UPDATED, 12:43 a.m.: Hope everyone enjoyed the Week 7 edition of BVarsity Live. If you missed it, there's a replay below.
Here's the quote of the night from Bakersfield quarterback Asauni Rufus, who hit it right on the head, as told to Californian correspondent Francis Mayer: "We have to turn around the perception that others are getting better while we are declining, because it sucks."
Well, you'll get your chance, Asauni, next week against Frontier. Can't call it anything but a big game at this point, because Stockdale and Liberty play at the same time. The winners of those games will be sitting pretty in the SWYL race, which right now is a mess. Frontier and Stockdale are 2-0 (but Stockdale has played the two 0-2 teams), Bakersfield and Liberty are 1-1, and Centennial and Independence are dangerous but 0-2 after close calls tonight.
Anyway, we know one thing after tonight: Wasco and Ridgeview are easily the best teams in their respective leagues. Both won impressively in big games.
Full scorelist is below. Here's your trend report, which will tide us over until Sunday's Week 7 recap.
Trending up: Frontier, Wasco, Ridgeview, West, Stockdale, Taft, Independence
Holding steady: Centennial, Arvin, Garces, Tehachapi, Highland
Trending down: Liberty, Bakersfield Christian, Bakersfield, Chavez, Golden Valley, South
UPDATED, 10:26 p.m.: While I was up here watching Wasco put on a show, the SWYL had its wildest night yet. Independence stormed back on Bakersfield, scoring three times within about five minutes to tie the Drillers 28-28 before Parker Campbell saved the day for BHS with a 26-yard field goal. Bakersfield 31, Independence 28 in one that was way wilder than most imagined.
Frontier beat Liberty 27-10, dominating the second half despite the loss of Triton Douglas. Now the Titans march to Bakersfield next week with a chance to move to 3-0 in the league. For Liberty, that was perhaps a forseeable letdown with the big win last week, but the Patriots really didn't even keep that one close down the stretch.
And finally, it was Stockdale stopping Centennial on downs inside the 10-yard line in the final minutes to hang onto a 48-42 victory. No numbers on D.J. Martin just yet, but I'll pass along when I get them. Stockdale and Frontier are now 2-0 in the league, with Bakersfield and Liberty at 1-1. What a race it's shaping up to be. Meanwhile, with Clovis' victory over Central, it's clear the race for the top seed has come down to the Cougars and Clovis North, who play in Week 9. Down here, the SWYL parity will cost the league some seeding, but it will continue to entertain us.
More scores below. Ridgeview was up big late on South in a game that gives the Wolf Pack sole possession of the SYL lead.
UPDATED, 9:38 p.m.: Maybe Wasco's starters just need work, considering they've won every game they've played big. They're still in there, and they've driven down inside the BCHS 10 again in the final two minutes. Grinner scores a touchdown, but it'll come back on a penalty for assisting the runner. I've heard USC fans don't know of that one, but it is a rule (just kidding, Trojans!). Instead, Wasco will let the clock run out on an absolutely exquisite performance. 49-0 the final, and the Tigers have a deathgrip on the SSL now.
UPDATED, 9:31 p.m.: Up north, Clovis scored late to take down undefeated Central, 15-12. That's a bad result for the SWYL, because Liberty also lost to Central. The two schools left in first place in the TRAC are Clovis and Clovis North, who are a combined 3-0 against the SWYL, with wins against Stockdale, Centennial and Frontier. That could mean those two get the top two seeds in Division I, though an SWYL champion would still have an argument for No. 2 depending on the circumstances.
BCHS marched to the Wasco 38 on this drive before Thompson threw four straight incompletions, and the Tigers will take over with the running clock almost down to five minutes. We're speeding towards a 7-0 Wasco season.
