We're already three weeks into the high school football season and the landscape has featured some expected — and unexpected — results.
With that, we'll begin ranking our local programs at this stage of the 2019 campaign.
A few ground rules: First off, these are power rankings as opposed to an overall ranking, meaning that we're not taking into account the hypothetical result if any of these teams played each other.
There are divisions for a reason, and nine out of 10 times the higher division would win a hypothetical game pitting the two teams against each other. Therefore, the rankings would be dominated by those upper-echelon programs.
These rankings simply take into account the recent successes of the local teams, with strength and overall quality of the wins being used to decide tiebreakers.
Secondly, these rankings focus primarily on teams from within Kern County.
Without further ado, here are this week's power rankings:
1. Liberty Patriots (3-0): Liberty has been one of the area's premier teams over the past few seasons and this year is no different. The Patriots opened their season with three straight road games and have only scored 24, 21 and 17 points in those contests, respectively, but the team's defense has been holding things down. Liberty still has one more road game before their 2019 home opener — and that would be Thursday, at D-I foe Clovis-Buchanan.
2. Bakersfield Christian Eagles (2-0): Despite being at No. 2, the Eagles are nipping at Liberty's heels. BCHS, coming off their bye week, has pitched two shutouts already and has comfortably put up points on the offensive side of the ball. The Eagles will travel to a tough Santa Maria-St. Joseph's team this week, which defeated the same two teams — Garces and Visalia-Central Valley Christian — that BCHS has this season.
3. Ridgeview Wolf Pack (2-1): One team that is not afraid to put up points is the Wolf Pack. Ridgeview has put up up 44, 13 (in a close loss against Liberty), and a whopping 63 in Friday's shootout win over Frontier. Ridgeview appears to be back among the top area teams and is quickly becoming a threat in D-I. The Wolf Pack's early-season performance has added a few more circles around that Oct. 18 game against BCHS. For now, Ridgeview will face another tough test on Friday against a Bakersfield High squad reeling from a tough, 28-20, defeat to Paramount.
4. Kennedy Thunderbirds (3-0): The defending section champ is picking back up where they left off last season, rolling to another 3-0 start. The Thunderbirds picked up expected blowout wins over Foothill and Mira Monte, then opened up a 28-3 lead over Highland before holding off the Scots late in last week's home victory. Kennedy will travel on Friday to a Madera-Liberty team that blew a 21-7 halftime lead to Kennedy's SSL and in-town rival Chavez last week.
5. Centennial Golden Hawks (2-1): I figured the Golden Hawks would have the window to compete in the SWYL this season with other teams on the downswing, and so far that's proven to be accurate. After opening the year with a 35-6 in over North, they then fell to a talented D-I foe in Arroyo Grande, before rebounding at home on Friday against Merced-Golden Valley (35-21 victory). Centennial is winning the games they're supposed to, but needs an upset win to help propel them upward. They close out their nonconference slate against two top D-II teams from Santa Maria — on Friday they travel to Santa Maria-Righetti before hosting Santa Maria-St. Joseph's on Sept. 20.
Best of the Rest: Chavez (3-0), McFarland (2-0), North (2-1), East (2-1), Highland (2-1)