Bears, Vikings to play in 87th meeting

In this Oct. 31, 2018 Enterprise Recorder file photo, Kingsburg defensive end Josh Jackson wraps up Selma quarterback Joey Ramirez during the third quarter of a Central Sequoia League game on Oct. 26. The Vikings won last season's meeting 49-14. 

In one of the Valley’s top games of the week, the 87th meeting between the Selma Bears and the Kingsburg Vikings will decide the 2019 Central Sequoia League champion, along with playoff seeding in their respective divisions.

The Vikings (9-0, 4-0 CSL) will look keep their perfect season alive while the Bears (8-1, 4-0 CSL) are seeking it’s fourth win in the past five years over their rival.

“I got a lot of respect for coach [Matt] Logue and what they do over there,” Kingsburg coach David Wilson said about Selma. “They’re a blue-collar group, they’re physical and they’re just like him. They really mirror coach Logue really well. They’re those lunch pale guys.”

The Vikings will bring in an explosive offense that is averaging 340.1 yards per game and they have gained at least 300 or more yards in six of the past seven games. As for their defense, the Vikings bring a physical unit that has held opponents to 8.5 points per game. The most a team has scored against them was 20. The defense has recorded three shutouts this season and there were four games that they didn’t allow a touchdown.

As for Selma, the Bears produce a wing-t offense that has rushed for 276.2 yards per game. Their defense has successfully stopped the run all year by allowing an average of 55.2 rush yards a game. Selma’s run defense will have a tough task ahead of them, as Kingsburg has rushed for 201.6 yards per game. As for their pass defense, the Bears have allowed an average of 161 yards through the air and have conceded only one 200 and 300-yard passer this season. Overall, the Bears have allowed 216.2 yards a game.

Both defenses have been opportunistic for their offenses this season. The Vikings have 21 takeaways compared to the Bears amount of 18. Kingsburg has a turnover margin of plus-9 while Selma is plus-4 in that category. Both defenses have recorded at least one takeaway in each game this season.

Since 2004, Kingsburg has a 12-3 advantage in the series including last year’s 49-14 victory, which broke a three-game losing streak.

This year’s matchup was slated to take place in Selma High’s newly renovated stadium, but due to ongoing construction, the game was moved to Reedley High School, a neutral site. The Bears will be the home team. 

“Playing at Reedley, I know it’s unfortunate for Selma, but for us it kind of gives you that conference championship feel playing at a neutral stadium,” Wilson said.

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Bears quarterback Joey Ramirez expects a raucous crowd on both sides of Sal Gonzalez Field, but he added that it’s vital for the team to maintain their focus throughout the night.

“It’s going to be a fun one,” Ramirez said after the team’s 35-3 win over Central Valley Christian. “The atmosphere is going to be high, we just have to prepare the right way. All week we’re going to be locked in. I got to hold guys accountable, as a quarterback, for everybody to show up on time in the morning and stay locked in throughout the week.”

Selma receiver/cornerback Aaron Blancas said execution on both sides will be their key to success.

“We’re going to prepare how we prepare for all the other teams,” Blancas said. “Our coach is going to give us the game plan, and we’re going to execute it at practice.”

According to MaxPreps, Selma is the No. 2 ranked team in Division IV and are one of four 8-1 teams in the division. The only team ahead of the Bears is Washington Union, who handed Selma its only loss (a 42-32 final) of the season. A win over Kingsburg will likely seal a top-two seed for the Bears.

“There’s more on the line than just trying to beat Kingsburg,” Logue said.

Not only are the Vikings playing for the league championship, they are vying for the top seed in Division III. MaxPreps currently ranks Kingsburg as the top team in its division. The Vikings are also the only undefeated team in the division.

Kickoff for the 87th Annual Battle of the Fire Extinguisher is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The junior varsity game is slated for a 5 p.m. start.

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The reporter can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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