BVarsity Blog

Tuesday, Dec 03 2013 10:28 PM

Central Section football rankings, Playoffs Week 4

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

As the playoffs become more and more meaningful, these rankings become more and more irrelevant. But I solider on, because I love you people and I love high school football.

For the record, I'll do one final set of ratings, sans commentary, after this weekend's championship games.

Here we go:

1. Bakersfield (10-2, Division I, last week: 1) — Another week, another reason to think the Drillers are the best team in the section — and that it ain't close. The only team left with an argument is the team that happens to be invading Griffith Field on Friday night, and that's Clovis North. Of course, the Broncos lost 30-14 to Central, which left Griffith licking its wounds after Bakersfield's latest beatdown.
LAST WEEK: won vs. No. 3 Fresno-Central, 45-6. THIS WEEK: vs. No. 2 Clovis North

2. Clovis North (11-2, Division I, last week: 2) — Might the Broncos, whose only losses are to Central and state No. 2 St. John Bosco, be the Central Section team that finally challenges the Drillers? It's certainly not crazy to think so. Clovis North is a tough, physical team built for playoffs and bad weather (and it looks like Friday night could be nasty). They haven't lost a playoff game since 2010 and have never lost a Division I playoff game. Something's gotta give Friday night: The defending champs go down, or the 35-time champs go down.
LAST WEEK: won vs. No. 4 Clovis, 28-14. THIS WEEK: at No. 1 Bakersfield

3. Fresno-Central (9-4, Division I, last week: 3) — I fooled around with dropping the Grizzlies after their (sorry about this) grisly showing at Bakersfield last week, but where are you gonna put them? They beat Edison in the quarterfinals, Edison torched Clovis early in the year, and Clovis beat Liberty in the quarters. Central, when healthy, was formidable this year. When it wasn't, things went south quickly. I'm not sure the Grizzlies were good enough to beat Bakersfield at full strength, but without Nick Wilson 100 percent and without Sharif Williams at all, they had no chance.
LAST WEEK: lost at No. 1 Bakersfield, 45-6. THIS WEEK: season complete

4. Fresno-Edison (9-2, Division I, last week: 4) — This still might be the team that could have really given Bakersfield a run for its money in the playoffs, but after starting 9-0, the Tigers couldn't take care of business either in the regular-season finale against Bullard (which would have meant the No. 1 seed) or in the quarterfinals against Central, and so they never got to BHS. If and when this program ever puts together talent, consistency and stability, watch out.
LAST WEEK: season complete

5. Clovis (9-4, Division I, last week: 5) — It was the same script for Clovis as it was in the Cougars' earlier defeat at the hands of Clovis North. The Cougars were ultimately a very solid team that had trouble with the elite talents of the section — the four losses came to Edison, Clovis North (twice) and Central, all teams that belong in the top five. So No. 5 is a good final resting place for Clovis.
LAST WEEK: lost 28-14 at No. 2 Clovis North. THIS WEEK: season complete

6. Liberty (9-2, Division I, last week: 6) — Anthony Mariscal will become the no-questions-asked leader of this team next year. He's a two-way star who sticks out in a loaded Kern County junior class that includes Sheldon Croney, Brandon Jones, Matt Smith, Marcus Bruce, Isaiah Sharp, Jaccob Lopez, Mason Grantz, Nick Santoro and more.
LAST WEEK: season complete

7. Tulare-Mission Oak (12-0, Division IV, last week: 8) — The Hawks move up a spot after trouncing Wasco in an impressive D-IV semifinal performance. If they do it again and move on through the CIF regional and state bowl system, there could be a spot in the top 5 for Mission Oak. This team really might be that good; a convincing victory against a very good Bakersfield Christian team would prove it.
LAST WEEK: won vs. No. 20 Wasco, 47-7. THIS WEEK: vs. No. 13 Bakersfield Christian

8. Fresno-Bullard (9-2, Division I, last week: 7) — Bullard's season has come to an ugly end at the hands of Clovis North in the quarterfinals two years in a row. The Knights, from what I understand, are getting a bit tired of the new kids on the block, seeing as since the Broncos moved up to D-I, Bullard hasn't been to the final four. Still, another solid season in the books for a program that's increasingly relevant in Division I.
LAST WEEK: season complete

