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Central Section Top 15 high school football rankings from SBLive Sports/Sports Illustrated (10-23-2023)

Frontier moves into No. 2 spot after breaking Liberty's 26-game league winning streak

Down the stretch they come. It’s hard to believe there’s only one remaining week in the regular season before playoffs commence.

Undefeated Clovis North (9-0, 4-0) holds strong at the top spot in our Central Section Fab 15 after beating Buchanan 28-3, setting up a huge showdown Thursday against No. 3 Central (7-2, 3-1), who took down No. 8 Clovis West 27-15.

And how about that thriller in Bakersfield? Frontier broke Liberty’s stronghold in league play with a 25-20 win, ending the Patriots’ 26-game league winning streak. The Titans move up to No. 2 this week.

No. 5 Clovis East and No. 6 Sanger won handily and No. 7 Clovis and No. 8 Clovis West, who both lost last week) clash this Friday in a huge rivalry matchup.

No. 9 Central Valley Christian upended Washington Union 42-24 and No. 10 Hanford squeaked out a 35-34 win over Mission Oak.

1. Clovis North (9-0)

Last week rank: 1

Last week: Defeated Buchanan 28-3

Next game: Thursday home against Central

Jackson Cinfel rushed for 137 yards with two touchdowns and the defense held Buchanan out of the end zone to win 28-3 and remain perfect on the season. Mario Cosma completed 7-8 passes for 107 yards with a touchdown pass to Vincent Cordoba and Mckay Madsen added a TD on the ground. Thursday night is the big one at home against Central for the Tri-River Athletic Conference title.

2. Frontier (9-0)

Last week rank: 4

Last week result: Defeated Liberty 25-20

Next game: Thursday home against Centennial

Kobie Watson caught the go-ahead 50-yard touchdown pass in the 4th quarter and his game-sealing interception helped the Titans defeat Liberty, their first win over the Patriots in 11 years. Malakhi Stater passed for 268 yards, Brady Durkan scored twice on the ground and Brycen Tabit scored on a 90-yard run.

3. Liberty-Bakersfield (7-2)

Last week rank: 2

Last week: Lost to Frontier 25-20

Next game: Friday at Bakersfield

Liberty’s 26-game league winning streak came to an end in a 25-20 loss to Frontier at home. Mekhi Delouth ran for touchdowns of 7 and 26 and caught a 60-yard TD pass from Clay Turk, who started instead of Cole O’Brien who was out with a shoulder injury.

4. Central (7-2)

Last week rank: 6

Last week result: Defeated Clovis West 27-15

Next game: Thursday at Clovis North

Quarterback David Marquez rushed for two touchdowns and passed for 247 yards as the Grizzlies outscored the Golden Eagles 13-0 in the 4th quarter in a 27-15 win. Braylen Hall caught eight passes for 196 yards and Jamari Carter returned an interception 55 yards for a score. Thursday is the big one when they visit undefeated Clovis North for the Tri-River Athletic Conference title.

5. Clovis East (7-2)

Last week rank: 7

Last week result: Defeated Clovis 49-34

Next game: Friday at Buchanan

Ty Miller threw six touchdowns and passed for 382 yards as the Timberwolves bounced back after a loss to Central in a 49-34 win over Clovis. Tommy Nix had a kick-off return for a touchdown and added 155 receiving yards and 3 TDs. Harold Duvall had four catches for 185 yards and three TDs.

6. Sanger (8-1)

Last week rank: 3

Last week result: Defeated Bullard 42-14

Next game: Friday home against San Joaquin Memorial

Isaiah Robles rushed 18 times for 209 yards and two touchdowns as the Apaches quickly turned a 14-7 lead into a 42-14 win over Bullard. Bryson Baker rushed for two scores and sophomore Carlos Young busted loose for a 61-yard TD run.

7. Clovis (6-3)

Last week rank: 5

Last week result: Lost to Clovis East 49-34

Next game: Friday home against Clovis West

Deagan Rose rushed for three touchdowns and passed for two but it wasn’t enough as the Cougars fell 49-34 to Clovis East. Rose, a sophomore who holds multiple college D1 offers, threw for 179 yards and TD passes to Jacob Saldate and Tyler Cheney.

8. Clovis West (5-4)

Last week rank: 8

Last week result: Lost to Central 27-15

Next game: Friday at Clovis

Tyler Patrick threw two touchdown passes to Washington State commit Landon Wright in the second quarter to lead 15-14 but the Golden Eagles fell to Central 27-15 at home. Clovis West will play rival Clovis at Lamonica Stadium on Friday.

9. Central Valley Christian (8-1)

Last week rank: 9

Last week result: Defeated Washington Union 42-24

Next game: Friday at Immanuel

Bryson Donelson rushed for 183 yards and four touchdowns and added a TD reception as the Cavaliers raced past Washington Union 42-24. Brent Kroeze passed for 174 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Cayden Ritchie.

10. Hanford (8-1)

Last week rank: 10

Last week result: Defeated Mission Oak 35-34

Next game: Friday home against Lemoore

Daniel Gomez threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns and the defense stopped the Hawks on a 2-point conversion late in the 4th quarter in a 35-34 win over Mission Oak. Zephaniah Sesay caught two touchdowns and Jordan Black and Teveon Patterson each caught one. They’ll take on Lemoore on Friday for the West Yosemite title.

11. Lemoore (7-2)

Last week rank: 12

Last week result: Defeated Tulare Western 29-0

Next game: Friday at Hanford

Dameon Hernandez rushed for two touchdowns and the Tigers’ defense recovered three fumbles and shutout Tulare Western 29-0. Elijah Daley and Terren McCoy also scored on the ground. They’ll be at No. 10 Hanford this Friday.

12. Arroyo Grande (8-1)

Last week rank: No. 13

Last week result: Defeated Santa Ynez 56-24

Next game: Friday home against Paso Robles

Sam Wullf threw three touchdowns and Caleb Clark caught two TDs and returned a punt for a touchdown as the Eagles cruised to a 56-24 win against Santa Ynez. Junior Herlihy rushed for two touchdowns.

13. St. Joseph (7-2)

Last week rank: 11

Last week result: Defeated Lompoc 36-0

Next game: Friday home against Mission Prep

Carter Vargas scored twice on the ground with runs of 2 and 29 yards and the Knights’ defense shut out Lompoc 36-0. Nick Matautia ran for a score and tossed a TD to Caleb Murawski.

14. Shafter (9-0)

Last week rank: 14

Last week: Defeated Kennedy 28-21

Next game: Friday Oct. 20 at Kennedy

Down 21-7 in the middle of the third quarter the Generals scored 21 straight points to beat Kennedy 28-21 on the road. Ezekiel Osborne tossed a 75-yard TD to Mariyon Sloan and a 67-yard TD to Jesus Figeuroa before Sloan’s game-winning TD run from two yards out with under a minute left to play.

15. Garces (4-5)

Last week rank: Not ranked

Last week result: Defeated Centennial 10-6

Next game: Thursday at Stockdale

Shut out at half, the Rams’ Gunter Golla threw a TD pass to Nathaniel Wallace in the 3rd quarter and Julian Struzyna kicked a field goal in the 4th to beat Centennial 10-6. The defense recovered three fumbles and intercepted two passes.