In one big way and in several other small ones, this is the week we'll look back on as the one that changed the 2012 season. Let's start with the big one, shall we?
Liberty 28, Bakersfield 17: I've said all along that Bakersfield could easily lose a game during the regular season, but it was hard to see it coming anyway. This really was the perfect storm for the Patriots: They played very well, Bakersfield played its worst, most undisciplined game of the year, a couple of 50/50 calls went the Patriots' way, and they took full advantage. This wasn't a miracle, by any means; Liberty lined up and took it to the Drillers for most of the night on offense and came away with a huge win to snap BHS' 18-game winning streak. Now things get really interesting in the SWYL: If Liberty can beat Frontier, it becomes the clear favorite in the league race. Bakersfield, meanwhile, might have just been relegated to a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the Division I playoffs no matter what it does. That doesn't mean the Drillers can't still win it and get into a bowl game, but the path just became considerably longer and more difficult.
Bakersfield Christian 52, Shafter 42: Big-time comeback for the Eagles, who have been nearly unstoppable on offense since the opening six quarters, when they were routed by Ontario Christian and scoreless with CVC at halftime. From that time, BCHS has scored 203 points in four and a half games, or better than 45 points a game. The Eagles can run it, sure, but this week, against undefeated Shafter and facing a 15-point deficit to start the second half, it was all about the aerial attack and defense. Grant Bouma's 55-yard interception return cut the lead to 42-38 and started a 20-0 fourth quarter for the Eagles, who withstood 486 (!) passing yards from Shafter quarterback Kyle Millwee, who threw 63 (! again) passes, including 9 to Derrick Barton for 277 receiving yards. Take nothing away from Shafter, which out-gained BCHS 442-350, but the game of the year in the SSL is now next week at Wasco, where the Eagles will try to keep rolling.
Frontier 24, Centennial 14: As anticipated, it was a battle of big plays from Centennial, most notably Andrew Daughtery's 62-yard touchdown run on a fake punt and a blocked punt that set up another score, against the steady hand of Frontier, which dominated the line of scrimmage and held the Golden Hawks to 219 total yards — just 157 other than the fake-punt TD. The Titans get Liberty next in a game that has taken on enormous league-title implications. Win that one, and the Titans could get a share of the SWYL even if they do lose at Bakersfield. As for Centennial, the race for playoff eligibility (school policy states they must be .500) continues next week at surging Stockdale. It's not looking good for the 2-4 Golden Hawks, who now must win three of their final four with Bakersfield and Liberty still to come.
Stockdale 68, Independence 34: This is how big of a weekend it was: I've written more than 500 words already and still not spent any on D.J. Martin's unbelievable night. I mean, 385 rushing yards against a decent defense is literally almost unbelievable. On four carries at the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third, Martin had touchdown runs of 33, 64 and 65 yards, which is the way you get to a total like that. Mike Snow has said all along that he thinks the Mustangs will have to throw the ball to win a championship, and I still believe that. But getting Martin 25 carries a game, minimum, still ought to be Plan A. There's no telling what he might do with them. Independence meanwhile, had its share of big plays on offense, too. Forget this result; the Falcons still aren't an easy out in the SWYL.
South 25, West 24: John Wren showed some serious guts and got his Rebels to 5-1 in the process, going for a two-point conversion with 1:29 left in the game to lift South. This wasn't overtime, and South was favored, so the two-point try was unexpected. But Eddy Perez, who had just thrown a TD pass to Keith Evans from 14 yards, carried in the two-pointer, and South kept its hopes alive for an SYL title. The Rebels return home to face Ridgeview next week, and it's clear they'll need to start better; West led 14-0 at halftime in this one and took a 24-17 lead with six minutes left on a Stanley Dubard touchdown run.
Elsewhere: In the area of amazing coincidences (or perhaps just top-heavy leagues), I offer this: All three games in the opening week of SEYL play were shutouts: Garces thumped Highland 49-0 behind 10-of-12 passing from Cruise Adams, Tehachapi blanked East 42-0 and Foothill slogged past North 21-0. ... Speaking of slogging by, Ridgeview opened its SYL title defense by beating Mira Monte 28-12, but there's a big caveat: The Wolf Pack was without Kamari Cotton-Moya, who was serving a one-game suspension related to school discipline. He'll be back for a big one with 5-1 South next week. ... Wasco continued to hold up its end of the bargain with another blowout, 56-0 over Kennedy. The Tigers probably could have been 6-0 with their JVs, though; the real tests begin now, with Bakersfield Christian up first.
Now, here's a full replay of this week's BVarsity Live show from Friday night. There's tons of good stuff here, so if you missed the show live, be sure to check it out and then join us at 11 p.m. next week. After the video is next week's big games; new rankings are coming tomorrow afternoon.
We finish with next week's five biggest games. There are three right at the top that very well could decide league titles:
Liberty (4-2, 1-0 SWYL) at Frontier (3-3, 1-0): This league is really going to beat up on itself. Then again, if Liberty wins, the Patriots could run the table.
Bakersfield Christian (5-1, 3-0 SSL) at Wasco (6-0, 2-0): Wasco still has a little rivalry game with Shafter to worry about, but this looks like the SSL title game
Ridgeview (5-2, 1-0 SYL) at South (5-1, 1-0): Best game in SYL since Golden Valley shockd Ridgeview to end the 2010 season
Stockdale (3-3, 1-0 SWYL) at Centennial (2-4, 0-1): Hawks will put up a better fight against the D.J. show, but will it be enough?
Independence (4-2, 0-1 SWYL) at Bakersfield (5-1, 0-1): Fascinating to see how Drillers will react to loss. My guess is, it won't be good news for Indy.
And finally, a bonus:East (0-6, 0-1 SEYL) at Foothill (2-4, 1-0), 2 p.m. Saturday: Sure, the game will be fun, but the real highlight is that the Trojans are honoring longtime coach Ned Permenter. High school football history buffs will want to be there.