UPDATED, 9:26 p.m.: I was wrong about the running clock: It's fourth quarter only, but we're there now, with Wasco facing a second-and-goal back at the 16. Clock running, and this will surely be the last we see of the Wasco's starters. Grinner gets is and has an impressive weaving run with a stiff-arm at the end down to the 5. Third down. And now Grinner being helped off the field, hopping on his right foot. Wasco doesn't have a big roster, so it's possible there just aren't really backups. But at least at the skill positions, it seems you'd want somebody else out there, well-protected by the line. Anyway, third down, and Wedel will keep. Driving for the goal line, and he fumbles. Jumped on in the end zone by Austin Kent, who's going to get a touchdown out of the deal. PAT good, and it's 49-0. 11:02 left, clock momentarily stopped.
Elsewhere, Stockdale just scored at Centennial, but a two-point conversion failed, and the Golden Hawks cling to a 35-33 lead. Justin Cash, filling in for Douglas, scores from 10 yards out and then gets the 2-pointer for a 17-3 lead Frontier lead against Liberty. Bakersfield leads Independence 21-7. My, how the SWYL turns.
UPDATED, 9:17 p.m.: BCHS opens its first second-half drive with a short pass from Jake Thompson to Keith Blank, who has been their best offensive player tonight. Gains about 5. Thompson in the shotgun. Throws deep into one-on-one coverage, and the Eagles' Josh Jackson, even though he didn't really have position there, came down with it in front of the BCHS gbench. Gain of 25 and a first down at midfield. Swing pass to Blank will lose big yardage there. Might have been a face mask? No, they'll wave the flag off. Second-and-16 after another negative play from the Wasco defense. That's the unit that has opened my eyes tonight; you know Wasco can run the ball, but they've got a fly-to-the-ball defense, too. Very impressive. Three yards on a pass from Thompson to Jackson and another quick tackle. Now a screen pass set up from Thompson to big Josh Mantle, but that goes nowhere, too. BCHS will punt.
I'll stop such frequent updating from this on unless something signifian thappens and focus instead on the big games going on back in the city. Triton Douglas has left the game for Frontier, but the Titans still hold a 9-3 lead on Liberty in the third quarter.
Well, something significant happened: Terrnece Grinner tears off a huge gain and is off down the sideline. Finally caught by the last man who could get him, Grant Bouma, who played hero last week for the Eagles, but that was a 61-yard gain for Wasco to the BCHS 20. The beat goes on from Wasco.
UPDATED, 9:09 p.m.: Two Isaiah Sharp runs and a five-yard face-mask penalty move Wasco quickly across midfield on the first drive of the seocnd half. Starters still in there for the Tigers, for now. Maybe they want to put together one long drive before departing a game in which they've had so many short fields. Two more Sharp runs get 13 yards and move him to 96 for the day. Now to Terrence Grinner for 5 and to Casper Lopez for 2. Third and 3. Sharp picks up 8 for the first down, then 10 more down to the 10. Sharp slipped out of bounds there and landed right on his backside on the dirt track. Maybe a reminder to coach Russ Prado and staff to get these starters out of here sooner rather than later. No sense in getting somebody hurt. Sharp is fine, and he carries twice but only gets two yards in the process. Third and goal from the BCHS 8. Grinner has it around left tackle. Nice tackle by Blank at the 5, and it's fourth down. I have to take back what I said earlier: The Eagles' spirit certainly isn't broken. They're playing hard. But Wasco is too good. They'll go on fourth down, and it's an option. Wedel pitches to a wide-open Sharp, who out-races the secondary to the pylon. 8-yard touchdown run. PAT good, and Wasco leads 42-0 with 7:09 left in the third quarter.
UPDATED, 8:56 p.m.: Here are some halftime stats that might not change too much by the end of the night. We'll start the second half with a running clock, if I have my rules straight, and it will stay that way as long as Wasco remains up by 35 points or more. Anyway, the Tigers have a 2-to-1 advantage in total yards, 225-112, but the real story is BCHS' three turnovers — plus a pooch kickoff recovered by Wasco. That's given Wasco a bunch of short fields and allowed them to stretch the lead out to 35-0. Here are individual stats:
PASSING: BC, Jake Thompson 7-15, 45 yards, three INTs; W, Kyle Wedel 2-5, 44 yds
RUSHING: BC, Keith Blank 7-42, Jake Thompson 7-14, Matt Smith 5-9. W, Terrence Grinner 6-74, two TDs; Isaiah Sharp 9-62, TD; Casper Lopez 5-50, TD.
