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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATED, 1:00 a.m.: One last stock report before the playoffs. I'll post the seedings here tomorrow as soon as they become available, probably some time between noon and 2 p.m.
Stock rising: Bakersfield, Wasco, Garces, South, Independence, Bakersfield Christian, Liberty, Highland, Taft, East
Holding steady: Frontier, Tehachapi, Golden Valley, Arvin, Stockdale
Stock falling: Foothill, Centennial, Mira Monte, Shafter, Delano
UPDATED, 10:40 p.m.: Some other scores before I roll back down the mountain. Bakersfield, after a weird midgame lull (not unlike the Drillers' season as a whole), finished strong to beat Stockdale 45-21. Frontier wasn't great but did enough to beat Independence, 21-13 and clinch an unbeaten SWYL season. Ridgeview, 48-21 over Golden Valley, and Wasco, 56-3 over Shafter, won big to clinch outright titles in the SYL and SSL, respectively, and probably top seeds in Divisions III and IV. Liberty won the Freedom Bowl over Centennial, and Bakersfield Christian scored late to nip Arvin, 19-14.
More scores below. I won't make the start of it, but tune into BVarsity Live at 11 p.m. at bakersfieldcalifornian.com/preps. Scores, highlights, analysis, playoff projections. We'll have it all.
UPDATED, 9:53 p.m.: Arvin has just scored to take a 14-13 lead on Bakersfield Christian in a big SSL game, late in the third quarter. The Bears had trailed 13-0 in that game early.
Here, Garces has run down the clock under three minutes, but the Rams punted. Tehachapi with one final chance to put some points on the board. Ty Curry with a nice run on third-and-5 to get down to the 37. Under two minutes to go. Big run from Curry again, caught from behind at the 10. First and goal. Warriors trying to get on the board. Curry for 5, then Garcia a short catch and run to the 1. Timeout Tehachapi, 53 seconds. Garcia up the middle. He was close. Touchdown. PAT good from Jeremy Duff, and Tehachapi avoids its first shutout since 2005. Garces leads 21-7.
Rams recover the onside kick and will kneel down to end this one. Final score: Garces 21, Tehachapi 7, and likely the No. 1 seed in Division II.
UPDATED, 9:37 p.m.: Tehachapi faces fourth-and-4 from its 48 and the Warriors will go for it. This could be a killshot for Garces if the Rams get a stop. Howell to pass. He hits Chris Rhodes rolling out to the left and picks it up, down to the Garces 38. 14 yards there and a much-needed first down. Now Barry Jones, who has been seeing quite a bit of action in the second half, picks up 4, and a swing pass to Garcia is going to net another first down. Into the red zone at the 18. Garces will call timeout.
Nice drive here from Tehachapi, but the clock is down under 8 minutes, so a comeback still seems very unlikely. Jones picks up about 3, but Garces pushes back Garcia for a loss on second down. Now third and about 9. Howell will pass and he's under a heavy blitz. Threw it into the turf. They'll call it an incomplete pass. Tehachapi will go for it. Field goal does you no good here.
Howell rolls out to his left. Looking in the end zone. Has a man with a small window. Jeremy Duff has it? No, lost it on the way down. He got drilled by a defensive back or two back there, and the ball came out. Incomplete, and Garces takes over on downs with 6:52 remaining.
Field goal for Bakersfield extends its lead to 31-21. Still 8 minutes left in the third there.
UPDATED, 9:25 p.m.: An update from Stockdale: The Mustangs are fighting their way back against Bakersfield and trail just 28-21 late in the third quarter.
Quick back-to-back turnovers here, with Bobby Howell throwing an interception to Sweaney, but Sheldon Croney fumbling it away a few plays later. Tehachapi runs a couple of plays and that's the end of the third quarter. Garces leads 21-0 with the Warriors facing a third-and-3 from their 39.
UPDATED, 9:19 p.m.: Two Croney runs net a first down for Garces at its 20, but it's third-and-9 now at the 21. Cruise Adams looking deep for the Rams, who haven't had the ball in a while now. He'll look deep for Sweaney, and what a tremendous diving catch he makes across midfield. Give him 34 yards. He's shaken up, but I think the wind just got knocked out when he hit the ground. Every baseball scout in California just gasped, but Jake's OK.
Now a sweep to Frasch, and he's around the corner lightning fast. 14 yards. Two plays later, Adams keeps and gets out of trouble for 9 yards. Third and 2. Croney picks it up. Croney has 10 more and first and goal. A play later, a swing pass to Croney. He fights his way down to the 1. Third and goal. Adams keeps. Touchdown. Rams will go for 2. Adams to pass. Looking for Sweaney in the corner with the fade. He goes up high, Got it. 2-pointer good, 21-0.
