms one man and he's gone! What a drive by Garces and Joey Porter's nephew, Sheldon Croney. 42-yard touchdown run. Robertson's PAT is good and makes it 14-7.
UPDATED, 9:17 p.m.: Bakersfield with a big 167-66 edge in total yards at halftime, but the big clock snafu at the end of the half costs the Drillers at least three points, and they're tied with Garces, 7-7 at the half.
Here are some individual stats. Be back with other scores after a bathroom break:
RUSHING: G: Connor Carlovsky 1-34, TD; Dominic Frasch 2-16. B: Jeremiah Reddick, 11-70, Asauni Rufus, 6-28, TD; Marcus Bruce 3-20, Derrick Vickers 6-11.
PASSING: G: Cruise Adams 2-5, 7 yds, INT. B: Asauni Rufus, 6-11, 43 yds, INT.
RECEIVING: B: Lamishio Hill, 3-23. Kevin Hayes 2-10, Parker Campbell 1-10.
UPDATED, 9:08 p.m.: Bakersfield has to hurry here. Handoff to Reddick for about four, and another fullback dive gets Reddcik down tothe9 with another first down. Pitch to Vickers now, and he dropped it — but fell right on it. Bakersfield will call its final timeout with 13 seconds left. Second-and-goal from the 11 when we come back. BHS likely has to pass to save the clock here. Rufus will do just that. He has a completion to Parker Campbell, but he's down at the 1. Not a first down. Clock ticking. BHS trying to spike, can't do it in time. 7-7 game at the half. How bout that?
UPDATED, 9:04 p.m.: Dominic Frasch gets the handoff for Garces after another touchback, and he has a burst of speed up to the 35. Nice 15-yard pickup there, Garces' biggest of the night outside of the Carlovsky TD run. Frasch is bottled up quickly on the next play, and then Adams is sacked by a host of Drillers led by Reddick and Bruce on second down. Only lost a couple of yards. It's third-and-10. Five minutes left in the half. Admas ducks one man in the backfield, but two more hit him after another yard, and Adams gets up holding his arm. Yikes. Good series for the BHS defense, and the Drillers will get it back with plenty of time before half.
Adams, who was an all-league punter last year and had a good one earlier, shanks this one. It goes out of bounds before it gets to midfield. Bakersfield ball at the Garces 48. Fake to Reddick, pitch to Vickers. Great play out there by Connor Carlovsk to keep Vickers from getting more, but he did pick up three. Now Rufus keeps for five more. Third and 2. Reddick has it. First down. Now a swing pass to Hayes, and Dominic Frasch did a great job staying with the bigger Hayes, or that was a touchdown. Instead, it's a 5-yard gain. Rufus keeps and doesn't get much on second down, then completes to Hayes, who twists forward to the 25. That's a first down. Only a minute left in the half though. Rufus will keep for about five more, and now BHS will call its second timeout with 53 seconds left.
UPDATED, 8:53 p.m.: That Rufus-to-Hill connection at the end of the quarter was actullay good for 10 yards and a first down, so BHS has a new set to start the second. Rufus looking for Hayes on a hitch and go. Too far. Second down. Another short connection to Hill, plus a five-yard facemask penalty, gives BHS a first down at its 48. Now a false start on BHS and a no-gain on a run. Second and long. No. 30 — who I found out is the sophomore, Marcus Bruce, gets a big gainer and then coughs it up. Bakersfield lucky to get back on top of that one again. Instead, it's third-and-3, and Rufus will scramble and pick it up easily. Drillers driving now. Swing pass to Hill for seven. Rufus keeps for another first down. Dinking and dunking down to the Garces 23. Rufus under pressure, throws incomplete. Garces getting good pressure in the backfield, and it's casuing Bakersfield all kinds of problems.
Vickers down to the 20 on a pitch, now on third-and-7 Rufus to pass. It's way overthrown to the left sideline. Rufus has looked out of sync all night. Parker Campbell on to attempt a 37-yard field goal. First a whistle. Offside on Garces. Now fourth-and-2, which changes everything. BHS is gonna go for it now. Reddick has the first down, makes a cut past the linebackers and is inside the 5. First-and-goal. Huge penalty on the Rams on that kick. Reddick gets the hanoff from the 2. Gets to the 1, no further. Timeout Drillers with 6:57 left in the half. Back to action, and Asauni Rufus on the keeper. Touchdown. Parker Campbell's PAT is good, and it's 7-7 midway through the second.
UPDATED, 8:41 p.m.: So Garces takes advantage of a short field, and now Bakersfield would like to answer. Jeremiah Reddick, from the 20, has a big burst up the middle. He's dragging defenders all the way up to the 40. bakersfield's first explosive play. But Reddick is stuffed on the next play, and a pitch to Lamishio Hill loses five yards on the next snap. Now Rufus will look to throw for the first down. Underthrown. Picked off. Patrick Sakowski has it and is returning up the sideline, just across midfield. Plus a personal foul on Bakersfield, and the Rams have a short field again, at the Drillers 33. Wow, what a dream start for Garces.