RECEIVING: BC, Josh Jackson 3-26, Keith Blank 1-9, Hayden Kuchta 2-6, Donald Harris 1-4. W, Isaiah Sharp 1-30, Austin Sutton 1-14.
UPDATED, 8:47 p.m.; The games of the night so far are in the Southwest Yosemite League, where Centennial just re-took a 28-27 lead on Stockdale midway through the second quarter, and, in a completely opposite-style game, Frontier leads Liberty 9-3 in the second quarter of that one. A Titans victory would set up another big game at Griffith Field next week.
Speaking of Griffith Field, Bakersfield is up 14-0 on half at Independence. Looks like a bit of a hangover from the Liberty game, but at this point, the Drillers will take any old kind of win. The other Division I game to watch tonight is in Fresno, where Central remains ahead of Clovis, 12-7, in the third quarter.
In the SYL showdown, Ridgeview is up 14-0 on South in the second quarter. Win that, and the Wolf Pack will be in good shape for a third straight league title.
UPDATED, 8:41 p.m.: Wasco's first bad series has a holding call to make it second-and-17 and now a fumble from Wedel that bounces free towards the sideline. Isaiah Sharp is the first to get there, though, and Wasco keeps it for third-and-26. Wedel will throw too long. Tigers will have to punt from their own end zone with 1:25 left. BCHS should have good field position, and the Eagles have all three timeouts. Now a motion penalty on Wasco will back it up further. Line of scrimmage is the 2. Eagles will surely come after this kick, too. Anything to have some semblance of momentum before halftime.
Christian Canales takes the snap and goes with a rugby-style kick that avoids pressure and gets a low, bouncing kick that's going to be very effective. Bounces across midfield and no return. That was a 52-yard kick, all net yards.
So BCHS from its 46 with 1:15 to work with. Thompson's first pass is batted down. He'll keep on second down and has a nice gain along the far sideline — and he trucked somebody at the end of that run. Didn't see who, but that got the BCHS crowd going for the first time tonight, at least outside of Blank's long run in the first quarter, which seems like a long time ago. Thompson looking deep on second down but overthrows everybody. Second down, 57 seconds left in the half. He hits Jackson downfield for about seven, then a short one to Kuchta, short of the first down. Fourth and 1. First timeout for BCHS with 25 seconds left. Thompson will throw. Has Blank open downfield, but he's hit again as he throws and it falls incomplete. Thompson is going to be one sore guy tonight. Wasco takes over with 20 seconds left.
Tigers are going to try to add to their lead before half. Swing pass to Austin Sutton, who gets upfield and out of bounds at the 45. Gain of 14. Now Wedel will go deep for Sharp, and he's got nice touch on that ball. It's complete, and Sharp will dance around looking for room before heading out of bounds with 5 seconds left. Tigers will go for a 43-yard field goal before halftime. Christian Canales to attempt, and he has plenty of leg for it. Went wide left, though not by much. BCHS has one more play, and a Matt Smith run will end the half. 35-0 Wasco, and that's without scoring for the final nine minutes of the half. Goodness.
UPDATED, 8:26 p.m.: A 2-yard gain by Keith Blank is met with an enormous hit from Garrett Johnson, who then crows about it and is hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That gives BCHS its third first down — two by penalty. A couple more big-time hits, the really nice one from ChiCho Martinez, make it third and long for BCHS from its 45. Thompson escapes pressure and finds Blank, who's about four yards short of the first down. BCHS will go for it. Offside on Wasco. Four first downs, three via penalty. Now Thompson throws a dangerous pass that Sharp tried to jump on and take the other way, but he's a split second late and it's complete instead, to Hayden Kuchta for about 4 yards. Blank loses yardage, and it's third down again. Thompson finds Josh Jackson on the sideline up to the Wasco 26 for a first down. Eagles finally have a little offensive traction here against the aggressive Tigers D. Wasco calls timeout.
