UPDATED, 12:55 a.m.: The favorites showed us why they were favorites tonight across the Central Section, and particularly in Kern County. There weren't many upsets this weekend, at least not after Clovis West beat Central on Thursday night. Here's your Kern County stock report (full recap to come Sunday evening).
Trending up: Bakersfield, Stockdale, Bakersfield Christian, North, Liberty, West, Shafter, Kern Valley, Desert
Holding steady: Garces, East, Tehachapi, South, Golden Valley, Delano, Wasco, Arvin
Trending down: Centennial, Independence, Taft, Highland, Chavez, Frazier Mountain, Burroughs, McFarland
UPDATED, 9:44 p.m.: Final score: Bakersfield 54, Centennial 7. Centennial drove down to the BHS 5 against a back-up defense, but the running clock expires on that last play and the Golden Hawks don't call any timeouts. Domination from the Drillers, who get 156 passing yards and 134 rushing yards from Asauni Rufus.
Stockdale 35, Frontier 21 with about eight minutes left in that one. Liberty beat Independence 42-7.
UPDATED, 9:32 p.m.: Running clock time, backups in, and the third quarter ends with Bakersfield leading 47-7 and facing a third-and-1. First play of the fourth, a fake handoff to backup RB Brian Douglas and now it's Nick Marchetti around end. Nobody saw it, me included, and Marchetti can basically walk into the end zone. 54-7 now, with 11 minutes and counting.
UPDATED, 9:25 p.m. : Centennial on a nice drive here, aided by another forward fumble to the Bakersfield 30. But now it's third-and-7. Andrew Hansen throws deep, and into double coverage. Incomplete. Fourth down. Centennial will go. Hansen complete, but it's short of the first down. Penalty, but it's on Cetnennial. Bakerfield will take over at the 21. Asauni Rufus on the option. He's been deadly on that play, and he is here again. It's a footrace, and he's making guys miss. 79 yards to the house. 47-7 Drillers in a virtuoso performance.
UPDATED, 9:12 p.m.: Didn't have time for full stats at halftime, but Bakersfield with a 217-103 edge in total yards, highlighted by Asauni Rufus' 7-of-8 passing performance for 100 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 44 yards and a touchdown.
Second half starts with BHS possession. Two swing passes, one to Marcus Bruce and one to Kevin Hayes, have the Drillers marching at the Centennial 40. Now three runs net 10 yards, with Rufus picking up three on third-and-3, and it's first down again. Now Rufus with a back-shoulder throw to Hayes, who breaks a tackle and is inside the 5 to the 3. 27 yards there, and Rufus now 10-of-11 passing. Now he'll keep it and go in untouched on the option for his second rushing touchdown. It's 40-7 BHS.
UPDATED, 8:41 p.m.: Centennial gains one yard on three plays and has to punt, and Bakersfield calls timeout to preserve itself another chance to score before halftime. Deep ball for Hayes. Easy peasy touchdown. No. Flag down. Illegal motion against Bakersfield. That's a killer, but now Rufus short to Malone, and he spurts forward for 17 yards. Now to Hayes, who shakes and bakes his way to the 17. Gain of 16 more. Offside penalty moves it to the 12. And now Jeremiah Reddick on a slant. Touchdown anyway, with 1:02 left. Man, these Drillers ... it's 26-7.
And now Centennial throwing deep on its possession with 18 seconds left. Intercepted. Kevin Hayes. Heading the other way. He's got a cavalcade of blockers, and he's gonna score. 63 yards. Wow. Three seconds left on the first-half clock, and it's 33-7 Drillers. That's half after a short Noah Frazier run. What a disaster of a final two minutes for Centennial. 20-0 run for BHS to end the half.
UPDATED, 8:25 p.m.: Another stop from the Drillers defense. Centennial, outside of its touchdown drive, has just one first down. Bakersfield again with good field position at its 43. It's third-and-1 now. Rufus on the option. Big hole and now he's dragging defenders inside the 30. 20 yards there, and the first really big gainer on the ground for the Drillers.