UPDATED, 9:06 p.m.: The longest bathroom lines I think I've ever waited in at a high school kept me from my normal halftime update, but here's the gist: Cruise Adams has 95 passing yards (71 to Jake Sweaney), but he's thrown the two interceptions. Sheldon Croney had 17 carries for 89 yards and both touchdowns. Tehachapi, meanwhile, had 67 yards — total, all on the ground. The Garces defense is the star of this one thus far.
But on the first drive of the second half, Tehachapi is moving the ball well, with a few runs from Ty Curry and Jorge Garcia and a personal foul penalty mixed in. It's a first down at the Garces 37, but now a fumbled snap. Tehachapi got it back, with Bobby Howell recovering, but now it's second and 9. Curry gets just a yard, and now Howell's pass is underthrown and batted down. Garces will punt. Good kick from Medovitch goes out of bounds inside the 10. So the Rams are backed up.
UPDATED, 8:38 p.m.: Tehachapi with 2:57 before half, starting from its 28. They'll get five free yards from an offside penalty to start, but Garces' D has been very stiff tonight, and it takes Jorge Garcia two carries to get the first down. That's valuable time off the clock. Now Skylar Valencia, whose name we haven't called yet tonight, picks up 6 to the 45. But the clock is ticking down towards a minute. Throw downfield, and a flag for pass interference coming. 15 yards up to the Garces 41. 59 seconds left. Garcia gets 2, and Tehachapi will call its first timeout. Now Howell throws downfield, too high. Incomplete. Third down. Howell to pass again, incomplete again, and it's fourth down. Tehachapi will call timeout. There are 43 seconds left, and I think the Warriors are going to go for this. They will. Thrown to the sideline and dropped. And wow. Here's a really late flag from the back judge. Really late. Pass interference, and I don't like the call, especially that late.
Anyway, it's a first down for Tehachapi. Jorge Garcia picks up 9 and gets out of bounds. Nice play. Second and 1. Howell to pass. He's in trouble and he's sacked. Should have tried to throw that away, but no matter now. Tehachapi has to call its final timeout. 32 seconds left, and it's third-and-7.
After the timeout, Howell to throw again. Incomplete, and it's fourth down. Howell is 0-for-7, but the Warriors have gotten a couple of big pass interference calls on this drive, at least. No field goal unit here. Tehachapi hasn't attempted one yet this season, and they won't here. Instead, they get another gift from Garces, an offside penalty. That will make it fourth-and-2. What a crazy drive this has been. Garcia has the first down and is down to about the 8. First and goal. No timeouts though, and Howell will rush up and spike the ball. 19 seconds left. Second down. Garcia down to the 5 — and he's called out of bounds. That was a break for Tehachapi. Third down. Now Valencia is stuffed, and the clock ticking down under 10 seconds. Can the Warriors get another snap? Yes, but Howell is under a lot of pressure. He's sacked. That's the half. A long drive for the Warriors gets nothing in the end, and it's 13-0 Garces at the break.
UPDATED, 8:18 p.m.: Some other scores: Bakersfield has charged ahead of Stockdale, 21-0 already, early in the second quarter. Yeah, the Drillers are back in business. Frontier has a 7-0 lead on Independence early, and Wasco is all over rival Shafter, 28-0.
Here, in this quick-moving game on the mountain, TEhachapi has gone three-and-out again and will punt. Best punt of the night for Dakota Medvotich. Goes over Sweaney's head and lands at the 29. But now Tehachapi's defense has to come up with a stop that doesn't include a turnover.
Croney has been a workhorse in this first half. He bursts up for a first down, 11 yards to the 40. A play later, a Tehachapi DB tries to jump a route and misses, and Jake Sweaney is off to the races down the sideline. Finally caught, but he stiff-arms the tackle for another 10 yards down to the 13. Adams to Sweaney for 48 yards there, and the Rams are in business again. Croney, inside the 5. They'll give him the first down. There he is again. Garces offensive line starting to assert its will. Touchdown, the second of the night for Croney. PAT .. .is blocked, by Ty Curry. So there's a positive for Tehachapi, but the Warriors trail 13-0, with 3:03 left in the first half.
