One year ago, Clovis High was the young, feisty group looking to shock the Central Valley by stunning the No. 1 seed Edison, but fell to the eventual Central Section Division I champions 21-14 in the semifinals.
Now, the Cougars hold the No. 1 seed at 9-1 overall. And staring at them from the other side of the field at Lamonica Stadium on Friday night? The Edison Tigers.
The Clovis-Edison matchup is one of five big playoff games highlighted by Cali Gold Mine. Here’s the contests worth going to on Friday night:
EDISON (FRESNO) AT CLOVIS
The Tigers turned to power running and defense to propel their way to a 16-6 victory over Bakersfield last week. One of the best matchups will be Clovis’ dynamic wide receiving duo Coltin Velasquez and J.J. Wills going against Edison’s De’Andre Lockhart and Deshawn Tillman. Another big showdown? Clovis guard Tyler Collier going against national recruit Leveel Tatum in the trenches. Tatum and fellow Tiger defender David Tate were both offered by UNLV on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The last crucial battle that can alter the contest is Edison's running back hero from last week Jaylen King going against the Cougars' hard-nosed senior linebacker Tanner Rice, who has made his mark stuffing the run.
CAMARILLO AT ST. JOSEPH (SANTA MARIA)
Underrated athletes will be sprinkled at Jason Williams Field. Two dual-threat quarterbacks take the field as the Scorpions’ Jake Constantine will aim to keep Camarillo’s perfect season alive against Blake Jaeckels and his Knights. St. Joseph’s Joe Guzman and rising 2017 Scorpion prospect Aaron Lamb highlight the running backs. Out on the perimeter, look for Cam’s tall 6-foot-4 cornerback Frankie Tostado to have the task of locking up the Knights’ 6-foot, 180-pound C.J. Cole, who helped end Atascadero’s season last week with 10 catches, 119 yards and two touchdowns in the 26-16 road win to open the Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.
BISHOP DIEGO (SANTA BARBARA) AT PALMDALE
Rare second round battle between two 11-0 teams. The host Falcons rely on a running back committee to take the oxygen away from their opponents, with rising sophomore Richard Newton (team-high 634 yards and 16 touchdowns) leading the way. Defensively, senior defensive back Nathaniel Myles leads the way with three interceptions. The Cardinals will look to use their size and rushing attack to wear down Palmdale. Senior Michael Sorroco (1,163 yards, 15 touchdowns) and 6-foot-2 sophomore John Harris (469 yards and six touchdowns) spearhead the BD ground game. Versatile threat Av Bennett is a weapon at running back, receiver and special teams.
OAKS CHRISTIAN (WESTLAKE VILLAGE) VS. BISHOP AMAT (LA PUENTE)
The Lions opened the PAC-5 playoffs with a 56-8 thrashing of Long Beach-Jordan. Now enters traditional Los Angeles region power Bishop Amat and its bevy of speed. Oaks Christian has quarterback Matt Corrall, running back Gil’Scott Jackson II and wide receiver/USC commit Michael Pittman II looking to go off on offense. There’s also fast-rising tight end Colby Parkinson, who has Texas A&M, Michigan and Georgia as early scholarship offers for the 6-foot-7 Class of 2017 prospect. Bishop Amat has two monster weapons in running back Torreahno Sweet and wideout Tyler Vaughns. Sweet has 1,306 yards and 30 touchdowns through 10 games, while the current USC commit Vaughns has 71 catches, 1,155 yards and 12 touchdowns.
BUENA PARK VS. CORONA DEL MAR (NEWPORT BEACH)
This Southern Section Southwest Division battle between 9-2 teams in Orange County could come down to defense. Seven different Corona Del Mar players have intercepted a pass, with senior strong safety Sutty Barbato leading the way with two picks and nine breakups. The Sea Kings’ 2017 quarterback Chase Garber has gotten on some college coaches’ recruiting lists by throwing 2,598 yards, 32 touchdowns and three picks. Buena Park has an impressive foursome of defenders in linebacker Ricky Barbosa, hybrid defensive end Cedric Dashiel II, linebacker Anthony Wright and defensive lineman Ryan Nelson; all of whom have made eight tackles or more behind the line of scrimmage, with the 6-foot-4, 216-pound Wright tops with 18 stops for a loss and 9.5 sacks. Class of 2017 prospect Elijah Gates – who was recently offered by the University of Cincinnati - doubles as play-making wide receiver and shut down cornerback for the Coyotes.