20181019-bc-football

Shafter quarterback Alex Aguilar completes a pass before Kennedy defenders Pedro Garcia and Tito Encisc tackle him during an Oct. 19 game. Shafter hosts Kennedy in the Central Section Division V championships on Friday. 

Looks like Kern County football is back where it should be.

A year ago, the county was shutout of the championship games in the top-five divisions of the Central Section playoffs for the first time since expanding in 1998. It was also the first time no team from the Valley region of the county was not in a finals since 1992.

That was truly an anomaly.

Four locals advance this weekend with Liberty in Division I, Bakersfield Christian in D-III and Shafter hosting Kennedy in D-V, guaranteeing at least one county program advancing to the CIF State playoffs. The Division-V final features two county teams for just the fourth time since 2006. 

It’s an exciting time on Thanksgiving week, giving those 10 teams still playing this week the chance to practice on the most sacred of practices all season.

The lone change to the top 10 of this week’s BVarsity Central Section rankings was Liberty jumping one spot over Clovis-Buchanan to No. 2, and a look back shows that seven of the teams in the top 10 in our preseason rankings are still there three months later.

BVarsity Central Section Football Top 25

1. Fresno-Central (12-0, Division I, previous rank, 1)

Trent Tompkins did it again. Central's senior quarterback threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for another 109 yards and two scores as the Grizzlies outscored No. 4 Bakersfield 18-7 in the fourth quarter to pull away in last week's semifinals. Tompkins tied the previous Central Section record for touchdowns by a quarterback with 62 in the win, but trails Shafter’s Alex Aguilar, who broke the previous record and now has 63.

LAST WEEK: beat No. 4 Bakersfield, 46-34

THIS WEEK: vs. No. 2 Liberty

2. Liberty (12-1, D-I, 3)

Liberty advances to the D-I finals for the first time since 2015 in one of the most exciting finishes of the playoffs. After Buchanan took a 23-21 lead on a field goal with 104 seconds to play, Patriots sophomore Brayden Blevins kicked a 26-yard field goal as time expired to lift Liberty. Sam Stewart, Jr. touched the ball more times (43) than Buchanan ran plays (40) in the victory.

LAST WEEK: beat No. 3 Clovis-Buchanan, 24-23

THIS WEEK: at No. 1 Fresno-Central

3. Clovis-Buchanan (10-3, D-I, 2)

It appeared as if the Bears were going to hold on a have a repeat of the D-I finals from a season ago when Race Mahlum kicked a field goal through the upright with 1:44 to play to give the Bears a 23-21 lead before Liberty marched down and squashed Buchanan’s dreams of a rematch against Central. Junior superstar Kendall Milton did all he could with 194 rushing yards on 20 carries for Buchanan, but was able to find the end zone just once, on an 80-yard run in the second quarter.

LAST WEEK: lost to No. 2 Liberty 24-23

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

4. Bakersfield (9-4, D-I, 4)

The Drillers did all they could to get back to the finals, but Central and Trent Tompkins proved to be too much for BHS. Cameron Williams, in his final high school game, threw for 153 yards and ran for another 93, including a 34-yard scoring run in the first quarter. The two teams played a seesaw battle until Central scored three unanswered touchdowns to end the season for the Drillers. Three of the four teams to beat BHS (Central, Liberty and Chatsworth-Sierra Canyon) are playing for a section title this week.

LAST WEEK: lost to No. 1 Fresno-Central, 46-34

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

5. Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial (12-0, D-III, 5)

Alec Trujillo threw for 306 yards and four touchdowns, Jalen Mcmillan had six catches for 101 yards and a score, and Leonard Glass had 172 rushing yards on just 10 carries and scored three times in last week's D-III semifinals. The Panthers are the defending D-III champions and Friday's final is a rematch of the semifinals from a year ago.

LAST WEEK: beat No. 23 Visalia-Mt. Whitney, 68-34

THIS WEEK: vs. No. 7 Bakersfield Christian

6. Tulare Union (12-0, D-II, 6)

LAST WEEK: beat No. 9 Dinuba, 44-37

THIS WEEK: vs. No. 12 Santa Maria-Righetti

7. Bakersfield Christian (9-3, D-III, 7)

LAST WEEK: beat No. 17 Kingsburg, 28-7

THIS WEEK: at No. 5 Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial

8. Visalia-Central Valley Christian (10-2, D-IV, 8)

LAST WEEK: beat Porterville-Monache 61-14

THIS WEEK: vs. Visalia-Golden West

9. Dinuba (9-3, D-II, 9)

LAST WEEK: lost to No. 6 Tulare Union, 44-37

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

10. Clovis (7-4, D-I, 10)

LAST WEEK: No game

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

11. Santa Maria-St. Joseph (8-3, D-I, 13)

LAST WEEK: No game

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

12. Santa Maria-Righetti (10-2, D-II, 16)

LAST WEEK: beat No. 13 Stockdale, 21-0

THIS WEEK: at No. 6 Tulare Union

13. Stockdale (7-6, D-II, 11)

LAST WEEK: lost to No. 12 Santa Maria-Righetti, 21-0

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

14. Shafter (12-0, D-V, 15)

LAST WEEK: beat Woodlake, 60-32

THIS WEEK: vs. No. 18 Kennedy

15. Tulare Western (9-2, D-II, 12)

LAST WEEK: No game

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

16. Fresno-Edison (6-6, D-I 14)

LAST WEEK: No game

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

17. Kingsburg (10-3, D-III, 17)

LAST WEEK: lost to No. 7 Bakersfield Christian, 28-7

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

18. Kennedy (12-1, D-V, 22)

LAST WEEK: beat No. 25 Caruthers, 73-19

THIS WEEK: at No. 14 Shafter

19. Arroyo Grande (8-4, D-I, 18)

LAST WEEK: No game

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

20. Fresno-Bullard (5-7, D-I, 19)

LAST WEEK: No game

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

21. Ridgeview (7-4, D-I, 20)

LAST WEEK: No game

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

22. Garces (4-8, D-II, 21)

LAST WEEK: No game

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

23. Visalia-Mt. Whitney (8-5, D-III, 23)

LAST WEEK: lost to No. 5 Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial, 68-34

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

24. Sanger (7-4, D-I, 24)

LAST WEEK: No game

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

25. Caruthers (12-1, D-V, 25)

LAST WEEK: lost to No. 18 Kennedy, 73-19

THIS WEEK: SEASON COMPLETE

Dropped out: none

Next five: Clovis West, Clovis East, Centennial, Porterville, Visalia-Golden West

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