Now Adams looking deep for Bellue. That one also underthrown, and Kevin Hayes runs underneath and returns the favor with an interception. But the Drillers are backed up at their own 1-yard line. Reddick fumbles on the first play — but BHS jumps on it. I think Lamishio Hill got it back. Disaster averted. Reddickpicks up yardage out to the 10 on the next play, and it's third and short. Garces D comes up big again, shutting down Vickers and forcing a punt. It's nota good one, and Garcdes has a short field for a third time, from the Bakersfield 33. Two Sheldon Croney runs net five yards, and it's third-and-5. Big play here late in the first quarter. Adams drops back and slightly slips. He's going to run, and there's not much there. Fourth-and-about 4, and Garces lines up to go for it. Adams will look deep for Bellue. Great coverage, I think that was Hayes again. It's incomplete, and BHS takes over with 2 seconds left in the quarter.
Rufus completes to Hill on a short out pass. He picks up about 6 before he's taken down, and the quarter will end 7-0 for Garces.
UPDATED, 8:27 p.m.: Adams looks deep again on first down, and it's again overthrown. Now he'll keep on second down and pick up about 4 yards, inside the 40. He completes a swing pass to Dominic Frasch next, and Frasch is brought down about a yard short of the first. Fourth and 1, and now it's Garces' turn to go for it. Connor Carlovsky, the fullback, has the first down, and nobody ever touched him! He's streaking to the end zone against a safety-less defense, and the Rams have struck first. Reed Robertson adds the PAT, and it's 7-0 Garces, 6:19 left in the first.
UPDATED, 8:23 p.m.: Huge, huge, well-deserved ovation for Jake Varner from both sides,and now we're through the national anthem and ready to go. Varner flips the replica gold medal, and Bakersfield will kick off to Garces, which is going from my right to left, north to south here at Griffith Field. Rams wearing green pants, white jerseys, gold helmets. Bakersfield in all navy from ankle to helmet.
Parker Campbell will do the honors for the Drillers. He boots it deep into the end zone, and Garces starts from its 20. Swing pass from Cruise Adams to Angus Bellue. He's caught in traffic and picks up maybe 2. Hunter Barnes picks up another yard on a pitch, so it's third and 7. Adams looking deep. Bakersfield blitzes. Bellue wide open up the middle, but the pressure forced a quick throw, and it's way overthrown. Garces has to punt. It's a good one. Kevin Hayes won't be able to return it, and it rolls out of bounds back at the Bakersfield 25.
Drillers take over now. A false start on the first snap will make it first and 15. I'd say Bakersfield can't afford that. But we all know how explosive this offense can be. Jeremiah Reddick, lined up at fullback, picks up about seven in one chunk. Pitch to Derrick Vickers gets about seven more, and it's third and short. Reddick on a dive. Not much room there, buty enough. He gets about 2, and it's first down on the 36. Asauni Rufus to pass. He had Kevin Hayes open on a slant pattern, but he double pumped and there was a little miscommunication there. Falls incomplete. Now a handoff to No. 30 — no name on my roster for him — he bounces off a tackle and picks up 8 or 9. Third and short again, and this time No. 30 is stuffed. Illegal shift on Bakersfield, declined, and BHS is going to line up to go for it. Garces might wish it had taken that penalty. Can the Rams stop BHS in a short-yardage again? Yep. 30 is pushed backwards hard by a couple of tacklers. So the shootout hasn't matierialized yet. Scoreless four minutes in, good field position for Garces.
UPDATED, 8:05 p.m.: Liberty out quick up in Tehachapi, scoring on a Kenny Davis reception and a Corbin Jountti run to go up 14-0 on the Warriors in the first quarter.
The Drillers run out of their tunnel with the traditional American flag/BHS flag combo - and the Stars N Stripes immediately halfway falls off the stick and sags. My dad, sitting next to me for the evening, remarks, "That might be a bad omen." I'm not that superstitious, but we'll see.
Now out comes Garces to a load cheer and plenty of cowbells from the visitors' side. What an atmosphere. The teams now facing off at opposing 25-yard lines and barking at each other from 50 yards away. Feels like a playoff game. Jake Varner heading out on the field for the pregame coin toss. We're about five minutes away...
UPDATED, 7:57 p.m.: Our first update of the night comes from Inglewood, where Stockdale is up 20-0 on the hosts. Good start for the Mustangs after a tough loss last week at Stockton-St. Mary's.
Centennial is up 3-0 on Clovis in the first quarter. Another score of interest to Bakersfield fans hoping for a state bowl berth for the Drillers: Narbonne 21, Long Beach-Poly 0 after the first quarter. That's not good news for BHS, which would like Poly to have a good season. The Drillers and Jackrabbits play next week, and a Bakersfield win means a lot less if Poly is no good.
UPDATED, 7:37 p.m.: Unbelievable JV game. Garces recovered the onside kick and drove down to the Bakersfield 10 before throwing an interception with 20 seconds left. The Drillers kneel on it three times, taking care not to back up into the end zone, and hold on, 21-14. So now roughly 30 minutes from the varsity game. I'll be back.
