West High has had plenty of success on the football field in the last 20 years, including league championships and a Central Section title with former NFL standout running back Ryan Mathews leading the way.
A proud history, but none of those teams accomplished what this year’s squad did on Thursday night, opening a season with three straight victories.
Even during that magical season in 2005, when Mathews rushed for 250 yards and six touchdowns in the finale to complete a 12-1 season that resulted in a D-II championship. That one loss? The season opener to Clovis East before winning 12 straight.
This year’s squad had to work for it Thursday, a week that was originally scheduled to be a bye week. But after the previous week’s home opener against North was canceled due to health and safety protocols, West was able to add another home game against Atascadero on Thursday with just a couple days' notice.
Trailing 13-0, the Vikings held the Greyhounds (1-2) scoreless in the second half, rallying for a 19-13 victory to move to 3-0 for the first time since the 2001 season.
“I am proud of our school and players for coming together on 48-hours notice to play our first home game of the season,” said Vikings coach Derrick Dunham. “We came out very slow and sloppy, but overcame adversity to come out on top.”
Offensively, James Rufus led the way for West, rushing for 101 yards on 20 carries, and Sergio Aguirre completed both his passes, good for 68 yards.
Here’s a look at some of this week’s other games:
Stockdale 15, Independence 12
The Mustangs (2-0), who missed the last two weeks while working through on health and safety protocols, won a close one in their return. Brandin Arzabal rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, and quarterback Jordan Gallegoz threw for 123 yards on 7 of 12 passing to lead Stockdale, which trailed 12-7 at the half. LaDon Denmark carried most of the load for the Falcons (0-4), rushing for a game-high 108 yards and throwing for 52 more. Evan Peaker ran for 53 yards and a score, and Anthony Rico added 31 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Arvin 54, Mira Monte 35
The Bears (1-2) snapped an eight-game losing streak with an explosive performance against the Lions (0-2). Senior Daniel Noriega rushed for 146 yards on six carries, with three going for touchdowns for Arvin, which had 425 yards rushing as a team. Jonathan Moreno added 140 yards rushing and a score, while teammates Jesus Rojas (74 yards rushing, TD), Chris Carlos (40 yards rushing, two TDs) and Josue Salazar also ran for a touchdown for the Bears. Mira Monte’s Abe Casillas rushed for 235 yards and four scores on 20 carries, with Damian Cruz running for 83 yards and catching a scoring pass. Vic Hernandez had 102 yards receiving on five catches, accounting for most of the yardage from quarterback Eddie Camarena (6 of 13 passing, 105 yards, TD, two interceptions).
Highland 28, Tehachapi 18
Jojo Mata rushed for 106 yards and also passed for 76 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Scots (3-1), who rushed for 214 yards as a team. Adrian Juarez rushed for 85 yards and a score, while Manny Veleta had four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Rashad McElroy returned a kick 82 yards for a score and also caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Root in the Warriors’ road loss. Sam Orellana had a team-high 48 yards rushing, and AJ Anderson and Wyatt Richie had 13 tackles apiece for Tehachapi (2-2).
East 12, Chavez 6
The Blades (1-3) helped first-year coach Bibi Carrasco earn his first victory with a hard-fought victory over the Titans (0-3). East quarterback Aaron Ramos was 17 of 29 passing for 165 yards and two touchdowns, both going to Paul Campas. Campas finished with 76 receiving yards, while Jaeden Moore added seven catches for 51 yards and Kenneth Barrera had 73 total yards rushing and receiving. Defensively, David Chacon had six tackles and a sack.
Wasco 41, North 26
The Tigers (3-0) continue to roll, piling up 571 yards in total offense with five different players scoring touchdowns. Quarterback Jacob Ruiz was 8 of 13 passing for 206 yards and two touchdowns, and Sean Sharp had 188 total yards (111 rushing, 77 receiving) and two touchdowns, one on the ground and another in the air. Omar Tovar also had a big game, rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown against the Stars (0-2).
Bakersfield Christian 14, Visalia-Golden West 3
The Eagles (2-2) rebounded from a tough loss to three-time defending Central Section champion Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial. Braden Waterman threw for 143 yards and David Bonales added 62 on the ground for BCHS, which had 300 yards in total offense against the Trailblazers (0-3).
Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial 34, Garces 10
Quarterback Travis Plugge rushed for a team-high 91 yards on eighth carries, but the Rams (2-2) suffered their second straight loss. Ian Jernagin ran for 69 yards on 10 carries for Garces, which completed just three passes and was intercepted twice.
Kennedy 41, Delano 14
Reedley-Immanuel 14, Shafter 7, game postponed in third quarter when the lights on the field turned off. The game will be resumed on Oct. 15
Centennial 17, Santa Maria-St. Joseph 14
Foothill 8, Taft 6
South 15, Golden Valley 12
Arcadia-Rio Hondo Prep 46, Boron 18
Bishop Union 68, Burroughs 0
Littlerock 63, Desert 8
Ridgeview at Bakersfield, canceled
Kern Valley 14, McFarland 13
Santa Maria-Valley Christian Academy at Frazier Mountain, late
Concord-Clayton Valley 14, Liberty 13