Two plays later, here's the second one. Marcus Bruce running around left end and untouched, 26 yards to paydirt. Driillers call timeout and now go for 2. Swing pass to Vickers dropped, so no good on the two-pointer. 19-7 BHS with 2:06 before halftime.
Elsewhere, Stockdale has scored and leads Frontier 13-7. PAT problems continue for the Mustangs. Bakersfield Christian leads Taft, 7-0 early.
UPDATED, 8:12 p.m.: A couple of other scores from around the league: Liberty leads Independence 14-0, and Stockdale and Frontier have traded touchdowns on their first possessions. 7-7 there.
Here, it's 13-7 Bakersfield, and the Drillers have the ball back after a Centennial three-and-out. Good field position, too, right at midfield. But a short Rufus run and a rare Kevin Hayes drop on a deep ball makes it third-and-9. Rufus to pass. He's in trouble and tucks and runs. Stumbles forward only to the 46. Fourth down. BHS chooses to punt. Centennial takes over at its 19, with 6:35 left in the first half.
UPDATED, 8:05 p.m. pm.: A good kickoff return by Derrick Vickers sets BHS up at its own 47 in a 7-7 game. It's third and 5 now at the Centennial 48. Shovel pass to Malone, and he turns the corner and picks up 13 along the sideline. Nice play there. Now a couple of penalties against the Drillers and it's second-and-13. Rufus under pressure. He stiff-arms Gabe Arteaga and now hits Vickers on the run. Great play for 11 yards. Third and 2 now. Bruce is stuffed. It'll be fourth and short when the second quarter starts. 7-7.
Drillers will go for it. Spread formation. Rufus will run right up the middle of it and pick up 13. Easy first down there. Now they're inside the 10. Malone to the 1. Now Rufus will keep on the option. Touchdown. PAT, however, is blocked. I think Malcolm Johnson got his hand on it, and the Drillers will have to settle for a 13-7 lead.
UPDATED, 7:53 p.m.: A great answer for Centennial, which goes 67 yards in 10 plays, nine of them runs, to tie this game 7-7 on an Andrew Hansen 1-yard keeper. The key plays: Hansen completing for 12 yards on third-and-5 to Gabriel DeLeon to midfield, and then a bunch of Brandon Robinson runs to set up Hansen's sneak on third-and-goal. It's 7-7 with 2:23 left in the first.
UPDATED, 7:44 p.m.: Great start here for Bakersfield, which gives up a 15-yard run to Noah Frazier on the first play from scrimmage for Centennial but then stops the Golden Hawks. Drillers take over at their 35 and get a 15-yard run from Johanthan Malone to get across midfield. Two plays later, Asauni Rufus hits Kevin Hayes on a quick hook pattern, and Hayes zooms upfield for 29 yards to the 15. Now it's Marcus Bruce inside the 10, to the 6. Next play, Derrick Vickers. Touchdown — or is it? The ball came loose. Bakersfield fell on it anyway, but I think Vickers was across the goal line. Touchdown BHS. PAT good, and it's 7-0 just four minutes into the game.
UPDATED, 7:18 p.m.: Live here at Bakersfield, where the Drillers will try to earn a piece of the Southwest Yosemite League championship by beating Centennial. They could, in fact, win the whole thing tonight, if Frontier beats Stockdale and Independence beats Liberty. That's unlikely, obviously, but there it is.
Also here is Centennial head coach Kevin Sneed, who is coaching despite undergoing chemotherapy all week long for throat cancer. That's commitment, and it's really inspiring. We'll see how the Golden Hawks respond as big underdogs tonight. We're about 12 minutes from kickoff. And you can catch us live on bakersfield.com in about two minutes.
ORIGINAL POST: It's the second-to-last week in the regular season — and yet, remember, some teams could still have eight games left (that's assuming two more regular-season games, four section playoff games and the possibility of a regional bowl game and then a state-championship bowl game). Crazy to think we could be just halfway done.
