HANFORD — It’ll be another exciting week of Friday night lights with Hanford and Sierra Pacific looking to continue their playoff runs in search of a Valley title.
In the CIF Central Section Division II bracket, 5-seed Hanford (8-3, 5-0 WYL) will face off against 4-seed Dinuba (8-2, 4-1 CSL) in a quarterfinals road game beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday.
The West Yosemite League champion Bullpups have been on a tear, winning six in a row with four of those contests by 19 points or more. In last week’s 40-21 victory over Sunnyside, the Bullpups completed a season-high in completions (15), had their second-best output in receiving yards (220) and fourth-best rushing performance (291). The team also had a season-best 511 total yards.
During their six-game winning streak the Bullpups are averaging 34.5 points per game, while only allowing 16.8 points per game.
More of the same is expected in Friday’s game, especially in the run game where the Bullpups average 42.8 carries per game and six yards per rush.
Dinuba has been on its own four-game winning streak during which they’ve averaged 47 points per game. The defense has given up 16.25 points per game, which means something will have to give.
They’re led by a more balanced offense averaging 15 pass attempts per game and just over 27 rushing attempts per game. They were the co-Central Sequoia League champions this season and last year’s Division II runner-up.
The CIF Central Section Division VI bracket will showcase 6-seed Sierra Pacific also in a road game after upsetting 3-seed Orosi, 28-14, last Friday night. Sierra Pacific (5-5, 3-3 ESL) will face 2-seed Orange Cove (10-1, 5-1 WSL) in the semifinals at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Before last week’s game, the Golden Bears had never defeated a team seeded higher than them in the playoffs. Now, they’ll have to do it two weeks in a row if they want to continue their season.
“It’s going to be a competitive game,” Sierra Pacific coach Dion Tate said. “I think it’s a very winnable game. It depends on our motivation going out.”
The Titans’ sport a 6-0 home record with their only blemish this season being a 35-0 loss to West Sequoia League champion Caruthers almost three weeks ago.
“When we scrimmaged them earlier in the year they’re a very tough team against the run,” Tate said. “Our philosophy is we just want to spread the ball around to our athletes.”
Orange Cove has had a turnaround year after winning only three games last season. They’re a run-heavy team averaging almost 30 rushing attempts per game and 7.8 yards per rush. The passing game only averages 8.9 completions per game, but when they do it’s for an average of 14.1 yards.
The plan is to play gap defense, while being aggressive. Tate said the team will take chances with run blitzes and play man-to-man on the outside at times.
“No disrespect to their receivers, but I don’t think they’re not what we have in the receiving core,” Tate said. “I think we can match them with our [defensive backs] … and focus on stopping the run. Let's go do it and get into that big game."