Thursday, November 6, 2014

Central Section teams are playing for more than a rivalry trophy, but a league title

Allen Perryman tries to sprint past a Kingsburg High defender during the 2013 CIF Central Section Division II playoffs, which was a 21-13 loss for Perryman and Lemoore High. Now, the Tigers have steamrolled to a 9-0 start and will take on fellow unbeaten Hanford for both the Milk Can and West Yosemite League title on Friday, Nov. 7 (photo contributed).
The final week of high school football usually means this: the trophies get glistened up on the field and teams put their wins and losses to one side, because it's now all about beating your rival.

Rivalry week begins for schools up and down the Golden State, with the best games under the Central Section lights on Friday, Nov. 7.

The reason? Cali Gold Mine discovered four rivalry games that will decide the league champion. These quartet of games could also have a future college football or NFL star on the field.

Here's some can't miss games if anyone is in the Central Valley:


Where: Tiger Stadium (Lemoore High School)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

The significance: It took 71 meetings, but both teams - for the first time ever in this rivalry - will enter their annual Milk Can game with a 9-0 record.

This clash of unbeatens won't just decide who hoists the Milk Can, but who will win the outright West Yosemite League championship. Both share identical 5-0 WYL records.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR HANFORD: The Bullpups still air it out, but now they have a physical running back who adds a hard-nosed identity to their team: Joseph McDaniel.

The 5-foot-9, 211-pound McDaniel looks like a young Frank Gore (current San Francisco 49ers running back). McDaniel - Class of 2016 - is similar in stature and has the same north-south running style that Gore has shown on Sundays. When McDaniel doesn't have the football, sophomore quarterback Ryan Johnson has shown efficiency and versatility for the newly balanced Hanford offense. Johnson has thrown for 1,279 yards, 15 touchdowns and has four interceptions. In the ground game, Johnson has 473 yards, an average of 11 yards per carry and nine touchdowns.

Defensively, junior Kaipo Barnes is undersized, but he's a run-stuffing machine. The 5-foot-10, 197-pound Barnes has 107 tackles, averaging 11.9 per game. Senior linemen Darrian Aguilar and Coleman Kaczynski lead the pass rush with a combined 13.5 sacks. Juwuane Hughes is another rising Class of 2016 prospect with a team-high six interceptions from his cornerback spot.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR LEMOORE: Senior quarterback Cort Groathouse gives the Tigers their dynamic dual-threat presence. Groathouse has combined for 29 touchdowns, 21 of them through the passing attack. His eight rushing touchdowns leads the Lemoore rushing game.

Groathouse's top targets are juniors Reggie Davis (5-foot-9, 165-pounds) and Allen Perryman (6-foot-1, 180-pounds). Davis leads the Tigers with 50 catches, 501 yards and has scored seven times. Perryman is the deep threat on offense, proven by his team-high's in receiving yards (853) and yards per catch (19.4). He's also leading the team with eight touchdown receptions and nine interceptions on defense. 

In the backfield, junior Trey Perryman may not have over 2,000 yards like the Tigers' 2013 running back star Richard Doctor, but Perryman's 681 yards has given him an average of 6.2 yards per carry.

Defensively, Allen Perryman covers his territory from his free safety spot. The Tigers' front line, though, is what makes everything go. Senior Zack Frazier has raised his recruiting stock because of his pass rushing ability. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound defensive end has 14 sacks in nine games. Fellow senior Tim Johnson (5-foot-8, 180-pounds) helps add to the Tiger rush with six sacks from his middle linebacker spot.

Vance Sams is one of 11 Edison Tigers getting courted by different NCAA Division I programs. Sams, a three-year varsity starter at inside linebacker, and the 8-1 Tigers will look to clinch the County Metro Athletic Conference championship against their oldest rival - Bullard-Fresno (photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna).


Where: Sunnyside High School

Time: 7:30 p.m.

The significance: Not only will there be a concoction of NCAA Division I talent on the field, but the winner can claim at least a share of the County Metro Athletic Conference title with a victory.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR BULLARD: No matter how experienced or young the Knights (6-3, 3-1 in the CMAC) are, 15-year head coach Don Arax continues to find ways to prepare and motivate his team. Arax has plenty of young talent the Knights can look forward to.

It begins with big tight end/defensive end Cvaughn Stewart. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Class of 2016 prospect already has a University of Utah offer and drew interest from Colorado State and USC before the season started. Stewart runs like a slot receiver and doesn't go down on first contact.

Fellow junior Charles Williams is continuing the Knights' tradition of productive running backs that's produced Corey Jackson, Travon Jones, Demetrius Warren and Dejonte O'Neal. Williams has eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark and recently wore down Sanger with 117 yards in the muddy 20-17 road victory on Halloween. Sophomore quarterback Jack Taylor has shown composure and some late-game heroics this season, including his late touchdown throw to get the emotional road win against the Apaches last week.