So buckle up, because there's lots to be decided. This week started with a doozy last night: Clovis West beat Central, the consensus No. 3 team in the section, 38-28. It wasn't hard to see the Golden Eagles picking off another upset somewhere after their rise from 0-4 to beating Bullard a few weeks back. Here's what that does to the TRAC race: Four teams now have one loss, with Clovis and Clovis North playing tonight. Central is still in some kind of a driver's seat, because the Grizzlies are done playing the other three contenders. Everybody else still has at least one tough game left.
And don't even ask me (yet) what that all means for Division I section playoff seeding. I'll have something figured out after tonight's games, hopefully.
Speaking of tonight's games, tune in for Centennial-Bakersfield at 7 p.m. tonight on bakersfield.com. Hopefully, Golden Hawks coach Kevin Sneed will be able to join his team; he's questionable after undergoing chemotherapy treatment all week for throat cancer.
And then tune into BVarsity Live at 11 p.m., where we'll sort through scores, highlights, league races and even some early playoff seeding talk — remember, the section playoffs will be seeded in just eight days.
You can also check out a really good BVarsity Preview show from Thursday at this link.
Keep up with all the scores on the list below.
(All games 7:30 p.m. Friday unless noted; Central Section ranking in parentheses)
Kern County scoreboard
(2) Bakersfield 54, (15) Centennial 7
(4) Liberty 42. Independence 7
(10) Garces 39, East 14
(12) Stockdale 42, (18) Frontier 28
(20) Bakersfield Christian 49, Taft 0
(21) Porterville 43, Delano 32
(23) Wasco 42, Arvin 12
Tehachapi 49, Foothill 7
North 26, Highland 13
South 24, Golden Valley 21
West 42, Mira Monte 0
Shafter 50, Chavez 14
Kern Valley 37, Bishop 21
Frazier Mountain 34, Rosamond 33
California City 50, Santa Clarita-Einstein 0
Farmersville 70, McFarland 0
Fresno Christian 28, Northwest Christian 8
Victor Valley 24, Burroughs 23
Desert 57, Riverside Prep 12
Boron 26, Yermo-Silver Valley 10
Mojave 61, New Cuyama-Cuyama Valley 26
Lone Pine 49, Immanuel Christian 40
Maricopa at Santa Maria-Valley Christian Academy, 1 p.m. Saturday
Other Central Section scores
(1) Fresno-Edison 35, (14) Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial 7
(9) Clovis West 38, (3) Fresno-Central 28 (Thursday)
(5) Clovis North 26, (6) Clovis 13
(7) Tulare-Mission Oak 27, Tulare Union 7
(8) Visalia-El Diamante 27, (17) Lemoore 21
(11) Fresno-Bullard 56, Madera 21
(13) Kingsburg 21, Exeter 7
(16) Visalia-Redwood 48, Hanford West 12
(19) Tulare Western 38, Porterville-Monache 17 (Thursday)
(22) Sanger 48, Madera South 12
(25) Visalia-Central Valley Christian 43, Selma 14
Fresno-Roosevelt 19, Reedley 18 (Thursday)
Clovis-Buchanan 22, Clovis East 16 (4OT)
Fresno 21, Fresno-Hoover 14
Fresno-Sunnyside 35, Fresno-McLane 21
Visalia-Mt. Whitney 30, Visalia-Golden West 21
Lindsay 24, Corcoran 7
Strathmore 28, Porterville-Granite Hills 7
Woodlake 50, Hanford-Sierra Pacific 27
Tollhouse-Sierra 35, Chowchilla 0
Liberty-Madera Ranchos 34, Kerman 7
Fresno-Washington Union 43, Oakhurst-Yosemite 7
Parlier 27, O'Neals-Minarets 26
Fowler 52, Riverdale 7
Orange Cove 34, Laton 7
Dos Palos 21, Coalinga 6
Firebaugh 43, Avenal 6
Mendota 48, Tranquillity 18
Caruthers 45, Orosi 12
Chatsworth-Sierra Canyon 52, Reedley-Immanuel 14
Lemoore-Kings Christian 54, Alpaugh 0
Coalinga-Faith Christian at Riverdale Christian, 1 p.m. Saturday