FRESNO — Like he has done many times this season — and over the last three years — Trent Tompkins willed his team to another victory.
Only this one might have solidified him as the greatest quarterback in Central Section history.
Tompkins threw for 424 yards and five touchdowns, including three in the second half in a 58-34 victory for No. 1 Fresno-Central over No. 3 Liberty in the Central Section Division I championship at Koligian Stadium in Fresno on Friday night.
Tompkins came into the game already owning the single-season record for passing touchdowns in a season. Tompkins broke former Bakersfield Christian quarterback Brandon Jones’ record of 54 during the fourth quarter against Bakersfield in the semifinals last week.
In the third quarter this time around, Tompkins found Manuel Oliver-Davis for the first of three touchdown connections between the two. That broke for BCHS quarterback Braden Wingle’s record for passing yards in a season. Wingle finished the 2016 season with 4,380.
Tompkins now has 4,504 and counting as the Grizzlies (13-0) will likely advance to the CIF Northern California regional playoffs in two weeks.
Tompkins also set the section single-season record for total touchdowns by a quarterback. Tompkins came into the week trailing Shafter’s Alex Aguilar by one, but his five touchdowns — added with Aguilar throwing for three in a 30-28 loss to Kennedy in the D-V finals — now gives Tompkins that record, as well, with 67 and counting.
But after the game, the second consecutive section title for Central, all Tompkins could talk about was winning.
“I just care about winning,” Tompkins said. “Stats, records, all of that means nothing. I just care about this team and continuing to win.”
Liberty (12-2) took control early.
After Quali Conley scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns for Central, Liberty responded on the ensuing drive on a 25-yard touchdown run by Sam Stewart, Jr. and took a 7-6 lead.
Brayden Blevins converted two field goals in the first half and Hector Gonzalez was near flawless in the first half with 166 passing yards, including a 28-yard touchdown pass to Ramon Henderson.
Liberty led 27-25 at the half only after Tompkins connected with Conley on a 14-yard pass with two seconds left to cut the lead to two.
Liberty needed just three plays to start the third quarter to take a 34-25 lead on a 29-yard pass from Gonzalez to sophomore backup quarterback Haden Mann with 10:27 left in the third.
But that was the last time Liberty would find the end zone after the passing attack faltered and Stewart was left on the sideline for much of the second half with cramps in his legs.
“(Central) is a great football team and they did a great job tonight,” Liberty coach Bryan Nixon said. “Hats off to them. But I love our kids. They battled through so much this season.”
Liberty’s season comes to an end after avenging the lone loss of the season in a 24-23 win at Clovis-Buchanan in the semifinals last week.
The Patriots won nine consecutive games after losing to the Bears 28-13 on Sept. 7.
But like Central has done the last four weeks, the Grizzlies battled back from behind to continue the first undefeated season in school history.
Central trailed Bakersfield in the fourth quarter in the semifinals before Tompkins was responsible for all three touchdowns during an 18-0 run to end the game in a 46-34 victory over the Drillers.
“We love that kid,” Central coach Kyle Biggs said about Tompkins. “He’s a gamer. Shoot, he even begs us to let him get in on kickoff returns. I am just so happy he is on our team.”
Gonzalez finished with 216 passing yards and Stewart finished with 98 rushing yards for the Patriots.
Jeremiah Hunter led Central with 141 receiving yards and one touchdown while Oliver-Davis had 91 yards on three catches, all touchdowns in the second half for Central.
Division I Central Section championship
No. 1 Central 58, No. 3 Liberty 34
Central 6 19 19 14 - 58
Liberty 7 20 7 0 - 34
C - Conley 9 run (kick fail)
L - Stewart 25 run (Blevins kick)
L - Blevins 24 field goal
C - Hunter 17 pass from Tompkins (Cuevas kick)
L - Holmes 1 run (Blevins kick)
L - Henderson 28 pass from Gonzalez (Blevins kick)
C - Jones 2 run (kick fail)
L - Blevins 24 field goal
C - Conley 14 pass from Tompkins (pass fail)
L - Mann 29 pass from Gonzalez (Blevins kick)
C - Conley 3 run (pass fail)
C - Conley 1 run (Cuevas kick)
C - Oliver-Davis 17 pass from Tompkins (run fail)
C - Oliver-Davis 24 pass from Tompkins (Cuevas kick)
C- Oliver-Davis 50 pass from Tompkins (Cuevas kick)
RUSHING - L: Stewart 23-98, Gonzalez 5-5, Villanueva 7-15, Holmes 1-1, Henderson 1-7. C: Tompkins 10-18, Conley 15-72, Maxwell 8-24, Jones 1-6.
PASSING - L: Gonzalez 14-25-1-216. C: Tompkins 21-34-0-424.
RECEIVING - L: Henderson 5-74, Anderson 3-36, Riley 1-9, Stewart 3-40, Mann 2-47. C: Hunter 8-141, Conley 5-73, Clements 3-76, Simpson 1-5, Oliver-Davis 3-91, Maxwell 1-2.
W-L: LHS 12-2; CHS 13-0