BY STEVE LYNCH Special to The Californian
It turned out to be just as big of a mismatch on the field as it appeared to be on paper going into the game.
No. 5 Bakersfield High started out strong and never let up in claiming a 63-7 Central Section Division I first-round playoff victory over No. 12 Clovis East on Friday night at Griffith Field.
BHS (9-2) scored touchdowns on three of the first seven plays it ran from scrimmage, pulling to a quick 21-0 lead en route to an easy win against the Timberwolves (2-9).
"We had probably one of the best weeks of practice we've had in a long time," BHS coach Paul Golla said. "The last four weeks we've had great practices. We're really excited about where we're at right now as a program."
The Drillers will next face No. 4 Fresno Central, a 55-15 winner over No. 13 Tulare Union.
BHS outgained Clovis East 508-124 despite playing its backups for most of second half.
The Drillers, led by quarterback Asauni Rufus, scored touchdowns on five of their seven first-half posessions and led 35-7 at halftime.
Rufus finished with 341 total yards and five touchdowns (three passing and two rushing).
"I'm extremly proud of the way we bounced back from our previous losses and I think finally we're getting back up to speed," Rufus said.
"I think this was a great team performance. My O-line did a great job blocking for me. I just ran the holes, made my reads and everbody else made the great plays to spring me."
Rufus completed 6-of-9 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
Three of his first four passes went for touchdowns.
Rufus was just as dangerous on the ground, breaking away for a pair of long touchdown runs, one in each half, including a 56-yard burst up the middle to cap BHS' first posession of the second half.
"He's gotten better throughout the year," Golla said. "He's such a worker, not just out here but also in the classroom. He's the full package and we're proud of him."
Kevin Hayes also had a huge game for the Drillers. After Derrick Vickers capped BHS' three-play, 45-yard opening drive with a 16 yard touchdown run, Hayes went to work.
On the Drillers' next possession he caught a short pass, broke a tackle, and then raced into the end zone for a 64-yard TD.
Hayes made it 35-7 with 4:02 remaining in the first half after he scored on a 39-yard touchdown on a go-pattern in which he blew blast the defensive back assigned to cover him.
Hayes credited the Drillers' success to a good week of practice.
"We think if you go hard in practice, it's going to be even easier in the game," Hayes said. "We just treat every play at practice as a game-situation."
The Drillers' only offensive misteps of the first 24 minutes came late in the first half.
A fumble ended a BHS possession at the Clovis East 36-yard line.
Then following an interception by Hayes with under a minute remaing before halftime, Parker Campbell missed a 36-yard field goal attempt wide to the right.
Hayes, who set up the attempt with a 35-grab from Rufus, finished the night with four catches for 152 yards, all in the first half.
Vickers added three touchdowns for BHS, which had its highest scoring output of the seasaon.
Vickers ran three times for 50 yards and two TDs and caught two passes for 38 yards and another score.