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FRIDAY NIGHT REWIND: Liberty, BCHS, Wasco and Foothill win outright league titles to highlight regular season finales

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Liberty's Luke Wattenbarger defends on a pass to Bakersfield High's Daylon Leach in Friday's SWYL finale at Liberty on Friday night.

In a busy Week 11 featuring several rivalry games, the league favorites took care of business.

For the first time since 2015, the four major leagues in Kern County were decided outright, with no schools sharing a title.

Liberty (7-2, 4-0) rallied past Bakersfield High to secure its fourth straight Southwest Yosemite League title. The Patriots, who trailed 20-10 at the half, have now won 19 straight league games.

Bakersfield Christian (7-3, 5-0 SYL) also continued its area dominance, winning its seventh league title in eight years. The Eagles won five consecutive South Sequoia League championships before moving to the South Yosemite League in 2018, where BCHS had finished in first two of the last three years. The only year Bakersfield Christian didn’t win a league crown was in 2019, the season it won the CIF State Division 3A championship.

Wasco (9-0, 6-0 SSL) won its first South Sequoia League crown since 2012 and just the second in the last 57 years. The Tigers capped off a perfect league run with a 46-20 victory over rival Shafter on Friday at Centennial, the 94th meeting between the two schools.

Foothill (8-1, 4-1 SEYL) was slowed a bit by an overtime loss to East last week that spoiled its perfect season. But the Trojans bounced back to defeat Mira Monte for the first time in coach Brandon Deckard’s four years at Foothill. The league title was the school’s first since 1981.

Here’s a look at some of the other games from Week 11:

Bakersfield Christian 34, Golden Valley 13

The Eagles captured their seventh league title in the last eight years with a dominant performance against the Bulldogs (1-8, 0-5) on Thursday night. The Eagles capped a perfect run through the SYL with senior quarterback Braden Waterman leading the way. Waterman threw touchdown passes on each of his first four attempts and finished with 225 yards on 9 of 16 passing. Nathan Perez ran for his team’s other score and David Bonales finished with a team-high 47 yards rushing on five carries.

Centennial 27, Frontier 14

The Golden Hawks (6-3, 2-3) closed out the regular season in style with a victory over the Titans (4-2, 1-1), who hadn’t played the last three weeks due to health and safety protocols. Quarterback Levi Manning threw for a touchdown and ran for another and Conner Warkentin had two sacks, two pass deflections and a strip sack. Jackson McDonald had a 27-yard touchdown run to cap the scoring and give Centennial a 27-7 lead with 10 minutes left in the game. Tyler Routh caught a 7-yard scoring pass, as well. Tristan Flores opened the game’s scoring for the Golden Hawks.

Kennedy 21, Chavez 6

Avian Pesina rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries to lead the Thunderbirds (8-2, 4-1 SSL) past the Titans (3-6, 2-3) on Thursday night. Pesina capped his team’s scoring with two fourth-quarter TD runs, one from two yards and the other on a 14-yarder. Trailing 6-0 after one quarter, RFK quarterback Julian Orozco connected with Gamiez Helm for a 13-yard touchdown to give Kennedy the lead for good. Ronaldo Monroy kicked three extra points and also assisted in five tackles. Emiliano Herrejon had a team high seven tackles, including four for a loss.

Garces 44, Stockdale 3

Travis Plugge threw for a career-high 174 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another two scores in the first half to lead the Rams (6-3, 3-1 SWYL) at Sam Tobias Field. Ian Jernagin rushed four times for 102 yards and scored on runs of 39 and 45 yards. Plugge completed touchdown passes to Zamir Hall (20 yards) and Logan Bowers (24 yards) as Garces sat its starters for the entirety of the second half with a running clock. The Rams’ defense has not allowed an offensive touchdown since halftime against Liberty on Oct. 1, a span of 14 quarters.

Independence 42, Ridgeview 0

The Falcons (4-6, 4-1) posted their first-ever win over Wolf Pack (1-7, 1-3). Independence entered the game 0-13 against Ridgeview in a matchup that started in 2009 and included two playoff games. Evan Peaker rushed for 83 yards and three scores and quarterback LaDon Denmark completed all three of his passing attempts, two going for touchdowns. Brayden Garcia and Jonathan Vigil each caught scoring passes.

Tehachapi 43, West 28

Sam Orellana ran for 223 yards and four touchdowns to power the Warriors (4-5, 2-2 SYL) past the Vikings (6-3, 2-3). Rashad McElroy also scored a TD on the ground, part of a combined 322-yard effort by Tehachapi. Wyatt Richie had a team-high 19 tackles, Tylar Love rushed for 41 yards on seven carries and also had 11 tackles, and Jacob Root threw a 17-yard scoring pass to AJ Anderson, who added 13 tackles. Nick Harris had 200 total yards for West, including an 81-yard kick-off return for a score, and quarterback James Rufus completed 4 of 6 passes for 134 yards.

Kern Valley 48, Desert 0

Hunter Watts rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns, completed 6 of 12 passes for 70 yards and a score and intercepted a pass on defense to lead the Broncs (4-2, 3-2 HDL) past the Scorpions (0-5, 0-3). Brian Hernandez had 92 yards rushing and a TD, with Airian Navin (53 yards rushing, 44 receiving, and an interception) and Chris Mendoza (48 yards) also scoring touchdowns. Braxton Farnum caught a TD pass and Ryan Prince had two sacks and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery. Nathan Montgomery, Ben Hailton, Gage Smoot and Dominick Mental all had sacks.

Taft 34, Arvin 14

The Wildcats (4-4, 2-3 SSL) closed the regular season with an impressive victory over the Bears (2-8, 1-5). Jackson Berry rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns, and also completed 6 of 8 passes for 101 yards and a score. Andrew Sherreill scored a rushing touchdown, with Bradley Reaves and Berry connecting on a 20-yard scoring play. Brock Mizener blocked a field goal and returned it 86 yards for a score, and Josue Leyva was 2 of 3 on extra points. Reaves also threw to Richard Jennings for a two-point conversion.

Other Week 11 scores:

Thursday

Tulare-Mission Oak 52, Delano 0

Friday

Liberty 37, Bakersfield 23

Highland 34, East 22

Foothill 22, Mira Monte 14

North 10, South 7

Wasco 46, Shafter 20

Bishop Union 20, Boron 6

Apple Valley 62, Burroughs 14

Riverdale Christian 50, Frazier Mountain 6

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