Now Blank on a draw up the middle. Gets about six. Thompson keeps and gets to the 14 for another first down. Inside of five minutes in the half, BCHS looking for its first points. Short pass to Donald Harris to the 10. A short run and then a loss on Blank's carry set up fourth and 9 from the 13. No moral victories here; BCHS is going for it. Thompson will pass, and he's swallowed up by his counterpart, Kyle wedel. Can't remember the last time I saw a QB get a sack playing defense. Wasco takes over with 2:46 left in the half.
Some other scores; BHS 14, Indy 0; Centennial back up 21-19 on Stockdale in the second, and Frontier has taken a 7-3 lead on Liberty. All more competitive than this one, that's for sure.
UPDATED, 8:15 p.m.: Stockdale now leads 19-7 over Centennial, late first. Bakersfield up 7-0 on Independence after a quarter, and Liberty strikes first, with a field goal, at Frontier. In the big showdown up north, Central leads Clovis, 12-7, just before halftime.
Here, Wasco just intercepted a third pass. A lineman tipped it, and it fell to Casper Lopez, who returns to the BCHS 31. Lopez on the next snap bowls his way inside the 20 and down to the 12. Now Sharp runs into his own man. That's about the only way to stop this rushing attack. Sharp gets two and it's second-and-8 from the 10. Grinner bounces off a man at the 3 and walks in. It's 35-0. Is it possible to break the spirit of a 5-1 team in the first half? If so, Wasco has done it. There's still nine minutes till halftime!
UPDATED, 8:07 p.m.: The big dogs from Wasco have eaten again, with two Casper Lopez runs resulting in rushing touchdown No. 3 on the night for the Tigers. This one came from seven yards out. Morfin's PAT good again, and Wasco leads 28-0, 32 seconds into the second quarter. What a dream for Wasco, and what a nightmare for Bakersfield Christian.
UPDATED, 8:04 p.m.: D.J. Martin scores for Stockdale, which quickly answers and ties Centennial, 7-7. The start at Liberty-Frontier is coming up shortly after a long JV game.
Here, another short kick again causes BCHS to scramble for the ball but gives the Eagles good field position at their 41. Matt Smith picks up about 4, but then a dropped pass on second down brings up third-and-6. Thompson to pass again. Picked off by Chris Aguilar, and he's going the other way! Won't be caught. Give him 48 on the return. Wow. It's 21-0, still 36 seconds left in the first quarter — and Wasco had to kick off to start the game.
I'll keep it here for the quarter. The Tigers' fourth kickoff of the quarter is another pooch. BCHS still hasn't figured out what to do with this, and Wasco's finally going to recover one. The ball bounced once, and it bounced right to Austin Kent at the 23. Wow. As if Wasco needed help.
Sharp picks up about 3 and then Grinner about 8 for the first down on what will be the last play of the first quarter. Wasco already up 21-0 and looking for more. Spectacular first quarter for the Tigers, who are showing off against the best team they've played.
UPDATED, 7:58 p.m.: Eagles start at their 29 after another high, short kickoff, and the first play of the drive is a run by Keith Blank, who busts it outside and up the right sideline for a big gain. He won't be caught until he reaches the Wasco 30. A gain of 41 and the Eagles are rolling suddenly.
Two plays later, it's third-and-3, but an offside penalty on Wasco will give the Eagles a first down. Now second-and-8, and Thompson to throw. He's clobbered by Chris Aguilar, and he fumbles.. A lineman jumped on it for BCHS, or that could have been 80 yards the other way. Third and long anyway, about 13. Thompson to throw again, and he's going to be hit by Aguilar again. This time the pass flies out like a wounded duck, and it's picked off at the 16. BCHS having real issues with the Wasco blitz right now, and the Tigers have it at their 19. BCHS player is down, and I think it's Thompson. He was out with a concussion after the first BCHS drive of this game a year ago. He's up and walking off under his own power, but the Eagles need to pick up that blitz or he'll just keep getting hit.
It takes Centennial just two minutes to go down the field against Stockdale and score on a Reagen Enger touchdown run for a 7-0 lead. Garces also up 7-0 early, on North. No surprise there.
