Central Section 2021 high school football preview: Top 10 teams, players to watch, top games

The fall 2021 CIF Central Section high school football season has arrived, and there are are multiple storylines to follow. From big games to top players, here’s everything you need to know about Central Section football heading into the season.

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-CENTRAL SECTION TEAM | TOP 50 TEAM PREVIEWS | TOP 25 STATEWIDE RANKINGS

REIGNING CHAMPIONS

Due to COVID-19, there were no football championships held anywhere in the state in 2020. Therefore the reigning champions are from 2019.

  • 2019 Division 1 champion: Central
  • 2019 Division 2 champion: San Joaquin Memorial
  • 2019 Division 3 champion: Bakersfield Christian
  • 2019 Division 4 champion: Selma
  • 2019 Division 5 champion: Caruthers
  • 2019 Division 6 champion: Bishop Union
  • 2019 8-man champion: Mojave

TOP 10 TEAMS

10. Clovis West: The Timberwolves have a good chance to position themselves for the playoffs before finishing the regular season against the section’s top three teams.

9. Centennial (Bakersfield): The Golden Hawks will want to take advantage of the non-league slate of games before diving into the competitive Southwest Yosemite League.

8. Frontier: After an excellent junior campaign, Vincent Igoa returns under center for the Titans.

7. Bullard: The Knights wide receiver trio of Daizon Allen, Jalyn Utendahl, and Jayden Davis is the best in the Central Section.

6. Garces Memorial: The Rams took their lumps against a tough schedule in the spring but will be in good hands with running back Ian Jernigan returning.

5. San Joaquin Memorial: The Grizzlies return 14 starters led by Washington commit TJ Hall. Mikey Bell returns to play quarterback after opting to play baseball during the spring season.

4. Liberty (Bakersfield): The Patriots have a great group of two-way players led by standout Jason Oliver.

3. Central: The Grizzlies will be dominant up front and add junior quarterback Daytona Tafoya from Clovis West.

2. Clovis: Utah commit Nate Johnson is poised for a huge season as one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the country. The Cougars add two-way standout Carlos Mack to the mix.

1.Buchanan: The Bears look to continue their dominant play from the spring, likely battling Clovis and Central for the Tri-River Championship.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

We released our preseason All-Central Section team earlier this week. Clovis had a Section-high seven players selected.

TOP 10 REGULAR SEASON GAMES

FULL CENTRAL SECTION SCHEDULE

Aug. 27: Bullard @ Buchanan

Aug. 27: Paraclete @ Garces-Memorial

Sep. 10: St. Joseph @ Centennial (Bakersfield)

Sep. 11: Garces-Memorial @ San Joaquin Memorial

Sep. 17: Liberty (Bakersfield) @ Chaminade

Oct. 1: Clovis @ Central

Oct. 7: Central @ Buchanan

Oct. 8: San Joaquin Memorial @ Bullard

Oct. 8: Garces-Memorial @ Frontier

Oct. 15: Buchanan @ Clovis

Oct. 22: Clovis @ Clovis East

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