When and how high school sports can safely return has still yet to be decided, but in the interim, several area football players still continue to generate interest.

Three players in particular, Liberty’s Jason Oliver, and Ian Jernagin and Zach Buckey from Garces are listed among the top 100 players in the state for their class, according to calhisports.com.

Oliver, a 6-foot, 160-pound defensive back, is ranked 52nd for the class of 2022. The son of former Bakersfield High and USC standout with the same name had two interceptions and 13 pass deflections last year as a sophomore, and also caught 16 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns as a wide receiver.

He is joined on that list by junior running back Ian Jernagin, who has transferred to Garces from BHS. The 6-0, 180-pounder is ranked 80th in his class. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry in eight games with the Drillers last year as part of a trio that supported senior Wesley Wilson, who rushed for 1,077 yards and nine touchdowns.

Jernagin missed the final four games of the season with a hair-line fracture in his ankle. His older brothers are both playing Division I football, and he hopes to do the same. He already has offers to play at Arizona and Nevada. Isaiah Jernagin, a 2019 BHS grad, is a redshirt freshman at Cal Poly as a defensive back, while recent graduate Isaac Jernagin is scheduled to play wide receiver at Nevada.

Another Ram, Zach Buckey, was ranked 81st among 2021 graduates as a defensive end. The 6-5, 255-pound senior has two dozen college offers, which is nothing new to his family.

His father, Jeff Buckey, is a former NFL player who was selected in the 1996 Draft after playing at Stanford and Bakersfield High.

Yurosek adds another award

Recent Bakersfield Christian graduate Ben Yurosek was named the state’s Division IV athlete of the year by Cal-Hi Sports.

The two-sports star who is committed to play tight end at Stanford, helped lead the Eagles to the CIF State Division 3A football championship and the SoCal Regional D-4 basketball title.

He was also named the BVarsity All-Area football and boys basketball player of the year, and Cal-Hi Sports grid-hoops player of the year.

Pair of Renegades commit to colleges

Chicago native Isayas Aris has committed to play at Nyack College, an NCAA Division II school in New York City.

The 6-5, 205-pound sophomore forward averaged 13.2 points and a team-high 8.8 rebounds at Bakersfield College last season.

Aris’ teammate, Blake van Uden is headed to New Mexico Highlands, located in Las Vegas, N.M. Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, van Uden averaged 2.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in a reserve role for the Renegades.

Sad send-off

James McCarter, who was the manager at AMF Southwest Lanes for more than a decade is leaving the bowling center and moving to Kentucky to help a family member who has a medical condition.

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