9. Visalia-El Diamante (11-1, Division II, last week: 9) — After a late rally produced a game-winning touchdown with 4 seconds left in a dramatic Division II semifinal, some rumors persisted that El Diamante had benefitted from some iffy officiating, iffy clock-keeping, or both. But what would the playoffs be without a little refereeing controversy? Point is, the Miners found a way to win in a game that could have gone either way. Now they can re-group and focus on a surging Garces team.
LAST WEEK: won vs. No. 13 Sanger, 21-17. THIS WEEK: vs. No. 10 Garces

10. Garces (10-2, Division II, last week: 11) — Last year's Rams team dazzled its way through the D-II bracket, flashing way too much firepower for that level of competition to deal with. This year, Garces is a more traditional ground-and-pound team with a great defense that's again proving that it might be the class of Division II. The only test left now is El Diamante. Garces appears to be a pretty good match for a Miners team that has looked like the class of D-II all year long.
LAST WEEK: won at No. 12 Kingsburg, 32-14. THIS WEEK: at No. 9 Visalia-El Diamante

11. Clovis West (5-7, Division I, last week: 10) — Good schedule notwithstanding, it's tough to keep the Golden Eagles in the top 10 when the teams right behind them keep racking up quality wins. It's possible Clovis West will squeeze back in past the Division II title-game loser (and if Bakersfield Christian doesn't surprise Mission Oak). Next year could be a real crossroads for the Golden Eagles and coach Mike Parsons, who led the team to the 2010 section title. Three years of not meeting expectations is usually enough to get the blue blood at Clovis West boiling a bit.
LAST WEEK: season complete

12. Sanger (8-4, Division II, last week: 13) — The Apaches move up a spot even though they lost, because they took El Diamante down to the wire and because they finished the season much better than they started it. A Sanger-Garces rematch in the D-II final, which nearly happened, would have been a much different game than last year's, and I'm not so sure the Apaches wouldn't have left Bakersfield with a different result.
LAST WEEK: lost at No. 9 Visalia-El Diamante, 21-17. THIS WEEK: season complete

13. Bakersfield Christian (10-2, Division IV, last week: 14) — Eagles coach Jerald Pierucci freely admitted on BVarsity Live last Friday night that he didn't think BCHS had played its best game in the semifinals at CVC, but the Eagles survived and advanced thanks to a late 95-yard touchdown drive. Now comes another extreme test in the Division IV championship; just like last year, BCHS hits the road to take on an undefeated, regionally ranked opponent. Will the result be different this year?
LAST WEEK: won at No. 24 Visalia-Central Valley Christian, 21-14. THIS WEEK: at No. 7 Tulare-Mission Oak

14. Kingsburg (10-2, Division II, last week: 12) — The next time you think of scoffing at someone who floats a strength of schedule argument, remember the Vikings, who were seeded second after a 9-1 regular season that didn't include a single game against Division II competition. Kingsburg then struggled before putting away Lemoore (which was missing star RB Richard Doctor in the second half) in the quarterfinals, and then was out-classed by Garces in the semifinals. It's true, perhaps, that Kingsburg shouldn't be in Division II — but this was one of the section's better non-Division I teams. Just not quite good enough to be in the D-II final.
LAST WEEK: lost vs. No. 11 Garces, 32-14. THIS WEEK: season complete

15. Visalia-Redwood (8-3, Division II, last week: 15) — The rankings from this point on reflect some earlier regular-season results that elevate the Division I and II teams that are knocked out over some of the remaining Division III and V teams. Ridgeview lost to Frontier, which lost to Centennial, which lost to Stockdale and Memorial (though the Golden Hawks beat Redwood). Later in the season, the results might have been different, but the early-season matchups are all we have to go off, so that's what the rankings will reflect.
LAST WEEK: season complete

16. Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial (7-5, Division II, last week: 17)
17. Stockdale (5-6, Division I, last week: 18)
18. Centennial (5-6, Division I, last week: 19)
19. Frontier (4-6, Division I, last week: 21)
20. Ridgeview (8-5, Division III, last week: 23)
21. Porterville (9-3, Division III, last week: 16)
22. Dinuba (9-3, Division III, last week: 22)
23. Mendota (11-1, Division V, last week: NR)
24. Visalia-Central Valley Christian (8-4, Division IV, last week: 24)
25. Wasco (9-3, Division IV, last week: 20)

Dropped out: No. 25 Lemoore

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