There's a giant attack dog that's been on the loose in Kings County, and that animal has been unleashed on the Hanford High football field.
The Bullpups - once a combined 5-16 in the last two seasons - improved to 6-0 overall and added another victory over a defending Central Section champion. This time, the Bullpups knocked off reigning Division II champion El Diamante-Visalia on Friday, Oct. 3, after their 42-21 victory.
Hanford previously won against 2013 DIII champion Dinuba 30-7 on Sept. 14. So in what ways are the Bullpups shocking the Central Valley?
Offensively, the Bullpups are no longer heavily relying on a spread offense approach. Joseph McDaniel has given Hanford a new dimension with a power running attack; something the Bullpups haven't seen since Avery Horn pounded the rock for HHS in 2005.
The 5-foot-11, 211-pound McDaniel powered his way to 146 yards on 18 carries and scored twice against a stout El Diamante defense. The rising junior now has 843 yards, 116 carries and 11 touchdowns. He's averaging 7.26 yards per carry.
The Bullpup defense also has rising juniors. Ellix Jimmeye is not your ideal looking defensive end at 5-foot-8, 166-pounds, but he's averaged seven tackles per game and has four sacks. Kaipo Barnes is another tackling machine at linebacker, averaging 10 stops per game. He's another defender lacking size (5-foot-10, 197-pounds) but making up for that flaw with his play.
It's Hanford's best start since the 2010 season, when the Bullpups surged to 5-0 before finishing 6-5 overall.
WRIGHT WINS BATTLE OF THE RUNNING BACKS
Michael Wright of Dinuba continues to step up against newer, bigger challenges.
This time, the Emperors' all-time leading rusher toppled Tulare Union with 194 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns, as Dinuba took down the traditional section powerhouse 26-14 with Class of 2016 sensation Romello Harris on the other sideline.
Wright has gone over 100 yards against Mission Oak, El Diamante and now Tulare this season. All three opponents were added to Dinuba's schedule following its DIII title run.
As for Harris, he finished with 108 yards, 32 carries and a touchdown. But the Emperor defense held him to 3.37 yards per carry.
GAITHER CONTINUES TO BE A MISMATCH
Paso Robles wide receiver Bailey Gaither has frustrated so many opposing defensive coaches on the Central Coast. Now, Morro Bay has witnessed the electricity of the highly recruited senior.
Gaither finished with 232 yards as the Bearcats cruised to the 63-10 romp. Like Hanford, Paso improves to 6-0 in 2014, the best start for PHS since 1998.
Gaither currently holds seven scholarship offers from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Mountain West ranks.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS ROLLING ALONG IN REEDLEY AND SANTA BARBARA
The upcoming Central Section against Southern Section battle between Immanuel-Reedley and Bishop Diego-Santa Barbara on Saturday, Oct. 18, could be one of the most intriguing small school contests this season.
Why? Because both the Eagles and Cardinals haven't lost yet.
Immanuel improved to 5-0 by dismantling Orosi 44-0 behind its high-powered pro set offense and fast, energetic defense. Bishop Diego unleashed its aerial assault, as junior quarterback Spencer Stovesand tossed four touchdown passes in the Cardinals' 31-14 victory over Mission Prep-San Luis Obispo.
Both teams return home before their possible unbeaten match up at Sal Gonzalez Field at Reedley High. Immanuel hosts Harbor of Santa Cruz on Oct. 11. Bishop Diego (5-0) gets View Park-Los Angeles in Santa Barbara on Oct. 10.