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Californian staffers make week three football picks


Independence running back Evan Peaker runs into a pair of South tacklers in a March 26 game.

Clay Cunningham didn't exactly need a new outlet for displaying his struggles making competent predictions.

In The Californian's staff picks for week two of spring football in Kern County, office heartthrob Ron Stapp went 7-2 while Mr. Cunningham barely cracked .500 at 5-4.

He'll look to pick himself up off the mat in this week's version of staff picks entering Friday's games.

Santa Barbara-Bishop Diego (3-0) at Bakersfield Christian (1-0) 

After narrowly topping Central Valley Christian 28-26 in the program's first game since winning a CIF State Division 3-A title, the new-look Eagles will face a serious test from unbeaten Bishop Diego. The Cardinals' three opponents are 0-3 against them and 6-0 against everyone else.

The BCHS offense will be well-served to continue getting the ball into the hands of sophomore receiver Kresean Kizzy, who had 119 yards and three touchdowns on eight catches in the season-opener.

Clay's prediction: Bishop Diego 34-20  Ron's prediction: Bishop Diego 23-17 

Liberty (2-0) at Frontier (1-0)

Liberty continued to solidify its standing as the county's best team with a 38-14 win over Centennial last week. The Patriots will aim to continue their dominance in their first road game of the season.

Awaiting them will be a Titan squad coming off a thrilling 19-14 win over Ridgeview, in which quarterback Vincent Igoa connected with Devin Cockren for a game-winning 65-yard score in the fourth quarter. The Patriots defeated the same Ridgeview team 45-6 in week one.

Clay: Liberty 41-17 Ron: Liberty 35-21

Garces Memorial (1-2) at Palmdale-Paraclete (2-2)

While they won't be facing one of the top-25 teams in the country this week, a Rams team that has struggled to protect the ball over the last two games will once again be challenged in their only road game of the season. The Paraclete offense is led by tailback Amir Bankhead, who has gained 594 yards this season.

The Spirits lost their season opener 37-14 to Oaks Christian. On March 26, Oaks Christian lost to nationally ranked Sierra Canyon 42-0, the same score Sierra Canyon beat Garces by last week.

Clay: Garces 24-21 Ron: Garces 28-24

Highland (2-0) at Independence (2-0) 

People looking for a solid game of the week contender may have found it here, as both the Scots and Falcons are riding high after decisive week two wins.

Highland quarterback AJ Cleveland has accounted for seven touchdowns in two weeks and led his team to a 63-21 win over West last week. The Falcon offense has proven formidable as well behind the efforts of junior tailback Evan Peaker, who's run for 362 yards and five touchdowns in his first two varsity games.

Clay: Highland 34-31 Ron: Highland 35-27

Shafter (2-0) at Foothill (1-1)

With a quarterback fresh off a seven-touchdown performance on an offense that's put up 100 points in two weeks, its easy to lose sight of a General defense that is currently allowing an absurd 1.5 points per game.

Shafter and its plus-97 point differential will take on a Trojan defense that has been stout in its own right, allowing six points in each of its first two games.

Clay: Shafter 31-13 Ron: Shafter 28-21

Stockdale (0-0) at Centennial (0-2)

A talented, but inexperienced Centennial offense has shown promise in its first two games. Now the Golden Hawks are hoping that promise results it their first win of the season.

They'll attempt to get it against a Mustang squad happy to even get on the field. Stockdale's first two games against Frontier and Bakersfield were postponed.

Clay: Centennial 28-24 Ron: Centennial 35-24

East (1-1) at North (0-2)

Each of these teams will be eager to forget week two, as both suffered ugly losses at home.

After holding a high-powered Highland offense scoreless in the second half in week one, the Stars allowed more than 200 scrimmage yards to Independence running back Evan Peaker in a 39-13 loss. They'll try to get right against a Blades team that was shutout 17-0 by South last week.

Clay: North 24-13 Ron: North 21-12

South (1-1) at West (0-2)

A sluggish second half at Independence in week one is the only thing keeping South from being 2-0. The Rebels, who are on the road for a third-straight week, have quietly put together one of the county's stingiest defenses, allowing just 10 points per game thus far.

The defense will look to stay hot and contain Viking dual-threat quarterback Daylon Leach, who has accounted for all six of West's touchdowns this season.

Clay: South 27-14 Ron: West 14-13

Golden Valley (2-0) at Kern Valley (0-2)

Things have been anything but pretty for Golden Valley so far. But behind a defense that's allowed just 15 points and an offense that's found a flare for late-game dramatics, the Bulldogs are off to a 2-0 start after winning just one game total in 2018 and '19.

They'll look to grind out another win against a Bronc team that was shutout at Shafter a week ago after putting up 32 points in a week one loss to Mira Monte.

Clay: Golden Valley 14-10 Ron: Kern Valley 28-21

Mira Monte (1-1) at Arvin (0-2)

Fresh off losing an overtime heartbreaker to Golden Valley, Mira Monte will look to erase another bad overtime memory this week, as the Lions square off with an Arvin team that beat them 39-33 in overtime in 2019.

The Bears are just hoping for any kind of positive momentum after being outscored 85-9 over the first two weeks.

Clay: Mira Monte 14-12 Ron: Mira Monte 17-14


Ridgeview (0-2) at Bakersfield (1-0)

This is the second straight week the Drillers will be out of action, but unlike their week two matchup with Stockdale, this game is expected to be made up.

The two teams are now scheduled meet in a varsity only contest on April 30. BHS is expected to return to the field on April 16 against Frontier.