UPDATED, 8:07 p.m.: Garces more methodical with this drive after they were burned by downfield interceptions the first two drives. Swing passes and Sheldon Croney runs are getting the job done, and now Croney picks up about 4 on third-and-4. First down at the Tehachapi 15. Another swing pass to Frasch for 4 — he's got four catches for 9 yards, though he did take a sweep for 16 yards earlier on this drive. Croney picks up 4 to set up third-and-2 on the Tehachapi 7. It's the fullback, Cameron Pacheco, bulling forward. He's got the first down at the 5, barely. Two plays later, Croney gets in. Touchdown. Reed Robertson on for the PAT, and it's good. 7-0 Garces, finally, midway through the second quarter. Not the game we expected, really, but the Rams will take it at this point.
UPDATED, 7:59 p.m.: Garces moving down the field quickly, with a 13-yard swing pass to Sweaney followed by a 15-yard pass downfield to tight end Jack Lundy. Rams first down at the Tehachapi 23. Croney gets 3, now second and 7. Adams looking for Frasch, pass tipped — and picked off again! Ian Neufield got it off the deflection, and he returns the gift up to the 25. So Tehachapi has come up with two big turnovers.
First down Warriors now. Garcia has a hole, a big one. Sweaney, the last man to beat, drags him down near midfield. 23 yards for Garcia there, but now Tehachapi stalling. One yard for Garcia, then an incomplete deep ball, nice break-up by Frasch. Third down. Garcia will get about 4, but the Warriors will have to punt again. It's another short one. Downed at the 29. Only an 18-yard kick.
So now Garces. A couple of Croney runs get a first down up to the 47, but now a swing pass to Frasch is absolutely blown up by Bobby Howell for a 5-yard loss. Great open-field tackle. Now Adams to pass — another tipped ball and almost intercepted again! Refs rule it hit the turf. Wow, that would have been something. Still, it's third-and-15, and now Adams throws incomplete for Croney again. Garces will punt. Tehachapi brings pressure and might have tipped that kick from Adams. It gets away and wobbles down to the Garces 41.
A personal foul on Tehachapi is going to back them up, and a couple of short runs make it third-and-22 when the first quarter ends. If you had a scoreless first quarter in this game, you're smarter than me.
UPDATED, 7:44 p.m.: Tehachapi will kick off first, and it's a squibber that dies at the 30-yard line. Jake Stuart falls on it for the Rams, and that's where they'll begin. Sheldon Croney gets the carry, and he's strung out nicely by the Tehachapi defense. Maybe a yard there. Second and 9. Cruise Adams, the Rams quarterback, back to pass in this spread offense. He feels pressure and takes off and has a nice gain. Up to the Garces 45 for a gain of 14. Croney again, breaks a tackle and gets to midfield. NOw a swing pass to Dominic Frasch, who picks up a block and gets down inside the 45. But a flag down. That was the same play that went for touchdowns a couple of times against Stockdale, but a holding call here will bring it back.
Second and 9 again. Croney back to midfield. It's like we're watching a replay, but this time it's third down. Swing pass to the other side to Jake Sweaney, and he has the first down and more, down to the Tehachapi 40. Now first down, Adams to pass, looking downfield — overthrown and picked off by Steven Cross! Cross has a return going, but there's a flag down. Penalty backs Tehachapi up to its 23, but that's a big turnover for the Warriors defense. They avoided giving up the big play, and eventually Garces made a mistake.
So now the Warriors in their wing-T. Ty Curry gets about 3 and Jorge Garcia, who will be busy tonight, about 4. Third-and-3 from the 30. Garcia again and he's bottled up. Second effot got another yard, but he's still short of the first down. Fourth and 1 and Tehachapi will punt. No points on the first drive for either team. Short punt gives Garces good field position at its 44.
UPDATED, 7:13 p.m.: Armed with a new laptop, I'm here in the (thankfully) heated press box at Coy Burnett Stadium, ready to watch one of the Central Section's best rivalry games: Garces at Tehachapi, this one with the Southeast Yosemite League title and probable No. 1 seed in the Division II playoffs both on the line.
First off, let me offer some congratulations to Tom Shea, a Tehachapi News writer and regular Californian correspondent, on his upcoming marriage. Shea is missing at least the beginning of this game to rehearse the big day, so you know he's serious about Vicki (who, by the way, I hear is into high school football herself). Congrats, Tom.
Anyway, the teams are on the field warming up, with Garces in gold helmets, white jerseys with green numbers and gold pants with green trim. Tehachapi is in its home jerseys, dark green with black numbers, white helmets and all-black pants. It's senior night here, obviously, so we'll go through those ceremonies before kickoff. Looking at about a 7:35 or 7:40 kickoff.
ORIGINAL POST: Just two days removed from Halloween (and four from a full moon, if you're into predicting that strange stuff could happen), the final day of the regular season is upon us. That's hard to believe, but it's true; playoff seeding will be determined tomorrow in Porterville by the Central Section commissioners, and all of this is just a prelude to that.