Here, it's Casper Lopez with the carry and he bursts up the middle to the 30 for a first down. Now three for Sharp and a counter to Grinner for four more. Big Garrett Johnson pulling on that play. third and 3. Sharp has the ball and has the first down easily. Up to the 47. BCHS could really use a stop at some point, but that's easier said than done. Lopez another big hole across midfield to the 45, and then Sharp fights his way forward for about 9 more. Wasco's big line is just leaning forward right now, and the backs are finding the holes. Now a broken play, flag down, and quarterback Kyle Wedel is just going to hang onto this one and take a loss. Penalty is illegal motion, and BCHS will decline. Second-and-13. Option now, and Wedel will keep. He actually doesn't run much in this offense, but that was effective. He bulls over a defender at the 34 and gets down to the 32. Third-and-6. Grinner gets the call and has the first down. Third-and-6 is most certainly a running down for this offense. First down at the 24. Now Wedel will throw for the first time. Grinner had broken open down the middle, but the pass was overthrown. Crowd groans. Second down. Sharp with the ball, little room on the right — now a SICK cutback to daylight. Touchdown. That was a legit run, I don't care the size of the school. PAT good, and it's 14-0. Calling BCHS — the time to show up for the showdown is now, or this could get ugly fast.
UPDATED, 7:43 p.m.: Wasco — which is not wearing pink numbers, just pink socks that made my eyes think the numbers were, too — will kick off. It's a pooch kick that bounces loose for quite a while before it goes out of bounds at the 28. Dangerous for BCHS, but the Eagles will start with decent field position. Then they'll immediately commit a substition penalty. Can't play with 12, boys. Now it's first-and-15 from the 23. Matt Smith gets the first handoff of the game. Two yards, maybe. Now quarterback Jake Thompson will keep and has a nice push. Out past the 30 to the 31. Still, going to be third-and-7. Thompson will throw. Casper Lopez hits him hard, blind-side, as he throws. Incomplete. Credit that one to Lopez and the blitz call. BCHS will punt with Clark White. It's a short kick and it takes a Wasco bounce at midfield to the BCHS 45. Great field position for the Tigers after what will go down as a 14-yard punt.
Now Wasco, in the wing-T. Handoff to Isaiah Sharp, who goes to the right for a few yards, still on his feet, trying to cut back. He finally goes down at about the 40, and all that cutting resulted in a block in the back somewhere. 10 yards back to the Wasco 47, and it's first and 18. Now Terrence Grinner to the left. Has a hole, scampers up to the other 47 for about 6. Second-and-12. Sharp gets four more back, and it's third-and-8. Wasco might be in four-down territory. We'll see, because Sharp is about three yards short. Fourth down at the 38. Big play early, obviously. Grinner in motion. Gets the handoff, has the first down — now cuts through a hole at the linebbacker level and he's gone. Can a DB catch him? Nope. 38-yard TD run for Terrence Grinner, and Wasco strikes first. PAT from Carlos Morfin is up and good. 7-0 Tigers, 8:15 left in the first.
UPDATED, 7:23 p.m.: It took longer than anticipated (thanks, 99 traffic!), but the live blog has made it to Wasco High School for what could be the SSL game of the year: Bakersfield Christian at Wasco.
It's pink-out night here in support of breast-cancer awareness, so the big W at midfield and the pawprints in either end zone are colored pink, as are the numbers on Wasco's uniforms. But make no mistake: These are some ferocious Tigers. They're Kern County's only remaining undefeated team and have defeated their first six opponents by an average of 45.2 points a game. Their opponent tonight, however, is their toughest of the season.
Bakersfield Christian is 5-1 (3-0 SSL) and riding a five-game winning streak, including a come-from-behind 52-42 win last week at Shafter — which was also 6-0 headed into that. The Eagles feature a balanced offense, while Wasco might throw it three times all night. Interesting contrast in styles. Winner is in driver's seat in the SSL race.
Kickoff coming in about 10 minutes. Updates from the rest of the county and section coming all night long, too.
ORIGINAL POST: We'll have clear front-runners in at least two leagues after tonight, and possibly three, if Liberty beats Frontier and moves to 2-0 in the SWYL with its two toughest road games out of the way.
