SSL Ramblings ...
Arvin Invades the Mountain
Playoff Brackets Announced This Week

Posted by on November 11, 2008

It's a great feeling when you get down to the final week of the regular season and there is still a meaningful reason to be playing. For the Warriors --- there are lots of reasons. First, they still have a shot at a tri-championship for the South Sequoia League title. But they need help. They need Taft to upset Bakersfield Christian --- and that's certainly a possibility. The Warriors also need to take care of business by knocking off a pesky Arvin team.

Secondly, the Warriors have a great opportunity to defend their CIF Division III championship. The seeding will be very important as it will dictate the opportunities that the Warriors will have to play at home. Historically, the Warriors have had a decisive advantage playing at home during the playoffs in late November - early December. The playoff brackets will be announced this weekend from the CIF offices in Porterville. Look for Hanford (8-1) to emerge as the #1 seed in Division III.

Around the SSL ... Arvin Comes To The Mountain Friday Night

The Warriors will play host to the Arvin Bears this Friday night at Coy Burnett Field. Arvin comes into the contest with an overall 4-5 record; 2-2 in SSL play.

Arvin too is playing for a potential tri-championship, if they can defeat the Warriors, and if Taft can upset Bakersfield Christian. Like the Warriors, Arvin has lost a lot of close games this season, including a 1 point loss to Highland, and a 2 point loss to Taft. Arvin had a very tough pre-league schedule, including a quality 30-29 win over Foothill, and a 17-10 win over Burroughs (a team that beat Tehachapi).

The Bears are led by #7 quarterback Noel Lopez who will both pass and call his own number on the run. He leads the team in passing yards and in rushing yards. Arvin will be tough --- and the Warriors know it.

The Warriors lead the overall series, 13-4, but have lost two of the past three games. Arvin last won an SSL championship in 2006. Arvin is the largest school in the SSL with over 2,000 students and will enter the CIF central section playoffs in Division IV.

Of course Bakersfield Christian will will be IN Taft this Friday giving the Wildcats a little advantage. However, nobody is stopping the high flying Eagle offense led by quarterback Derek Carr and a host of talented receivers. Carr set a central section passing record last week by throwing for 544 yards (37-44) against Arvin. Hopefully, Taft coach Steve Sprague can devise a game plan to keep Carr and the Eagle offense off the field. The one bad feather for the Eagles is a defense that gives up a lot of yards and points to opposing teams.

And finally, the long and storied rivalry between Shafter and Wasco will round out the schedule this week. Wasco should pick up a win in this contest --- but you never know when these two get together.

Strauss Set To Break 3,000 Yard Rushing Mark For Warriors ...

Senior running back Josh Strauss is on a path to break the magical 3,000 yard career rushing mark for the Warriors this week against Arvin. Strauss, currently sitting at 2,966 yards, needs just 34 yards to become just the sixth Warrior running back in school history to go over 3,000 yards.

Patrick Snyder (1984-85) is sitting at #6 with 2,967 yards; #5 Tanner Hutchinson (2002-03) has 3,141 yards; and #4 Eric Young (1989-90) ran for 3,188 yards. The all-time Warrior rushing record belongs to Kurt Liebengood (1992-94) with 3,794 yards.

Strauss should take great pride in knowing his name will be etched amongst the best Warrior running backs of all-time.

Josh Strauss Varsity Career Rushing Statistics

GCar  YdsTD
200611  73   641 11
200713167   989  8
2008  91461,336 11
Totals333862,966 30

Playoff Brackets To Be Released This Weekend By The CIF Central Section ...

It's a great time of year when playoff football begins --- especially if your favorite team is in the thick of things. For Warriors fans, it should be interesting to see what kind of respect the Warriors receive in the bracketing, given the fact they are the defending DIII champions, and the fact they've been playing well in the past few weeks. An Arvin win is critical to keep this argument strong.

As we reported last week, there will be a maximum of 15 teams eligible for the Division III tournament. We expect the Hanford Bullpups (8-1) to receive the #1 seed. Hanford lost their first game of the season last Friday to El Diamante (8-1). The El D Miners are the defending DII champions and will battle with undefeated Tulare and highly touted Edison High of Fresno for the section championship.

Yosemite, Highland, Foothill, Golden Valley, and Delano will all be looking to win this weekend to solidify their chances for a high seed in the Division III tournament.

Division IV is loaded with good teams this year including undefeated Exeter (9-0), Chowchilla (8-1), Kingsburg (8-1), CVC-Visalia, Selma, Kerman, Taft, and Arvin.

In Division V, San Joaquin Valley fans are looking for undefeated Corcoran (9-0) to meet Bakersfield Christian (8-1) in the finals. Talented Mission Prep (8-0) and Fowler (8-1) could provide an upset in this division though.

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