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Week 14 Preview: Valley Championship

Two teams have a chance to cap off a perfect season in Division I and IV, while a few surprises have made for some unexpected matchups in the Valley Championships.

(8) Centennial (9-4, 3-3) at (2) Bullard (12-0, 5-0)

Friday at 7 p.m.
Centennial: 28.1 PFpg, 19.4 PApg
Bullard: 35.7 PFpg, 13.4 PApg

Bullard looks to put the final touches on a magical run it hopes will include a perfect 13-0 season and Valley Championship, but Centennial stands in its way.

The Golden Hawks are the relative Cinderella story of the Valley Playoffs this year. As a No. 8 seed, they are the lowest-seeded team to play for a Valley Championship at any Division. In fact, Centennial could only muster a three-place finish in the Southwest Yosemite League with a 3-3 league record.

But with solid, consistent play in the postseason, Centenniel knocked off top-seeded Buchanan 26-24, then No. 5 Liberty 21-14, to earn a place in the Championship.

Across the field, quaertback Kerr Taubler leads a powerful offense but the Knight defense is what pays the bills. Bullard has not given up more than 14 points in the last five games.

Bullard has the appearance of a team of destiny, but Centennial is peaking at the right time. Should make for an interesting game.

(5) Edison (9-4, 3-2) at (3) Frontier (11-1, 5-1)

Friday at 7 p.m.
Edison: 27.6 PFpg, 12.3 PApg
Frontier: 34.5 PFpg, 12.5 PApg

Some disappointing regular season losses dropped Edison in the seedings, but its abundance of talent has emerged in the playoffs, as the Tigers have earned themselves a berth in the Valley Championship game.

Frontier on the other hand has been been a model of consistency all season. The only setback was a narrow 17-15 loss to Stockdale in early November.

Last week Edison’s defense, led by defensive linemen Rykeem Yates and Wesley Flowers, limited a Tulare team that was averaging 55.6 points per game to just 25 points.

The Titans’ balance offensive attack (1,813 passing yards to 1,993 rushing yards) has put up 34.5 points on the board per game. The defense has also been solid, by limiting opponents to just 12.5 points per game.

(3) Porterville (10-3, 5-1) at (1) Dinuba (10-2, 4-2)

Friday at 7 p.m.
Porterville: 27.2 PFpg, 19.6 PApg
Dinuba: 29.4 PFpg, 16.1 PApg

For a top-seeded team, Dinuba has a relatively low margin of victory of 13.3 points per game, but the Emperors have done enough to complete the task in their current five-game winning streak.

A lot of that has to do with the conservative offense that eats the clock with long drives. Dinuba averages 26.6 carries per game for 232.9 yards.

Porterville has an even smaller margin of victory of 7.6 points per game. The Panthers aren’t afraid to run the ball either with their talented running back David Ali, who lit up Tulare earlier this year for 229 yards.

(3) Taft (10-2, 4-1) at (1) Kingsburg (12-0, 6-0)

Friday at 7 p.m.
Taft: 38.7 PFpg, 12.0 PApg
Kingsburg: 43.5 PFpg, 9.7 PApg

Taft out-dueled No. 2 Washington last week in a 44-36 shootout last and its reward is to face undefeated, top-ranked Kingsburg for the Valley Championship this week.

Much has been about the prolific Kingsburg offense … and rightfully so. But the defense has been as shutdown all season and especially in the playoffs. The Vikings are only allowing 3.5 points per game thus far in the playoffs. Kingsburg averages nearly four sacks per contest and are led by Dylan George with 8.0, Nick Mesa with 8.0 and Stephen Graham with 7.5.

Taft isn’t exactly a slouch on defense either. The Wildcats are led by defensive end Blake Emberson and linebacker Jordan Vermilton and allow only 12.0 points per game.

But the Viking offense is what’s making headlines. Everything starts at the quarterback with Tennessee-commit Tyler Bray. The 6-foot-6 senior has passed for more than 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns. Bray’s primary target Dylan Newbill has 45 catches for 893 yards and 11 touchdowns, but Trenten Davis, Michael Torres, Benton Bray and Garrett Steele each have more than 400 yards receiving on the year.

Speaking of Steele, the junior running back may arguably just as valuable to the offense as Bray. Steele’s versatility is apparent with his 962 yards rushing and 402 yards receiving with 26 total touchdowns. He’s complimented by No. 2 rusher Jonathan Alcala, who has now racked up 621 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.

However the secret is out on the Wildcat offense — stack the box and prepare to stop the run. Obviously that’s easier said than done. Taft runs the ball 87.1 percent of the time, but if you had Cody Shirreffs and the rest of his crew, you would too. Shirreffs has eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark with 2,110 and 22 touchdowns. But in addition to him, Brice Royal, Daniel Watts and Hunter Lijeroos each have more than 400 yards on the ground and the team as a whole averages 325.4 rushing yards per game.

(3) Liberty-Madera Ranchos (8-4, 3-3) at (1) Corcoran (9-3, 4-0)

Friday at 7 p.m.
Liberty-Madera Ranchos: 22.5 PFpg, 14.3 PApg
Corcoran: 30.0 PFpg, 14.8 PApg

On paper this one doesn’t even look close. If Liberty is going to be successful, it will need to limit Pete Armbruster and the Corcoran rushing attack.

Armbruster has picked up 1,304 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground this year and the entire team has 3,222 yards and 37 touchdowns.

But Liberty has a knack for winning tight games, now all it needs to do it keep it close.

CIF Central Section Championship
Friday, Dec. 11, 2009

Division I
(8) Centennial (9-4, 3-3) at (2) Bullard (12-0, 5-0), 7 p.m.
Division II
(5) Edison (9-4, 3-2) at (3) Frontier (11-1, 5-1), 7 p.m.
Division III
(3) Porterville (10-3, 5-1) at (1) Dinuba (10-2, 4-2), 7 p.m.
Division IV
(3) Taft (10-2, 4-1) at (1) Kingsburg (12-0, 6-0), 7 p.m.
Division V
(3) Liberty-Madera Ranchos (8-4, 3-3) at (1) Corcoran (9-3, 4-0), 7 p.m.

Central Valley Football » Bullard, Centennial, Corcoran, Dinuba, Edison, Frontier, High School Football, Kingsburg, Liberty-Madera Ranchos, Porterville, Taft, Tyler Bray » Week 14 Preview: Valley Championship

Filed under: Bullard, Centennial, Corcoran, Dinuba, Edison, Frontier, High School Football, Kingsburg, Liberty-Madera Ranchos, Porterville, Taft, Tyler Bray