But there still is much to be determined, not least of which will take place in chilly Tehachapi, where the live blog travels tonight. The host Warriors, sitting pretty at 8-1 and riding a six-game winning streak, will take on Garces, also 8-1 and riding a six-game winning streak. Updates will fire some time around 7 p.m., along with live scores from around the county and section.
In other important games for tomorrow's seeding: Bakersfield travels to Stockdale, with both looking for possibly a No. 5 seed in Division I, and Arvin meets Bakersfield Christian, where a No. 3 seed in Division IV could be hanging in the balance. Elsewhere, Frontier (at Independence), Ridgeview (vs. Golden Valley) and Wasco (vs. fierce rival Shafter) will look to seal up outright league titles. That's also the case for the winner of tonight's Garces-Tehachapi clash.
A couple of friendly public service announcments:
• Volleyball playoff seeding is coming out today, probably in the next few hours. I'll have a post with all of the brackets, and I'll also post them on Twitter, where you can follow me @zewing.
• If you're all about football, check out this week's Central Section rankings, my Week 10 predictions and yesterday's webcast with Louis Amestoy and myself, in which we discuss Wasco's state bowl hopes and playoff bracket projections.
• Speaking of bracket projections, I'll predict all six divisions tonight on BVarsity Live, and we'll also have highlights of Garces-Tehachapi and Bakersfield-Stockdale. It airs at 11 p.m. on bakersfieldcalifornian.com/sports.
• You can get involved, too. Tweet us scores using the hashtag #bakopreps or @zewing and @bvarsitylive. Then call us during BVarsity Live tonight at (661) 395-7306. Looking forward to it.
(All games 7:30 p.m. Friday unless noted; Central Section ranking in parentheses)
Kern County scoreboard
(3) Frontier 21, (19) Independence 13
(4) Bakersfield 45, (9) Stockdale 21
(5) Garces 21, (15) Tehachapi 7
(7) Ridgeview 48, Golden Valley 21
(8) Wasco 56, Shafter 3
(10) Liberty 50, (21) Centennial 26
(18) Tulare-Mission Oak 31, Delano 0
Bakersfield Christian 19, Arvin 14
South 54, Mira Monte 13
East 35, North 13
Highland 28, Foothill 13
Santa Maria-St. Joseph 51, West 28
Taft 39, Kennedy 13
McFarland 36, Orange Cove 14
Coalinga-Faith Christian at Northwest Christian
Kern Valley 35, Desert 29, OT (Thursday)
Frazier Mountain 34, California City 0 (Thursday)
Bishop 50, Rosamond 12 (Thursday)
Hesperia-Oak Hills 30, Burroughs 6
Lancaster Baptist at Mojave (Southern Section 8-man Division I playoffs), 6 p.m. Saturday
Other Central Section scores
(1) Clovis 28, (24) Clovis West 16
(2) Clovis North 56, (22) Clovis-Buchanan 7
(6) Fresno-Central 49, Clovis East 0 (Thursday)
(11) Fresno-Edison 41, (14) Fresno-Bullard 21
(12) Visalia-El Diamante 61, Visalia-Golden West 16
(13) Visalia-Mt. Whitney 44, (23) Visalia-Redwood 17
(16) Dinuba 57, Exeter 21
(17) Sanger 28, Fresno-San Joaquin Memorial 0
(20) Lemoore 28, Hanford 17
Porterville-Monache 35, (25) Porterville 21
Tulare Union 54, Tulare Western 21 (Thursday)
Fresno-Hoover 48, Fresno-McLane 27 (Thursday)
Madera 48, Madera South 30
Fresno-Sunnyside 38, Reedley 6
Fresno 44, Fresno-Roosevelt 9
Kingsburg 57, Selma 34
Corcoran 33, Hanford-Sierra Pacific 0
Lindsay at Strathmore
Woodlake 38, Porterville-Granite Hills 7
Fresno-Washington Union 45, Kerman 14
Liberty-Madera Ranchos 20, Chowchilla 14
Tollhouse-Sierra 56, Oakhurst-Yosemite 27
Fowler 35, Caruthers 13
Parlier 42, Riverdale 6
Reedley-Immanuel 44, Visalia-Central Valley Christian 7
Farmersville 55, Orosi 28
Coalinga 42, Tranquillity 0
Dos Palos 44, Avenal 0
Firebaugh 25, Mendota 20
Laton 20, O'Neals-Minarets 15
Woodland Poly at Fresno Christian
Lemoore-Kings Christian 21, Riverdale Christian 20