While temperatures are starting to drop, the high school football playoffs are heating up.
Four area teams are still in the hunt for a Central Section title, advancing to Friday’s semifinal round. Liberty, Bakersfield Christian, Kennedy and California City will be in action this week.
Mojave closed out the 8-man title on Friday, and Kern County’s version of the Final Four are eager to join them with a championship celebration.
But first, the Patriots, Eagles, Thunderbirds and Ravens must take care of business in the semifinals.
In Division I, No. 3 Liberty (10-1) earned a road rematch with No. 2 Clovis-Buchanan (9-2). The Bears handed the Patriots their only loss of the season in Week 4, rallying in the second half for a 19-17 victory.
In Division III, No. 2 Bakersfield Christian (8-3) will host No. 3 San Luis Obispo (10-1), which has won eight straight games since losing in Week 4 to Templeton — which was eliminated by Kennedy in the D-IV playoffs last week. The No. 6 Thunderbirds (10-2) play at No. 2 Selma this week (10-2).
BCHS figures to have its hands full against the Tigers, although they will have the services of two-way star Ben Yurosek, who was ejected in the first half of Friday’s victory over Lemoore. BCHS won an appeal on the ejection on Monday, which would have carried a one-game suspension.
In Division VI, No. 2 California City (10-2) will host No. 3 Orosi (9-3), which has won seven straight since starting the season 2-3. The defensive-minded Ravens, who defeated Hanford Sierra Pacific 18-6 on Friday, will have perhaps their toughest test of the season against the Cardinals, who are averaging 39 points per game this season.
Here’s a recap of some of Friday’s quarterfinal games:
No. 1 Fresno-Central 56, No. 8 Ridgeview 10: The Wolf Pack scored its lone touchdown on a 57-yard pass play from Alijah Alexander-Williams to Zion Hall. Hall finished with four catches for 79 yards. The other points came on Fabian Guillen’s sixth field goal of the season. Ridgeview (8-4) had 136 yards rushing with Anthony Ramirez leading the way with 66 yards on 13 carries. Jaron Amos had 49 yards on 16 carries. Defensively, Donovan Perish had eight tackles, Mekhai Clayton contributed seven, and Ramirez added five.
Other results: No. 2 Clovis-Buchanan 43, No. 7 Bakersfield 7; No. 3 Liberty 38, No. 11 Clovis West 14; No. 4 Fresno-Bullard 47, No. 5 Clovis 21.
Results: No. 1 Hanford 33, No. 9 Garces 20; No. 2 Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial 42, No. 10 Stockdale 13; No. 6 Santa Maria-St. Joseph 28, No. 3 Visalia-Redwood 24; No. 5 Tulare Western 47, No. 13 Dinuba 13.
Results: No. 8 Visalia-Central Valley Christian 29, No. 1 Kingsburg 22; No. 2 Bakersfield Christian 49, No. 7 Lemoore 7; No. 3 San Luis Obispo 49, No. 6 Madera 28; No. 5 Visalia-Golden West 40, No. 4 Highland 15.
No. 1 Fresno-Washington Union 42, No. 8 North 13: Brian Dean scored his 17th rushing touchdown of the season and Alex Ruvalcaba — playing in place of injured quarterback Titus Liest — threw for a score for the Stars (8-4) in D-4 action.
No. 6 Kennedy 28, No. 3 Templeton 21: Francisco Medina rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns, including a 5-yard scoring run with 5 minutes to play that proved to be the game-winner. Medina’s 20-yard touchdown tied the game for the Thunderbirds, who trailed 21-7 early in the first half. Ricardo Solorio ran for 104 yards and Avian Pesina added 93 yards and a TD for Kennedy, which finished with 352 yards on the ground. Defensively, Ricardo Aguirre had a team-high 14 tackles and three sacks, while Pedro Garcia added 11 tackles and a sack for the Thunderbirds.
Other results: No. 2 Selma 42, No. 10 Wasco 7; No. 4 Porterville 40, No. 5 Chavez 6.
Results: No. 1 Caruthers 43, No. 9 Reedley-Immanuel 7; No. 2 Oakhurst-Yosemite 35, No. 10 Madera South 21; No. 3 Dos Palos 49, No. 11 Exeter 39; No. 4 Strathmore 42, No. 12 Arvin 21.
Results: No. 1 Bishop Union 34, No. 8 Foothill 14; No. 2 California City 18, No. 7 Hanford-Sierra Pacific 6; No. 3 Orosi 48, No. 6 San Luis Obispo-Mission Prep 45; No. 5 Lindsay 28, No. 4 Riverdale 18.
8-man (championship game)
No. 1 Mojave 65, No. 2 Riverdale Christian 38.