Friday, October 26, 2012

Marquee matchups centrally located

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna
It seems like its been awhile since I've done this, but with two huge games in the high school scene in my backyard and one down in the Central Coast, I couldn't resist.

Time to highlight two marquee games that will have league and state bowl game implications for both the high school and junior college scene:

High School


The Broncos have been rolling and they recently took down a Central-Fresno team that many thought was the Central Section's No.1 squad in their 50-7 onslaught. Clovis North, however, will have to contend with a dangerous Cougars team who's never lost to Clovis North in their program history. On top of that, Clovis has also claimed quality victories against some of the Central Section's best in Edison, Centennial-Bakersfield, Central-Fresno and Stockdale-Bakersfield.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR CLOVIS NORTH: There's size, speed and pure nastiness across the board and it begins on the lines. Junior offensive tackle Kyle Riddering (6-foot-6, 220-pounds) has the potential to be the most athletically gifted lineman to ever come out of the young Clovis North football program. Versatile lineman Isaiah Duran (6-foot-1, 245-pounds) helps set the tone on both lines with his power and mean streak. Massive sophomore Jacob Daniel (6-foot-5, 300-pounds) is a potential match up nightmare for offensive linemen and running backs picking up the rush on pass plays, because of Daniel's imposing size and physical nature. Tall and strong Josh Lovingood (6-foot-5, 250-pounds) doubles as a road clearer on offense and space eater at defensive end. He's up to three offers with Fresno State his latest one. In the skill areas, quarterback Christian Rossi showed an even faster mobility in him against Central, as he avoided several late blitzes the Grizzlies threw at him. San Diego State commit David Wells brings a valuable security blanket and red zone target at 6-foot-5, 215-pounds. The Bronco running game is the heart and soul of the offense with gritty senior Carson Guzman (5-foot-8, 175-pounds) and versatile sophomore Bolu Olurunfunmi (5-foot-11, 190-pounds) punishing and running around defenders. On defense, outside linebacker Hayden Haupt (photo) is emerging as a rising pass-rusher with his explosive first step and closing pursuits. The secondary also has a capable playmaker in senior Mark Rassamni at safety, who has a good nose for the football.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR CLOVIS: The Cougars have the potential to turn this into a low-scoring affair with the defense they have. The speed they bring can force lots of turnovers. Senior Adrian Salas is a do-everything type who has nine touchdowns running and receiving, plus 5.3 tackles per game at his safety spot. Some of the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Salas' highlights include an interception against Edison-Fresno's highly-touted quarterback Khari McGee and 12 tackles in the 15-12 upset at Central-Fresno. Up front, rugged 6-foot-3, 245-pound Nick Nevills could have a physical confrontation with Clovis North's Duran. Nevills has a quick explosion off the line once the ball moves and brings powerful force when dealing with blockers. He's leading the Cougars with five sacks so far this season. Cornerback C.J Broussard (6-feet, 180-pounds) remains Clovis' top lockdown guy with his arms and an improved ability to jam receivers at the line. Safety Jason Black, who's drawn heavy interest from the Mountain West, is a threat to take one back on interceptions. The three-year varsity letterman has also blocked a field goal this season.

Junior College


The Pirates have been one of the best surprises in the junior college football scene and are one of four teams not only undefeated, but having their sights set on a state championship. Looking to play spoiler, though, is a Bulldog team at Righetti High School's football stadium with one of the most dangerous running backs in the J.C scene.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR VENTURA: Ebahn Feathers hasn't been spectacular, but he's done enough to help key the Pirates' success. The former Fresno State commit has 16 touchdowns through the air and three more rushing. His completion percentage, though, will have to improve since its at 56.6 percent. But in the end, his play has made the Pirates move very quick offensively. Emerging freshman Dylan McDaniel is a dangerous speed demon and the Pirates' best deep threat. He's very deadly after the catch and can also break tackles. On defense, cornerback Drek Reid is the team's top playmaker with four picks. Even at 5-foot-10, Reid has a wide receiver vertical jump and is a ferocious hitter who's drawn interest from the Mountain West and PAC-12.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR ALLAN HANCOCK: The Bulldogs have been known for pounding the ball with the running attack, but Cameron Artis-Payne just may be the best to ever come out of AHC's backfield. His most recent outing saw 32 carries, four touchdowns and 351-yards versus traditional state power Pasadena College. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Payne is a bruiser and outside threat, plus he's up to four offers including Washington and Utah. Wide receiver Nicko Shellow is a tall, physical and speedy threat who has three 100-yard games this season. He does tend to extend the ball dangerously away from his body after a catch. The 6-foot-3, 238-pound freshman, however, is still freakishly athletic and strong.

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