UPDATED, 7:24 p.m.: About 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the varsity game, the JV teams are still going at it. Garces, once down 21-0, has scored once in the fourth quarter and has the ball back on a fumble with about two and a half minutes to go. Now a timeout. So we keep going. Varsity start time TBA. Probably about 8 p.m.
Elsewhere, we'll get as many updates as we can from Liberty-Teahchapi, Moorpark-Frontier, Arvin-South and everywhere else around the county. We don't have a reporter at Centennial-Clovis, so if anyone's there, post updates in the comments below or on Twitter with the #bakopreps hashtag. I'll get those up too.
Garces just scored again. 21-13, pending the extra point, and still 2:20 to go. It's good, so 21-14. If the varsity game is anything like this, we're in for a treat — and a midnight finish.
ORIGINAL POST: There are days, even some Fridays in the fall, when I wake up and feel like I've got to go to work. That's not a complaint, but it's like anyone else: I have a job to do, and so I do it the best I can. I don't dread work, but I don't relish it, either.
Then there are days like today, when the word "work" seems foreign to me. I've been thinking about Garces-Bakersfield, and all of the other great matchups across Kern County, since I woke up, and tonight I'll head over to a packed Griffith Field to soak in the big game and tell you all about it.
This will be your home for the Garces-BHS live blog, plus an updating scoreboard from across Kern County and the Central Section below.
In the meantime, here are some things to keep you busy on a Friday that will drag on and on until 7:30. You can listen into Californian Radio, which begins at 9 a.m. on 1180 AM in Bakersfield or online at KERNradio.com. I'll be on at 9:45 to preview tonight's action.
(Central Section ranking in parentheses; all games 7:30 p.m. Friday unless noted)
Kern County scoreboard
(1) Bakersfield 34, (5) Garces 24
(4) Clovis 28, (22) Centennial 17
(6) Liberty 45, (19) Tehachapi 7
Moorpark 17, (8) Frontier 7
(13) Stockdale 50, Inglewood 14
(14) Ridgeview 43, Foothill 7
Arvin 28, South 22
Mira Monte 35, East 28
West 56, North 0
Highland 24, Golden Valley 20
Independence 58, Fresno-McLane 6
Shafter 41, Selma 23
Exeter 28, Taft 6
Kennedy 28, McFarland 13
Chavez 35, Strathmore 17
Northwest Christian 78, New Cuyama-Cuyama Valley 28
Boron 55, Desert 0
Morro Bay 36, Kern Valley 16
California City 26, Yermo-Silver Valley 7
Rosamond 32, Acton-Vasquez 26
Burroughs 49, Lancaster 6
Orcutt Academy 46, Maricopa 18
Valencia-Trinity Classical Academy 59, Immanuel Christian 0
Mojave 54, Chula Vista-Lutheran 36
Frazier Mountain at Lancaster-Desert Christian, 7 p.m. Saturday
Other Central Section scores
(2) Clovis North 37, Atwater-Buhach Colony 13
Palos Verdes Estates-Palos Verdes at (3) Fresno-Central, Saturday
(7) Fresno-Edison 42, Merced 27
Porterville 28, (9) Clovis-Buchanan 14
(10) Kingsburg 27, (25) Fresno-Washington Union 19 (Thursday)
(12) Visalia-El Diamante 27, Porterville-Monache 7
(16) Dinuba 42, Hanford 35
(17) Clovis West at Encino-Crespi, 7 p.m. Saturday
Visalia-Redwood 28, (18) Tulare Union 18
(20) Tulare-Mission Oak 67, Visalia-Golden West 0
(21) Visalia-Mt. Whitney 49, (23) Sanger 17
Clovis East 21, (24) Fresno-Sunnyside 18 (Thursday)
Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial 20, Tulare Western 0 (Thursday)
Atwater 52, Fresno-Roosevelt 6 (Thursday)
Hanford West 61, Oakhurst-Yosemite 21 (Thursday)
Lemoore 41, Fresno-Hoover 7
Mendota 40, Fresno 31
Coalinga 21, Kerman 3
Madera 77, Reedley 7
Liberty-Madera Ranchos 38, Madera South 0
Avenal 21, Laton 20
Caruthers 34, Tranquillity 12
Visalia-Central Valley Christian 33, Lindsay 14
Firebaugh 52, Hanford-Sierra Pacific 0
Tollhouse-Sierra 31, Fowler 23
Reedley-Immanuel 54, O'Neals-Minarets 24
Orange Cove 31, Parlier 21
Orosi 44, Porterville-Granite Hills 20
Fresno Christian 27, Riverdale 26
Woodlake at Farmersville
Los Banos-Pacheco 33, Dos Palos 7
Hilmar 41, Chowchilla 14
Lemoore-Kings Christian 38, San Juan Bautista-Anzar 6
Alpaugh at Big Pine, 1 p.m. Saturday
Shandon at Riverdale Christian, 1 p.m. Saturday
Coalinga-Faith Christian at Cambria-Coast Union, 7 p.m. Saturday