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Thursday night lights: Californian staffers preview, make predictions for week two of spring football


Liberty quarterback Haden Mann stiff arms Ridgeview free safety Isiah Kemp II at Liberty High School last week. The Patriots, Wolf Pack and most of Kern County will be back in action for week two, which kicks off on Thursday.

A high school football season that's already been heavily modified will get an additional makeover in week two.

With Good Friday coming up this week, the spring football season will move its action up a day, with nine games featuring Kern County teams — one less than originally scheduled — set to take place on Thursday.

While it's still too early to know how all these games will play out, that won't stop our intrepid sports staff from making some predictions. Here's what staffers Clay Cunningham and Ron Stapp think will happen this week.

Centennial (0-1) at Liberty (1-0)

Viewed by many as the most complete team in the area, Liberty certainly looked the part in a 45-6 takedown of Ridgeview last week, in which the Patriots scored in all three phases.

The Patriots now turn their attention to rival Centennial, a team they've beaten 10 years in a row. Golden Hawks quarterback Levi Manning, who accounted for four touchdowns in his first varsity start — an overtime loss to Bakersfield High — will have his hands full with a Liberty defense that shut Ridgeview down over the final three quarters.

Clay's prediction: Liberty 37-13 Ron's prediction: Liberty 28-17

Frontier (0-0) at Ridgeview (0-1)

The Wolf Pack returns home hoping to remove the bad taste from last week's game against Liberty. They'll try to do so against a Frontier team that has yet to see the field after last week's opener against Stockdale was postponed.

Ridgeview put up over 500 yards of offense in a 63-43 win over Frontier a year ago. Jaron Amos, who rushed for 165 yards against Liberty last week, gained 137 and scored three touchdowns the last time out against the Titans.

Clay: Ridgeview 28-24 Ron: Ridgeview 35-31

Independence (1-0) at North (0-1)

Two teams that pitched second-half shutouts in week one will look for more complete efforts Thursday. The Falcons overcame a 17-7 halftime deficit to beat South 20-17, while the Stars fell just shy of coming back from 21 points down in a 28-20 loss to Highland.

It's likely to be a ground-and-pound type game. Against South, Evan Peaker gained over 100 yards and scored two second-half touchdowns for Independence, while North got 109 yards and a touchdown from Kai Shaw last week.

Clay: North 27-17 Ron: North 28-27

South (0-1) at East (1-0)

South hopes to recover from its late struggles against Independence, while East will attempt to build on a miracle 24-21 win over West, that saw Johnie Salazar and Paul Campas connect for a 30-yard, game-winning touchdown on fourth-and-18 with under 30 seconds to play.

The Blades have beaten the Rebels each of the last two years, winning 28-7 in 2018 and 21-17 in 2018.

Clay: East 31-28 Ron: South 24-20

West (0-1) at Highland (1-0)

After last week's devastating loss to East, the Vikings will have to contend with one of the area's most prolific passing attacks. A top area quarterback, AJ Cleveland threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns, all three coming in the second quarter of a 28-20 win over North.

The Scots defense, which forced four turnovers against the Stars, will look to contain dual-threat Vikings quarterback Dalton Leach, who rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns against East.

Clay: Highland 38-17 Ron: Highland 31-23

Arvin (0-1) at Foothill (0-1)

There's nowhere to go but up for these two offenses, which scored a combined three points in week one.

It will be a special night for the Trojans, who are playing at their renovated home stadium for the first time since September 2018. An offense that got shutout by Golden Valley last week will try to find its footing against an Arvin defense that surrendered nearly 500 yards in a 52-3 loss to Shafter

Clay: Foothill 17-13 Ron: Foothill 27-23

Kern Valley (0-1) at Shafter (1-0)

While awaiting repairs on their home stadium, the Generals will play at Centennial, where they will attempt to stay hot following a thorough 52-3 takedown of Arvin.

After slicing up the Bears a week ago, the duo of Tyson Dozhier (409 yards, six total touchdowns) and Cameron Huerta (six receptions, 181 yards, three touchdowns) will face a Kern Valley team that struggled defensively in a 41-32 loss to Mira Monte. The Shafter defense will be tested by do-everything Broncs senior Kaden Preston, who accounted for four touchdowns in week one.

Clay: Shafter 48-20 Ron: Shafter 49-27

Mira Monte (1-0) at Golden Valley (1-0)

The Lions and Bulldogs are off to very different 1-0 starts. Mira Monte won a 41-32 shootout over Kern Valley behind three-touchdown performances by running back Abraham Casillas and quarterback Sebastian Marbaugh, while Golden Valley pitched a 6-0 shutout over Foothill, scoring the game's only points in the final four minutes.

Thursday provides a chance to bring further momentum to two long-struggling programs. The Lions have never been 2-0, while the Bulldogs won just one game total in 2018 and 2019.

Clay: Mira Monte 27-21 Ron: Golden Valley 16-14

Wasco (0-2) at Tulare Western (2-0)

Wasco will return to Tulare for a second straight week, hoping for a much better result than last week's 53-7 loss to Tulare Union.

The Tigers will have to contain Mustangs senior Rolando Holmes, who scored three touchdowns in a 26-20 win over Dinuba last week.

Clay: Tulare Western 38-10 Ron: Tulare Western 27-21

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