Football Valley Championships Preview
Six valley high school football teams will become a part of history Friday night, as Central Section champions. Here's what's at stake in each title game.
Top seeded Clovis high is trying to complete a long awaited "drive for nine." The Cougars have won eight Valley titles, but the last came in 2002. Clovis will host second seeded Liberty, who lost in the championship game a year ago to Edison.
Lemoore will go on the road to try and win their second ever Valley title, 10 years after the first. In their last eight games, the Tigers are allowing an average of less than five points, but they play a Ridgeview team that scores more than 43 per game for the season, and is the only remaining unbeaten in the Central Section.
Second seeded Memorial is coming off a 19 point second half comeback in the semifinals, but they'll need to play two great halves to win their first Valley title in 12 years, and seventh overall. That's because top seeded Hanford scores a lot, and wins a lot. The Bullpups are the defending champions in basketball and football, and finding a groove here in the playoffs.
One of just two championship games that is not a 1 vs. 2 matchup. Third seeded Chowchilla has won five Valley titles all-time, and is 10-2 on the year, but one of those two losses came against Washington Union, this week's opponent. The Panthers are playing past Thanksgiving for the first time since their state title in 2011. Washington Union's won six Valley titles all-time, and have won nine of 10 after an 0-2 start.
Seventh seeded Mendota will be trying for their third upset in as many weeks, and their first D-V Valley title. The Aztecs won back-to-back in D-VI in 2011 and 12. Awaiting Mendota is top seeded Immanuel. The Eagles already beat the Aztecs once this season, and will be hungry - it's been 10 years since they won their eighth Valley title, and Immanuel lost at home in this game a year ago.
A rematch of last year's championship game between Avenal and Kennedy. The Thunderbirds topped the Buccaneers last year, 41-20.
UPDATE: An earlier version listed incorrectly Mendota as winning three straight Valley titles from 2011-13.