The other two quasi-league championships? Ridgeview at South in the SYL and Bakersfield Christian at Wasco in the SSL. I'm headed to Wasco tonight as the live blog checks out Kern County's only remaining unbeaten team.
There's plenty of action elsewhere, too, from Bakersfield, where the Drillers could be spitting fire after their upset loss last week, to Centennial, where the D.J. Martin Tour™ comes to town with Stockdale, up north to Fresno, where Clovis takes on Central in the first of three Tri-River Athletic Conference showdowns that will have huge impact on playoff seeding in Division I.
You can warm up for this evening's action (and it might actually be cold tonight, for the first time all season) all day long.
At 9:45 a.m., I'll be on KERN Radio, 1180 AM, to talk football on Californian Radio (you can also listen online at www.kernradio.com). Then check out the feature in this morning's paper on longtime Foothill coach Ned Permenter, who will have Trojan Stadium renamed in his honor during halftime of Saturday's East-Foothill game. Permenter's former players adore this guy, and if the couple of hours I spent with him this week are any indication, it's with good reason.
You can also peruse the weekly School House Zach listings, from Central Section rankings to Week 7 predictions and our Thursday webcast. Then I'll see you back here around 7 p.m. for the BCHS-Wasco live blog and updates from around the section.
(All games are 7:30 p.m. Friday unless noted; Central Section ranking in parentheses)
Kern County scoreboard
(3) Bakersfield 31, (25) Independence 28
Garces 42, North 0
(7) Frontier 27, (5) Liberty 10
(8) Ridgeview 49, South 0
(11) Wasco 49, (24) Bakersfield Christian 0
(13) Stockdale 48, (16) Centennial 42
(20) Tehachapi 35, Highland 14
West 34, Golden Valley 19
East at Foothill, 2 p.m. Saturday
Taft 50, Chavez 8
Arvin 14, Kennedy 0
Tulare Union 41, Delano 16
Orosi 33, McFarland 0
Northwest Christian 77, Lemoore-Kings Christian 64
Bishop 47, California City 7
Desert 30, Frazier Mountain 8
Kern Valley 44, Rosamond 22
Boron 50, Oro Grande-Riverside Prep 0
Burroughs 63, Apple Valley-Granite Hills 11
Mojave 57, Coalinga-Faith Christian 26
New Cuyama-Cuyama Valley 52, Maricopa 20
Lee Vining at Immanuel Christian, 2 p.m. Saturday
Other Central Section scores
(1) Clovis North 40, Clovis East 0
(6) Clovis 15, (2) Fresno-Central 12
(9) Visalia-El Diamante 56, Hanford West 14 (Thursday)
Lemoore 21, (10) Visalia-Mt. Whitney 7
(12) Fresno-Edison 44, Madera South 19
(14) Tulare-Mission Oak 27, Porterville-Monache 7 (Thursday)
(15) Sanger 45, Madera 37
(23) Clovis-Buchanan 20, (17) Clovis West 16
(18) Fresno-Bullard 42, Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial 10
(22) Dinuba 49, (19) Kingsburg 22
Porterville 47, Tulare Western 0 (Thursday)
Fresno-Sunnyside 31, Fresno-Hoover 21 (Thursday)
Liberty-Madera Ranchos 21, Tollhouse-Sierra 0
Chowchilla 47, Fresno-Washington Union 44
Kerman 41, Oakhurst-Yosemite 6
Hanford 41, Visalia-Golden West 6
Fresno-Roosevelt 46, Fresno-McLane 6
Reedley 14, Fresno 0
Exeter 29, Visalia-Central Valley Christian 26
Fowler 38, Orange Cove 6
Dos Palos 42, Firebaugh 6
Coalinga 59, Mendota 14
Avenal 40, Tranquillity 32
Corcoran 26, Woodlake 15
Lindsay at Porterville-Granite Hills
Strathmore 42, Hanford-Sierra Pacific 19
Farmersville 22, Laton 0
Caruthers 44, Parlier 14
O'Neals-Minarets 57, Riverdale 0
Selma 41, Reedley-Immanuel 6
Alpaugh at Riverdale Christian, 1 p.m. Saturday