Defensively, the Knights coaching staff is high on sophomore linebacker Ben Baker, especially after his 20 tackle evening against Sanger.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR EDISON: How deep are the Tigers? Edison (8-1, 3-1 in the CMAC) has not one, not two, but 11 players who've drawn interest from numerous NCAA Division I programs: Hunter Swearingen (quarterback), Khai Williams (running back), DeAndre "Black Mamba" Lockhart (running back), Kamron Lewis (wide receiver), A.J. Greeley (athlete, Fresno State commit), Tyler Horton (athlete), Leevel Tatum (defensive line), Vance Sams (middle linebacker), Anthony Shepard (outside linebacker/defensive end), Xavier Hamilton (OLB/DE) and Ju'Wan Murphy (defensive back). 

Offensively, the Tigers' backfield duo of Williams and Lockhart are so quick, they're capable of sending opposing defenders to the oxygen tanks. Both have been offered by Eastern Washington. Greeley adds another dangerous running threat to the Tiger offense especially on option plays.

Greeley, Horton and Lewis have all frustrated cornerbacks at wide receiver. All three have dominated against man coverage and Swearingen isn't afraid to attack the field with them.

The defense has to be the rock for the Tigers. It starts with Tatum occupying the middle. Then, the trio of Hamilton, Sams and Shepard at linebacker wreaks havoc against rushing attacks and quarterbacks. The secondary, though, has star power with Greeley and Horton locking up wide receivers and Murphy emerging as the extra ball hawk.

Romello Harris has put together a 2,000 yard season for Tulare Union, but he and the Redskins are looking to take back the bell, as Tulare Union meets Tulare Western in the 50th annual Bell Game with a share of the East Yosemite League title hanging in the balance (photo contributed).


Where: Bob Mathias Stadium (Tulare Union High School)

Time: 6:30 p.m.

The significance: The Bell Game turns 50 years old and now - for the first time since the 2004 meeting - the winner can claim at least a share of the East Yosemite League championship.

Tulare Union (5-4, 3-1 in the EYL) has dominated the series with its 35-14 record. However, the Redskins lost last year's contest 14-6.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR TULARE WESTERN: Jordan Padilla (6-foot, 175-pounds) has emerged as a late bloomer on the recruiting trail for the Mustangs (7-2, 3-1 in the EYL). He's been a valuable deep threat with 38 catches, 598 yards, an average of 15.7 yards per catch and eight touchdowns.

Quarterback Kobe Portillo (5-foot-10, 160-pounds) has managed games effectively, with a 98.5 quarterback rating, 18 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Defensively, junior Andy Acosta has been a feisty bulldog for the Mustang defensive line. Only 5-foot-9 and 255-pounds, Acosta leads the team with 12 tackles for a loss. Senior linebacker Drew Muller has 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

The Mustang secondary is led by 5-foot-8, 150-pound senior Daniel Martinho. The aggressive Martinho has nine pass deflections, five forced fumbles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR TULARE UNION: He's not a senior yet but already, Romello Harris is the most wanted running back in the Central Section for the Class of 2016, armed with four scholarship offers including one from Duke University of the distinguished Atlantic Coast Conference.

Harris will enter his third varsity Bell Game with 2,048 rushing yards, ranking him third in the state in that category. His 27 touchdowns are the best in the section.

Anthony Mariscal is expected to touch the football a lot for Liberty-Bakersfield on Friday, Nov. 7, as the future Arizona Wildcat and the Patriots will gun for the Southwest Yosemite League championship against their No. 1 rival and biggest hurdle: defending state Division I champion Bakersfield High (photo contributed).


Where: Griffith Field

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

The significance: The two most established programs in Kern County will battle for not only city bragging rights, but for the Southwest Yosemite League title.

The winner of this game could also be in the driver seat for the No. 1 seed in the CIF Central Section Division I playoffs.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR LIBERTY: Junior quarterback Jordan Love has breathed new life into the Patriot offense. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound Love doubles as a running and throwing threat. He has 1,594 total yards from scrimmage and 17 touchdowns for the 7-2 Patriots, who are also unbeaten in SWYL play.

Senior Braylin Scott is a reliable weapon in the red zone for the Pats. With his 6-foot-4, 170-pound frame, he's hauled down a team-best seven touchdowns. 

But the biggest chess piece for Liberty is University of Arizona commit Anthony Mariscal. The senior is a big moving part on offense and defense. He has 1,344 all-purpose yards and has scored 14 rushing touchdowns. The 6-foot, 192-pound Mariscal is expected to play safety in Arizona's exotic 3-3-5 defense next year.

On the front line, versatile lineman Peyton Solf (6-foot-2, 230-pounds) has 41 tackles, six stops for a loss and six sacks.Solf moves up and down the Pats' line.

PROSPECT WATCH FOR BAKERSFIELD:  Seniors Marcus Bruce and Lameshio Hill are big 200-pound backs who can take over games at the right moment for BHS (8-1, 4-0 in the SWYL). Both have combined for 1,095 yards and 19 touchdowns for the Drillers' high-powered triple option attack.

Powerful 6-foot-1, 285-pound nose tackle Nigel Brooks ignites the Driller defense. He has 40 tackles with seven stops behind the line of scrimmage. He's the top college prospect for BHS with four scholarship offers (Arizona, Colorado, San Jose State and Colorado State). Linebacker Eddie Sanchez (5-foot-8, 180-pounds) has nine sacks for the Driller pass rush.

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