A bat­tle of the un­beaten: Teams ready for 2-A prep show­down

The Fresno Bee - - Front Page - BY AN­THONY GALAVIZ [email protected]­nobee.com

Many are call­ing Satur­day night’s San Joaquin Me­mo­ri­alTu­lare Union high school foot­ball play­off the Val­ley Bowl and have pointed to this matchup all sea­son.

Each team brings a 13-0 record and back-to-back Cen­tral Sec­tion cham­pi­onships into the CIF North­ern Cal­i­for­nia Divi­sion 2-A fi­nal at 6 p.m. Satur­day at Bob Mathias Sta­dium.

They’re meet­ing for the first time since 2004, sta­dium pub­lic ad­dress an­nouncer Harry Kar­ge­nian said. Memo­rial won that game 34-24 on a Black Fri­day af­ter­noon in the sec­tion play­offs.

That’s a long time to foster a ri­valry, but one be­gan brew­ing last sea­son when Tu­lare Union rolled to the sec­tion D-II ti­tle while San Joaquin Memo­rial was knock­ing off Tu­lare West­ern to win D-III. This sea­son, Tu­lare Union and Memo­rial stayed in their re­spec­tive di­vi­sions and rolled, mak­ing the re­gional the only place for a show­down.

“The en­tire Val­ley has been wait­ing for this like for two years,” Memo­rial se­nior quar­ter­back Alec Tru­jillo said. “A lit­tle bit brag­ging rights here and there. I’ve got noth­ing but re­spect for all those guys over there.”

In 2017, both teams were ousted in the re­gional fi­nals. Serra-San Ma­teo de­feated host Tu­lare Union 76-43 in NorCal D-2AA and Memo­rial fell 31-28 to South­west El Cen­tro in SoCal D-4A.

Satur­day’s win­ner ad­vances to face Lawn­dale in the state cham­pi­onship game Dec. 15, 4 p.m. at Cer­ri­tos Col­lege.

Also Satur­day, Cen­tral Val­ley Chris­tian plays at Pleas­ant Val­ley-Chico for the state 4-AA cham­pi­onship. Strath­more has a bye be­fore play­ing Dec. 15 in the state 6-AA fi­nal.


Memo­rial and Tu­lare Union bring a lot of star power, par­tic­u­larly Tru­jillo and Tribe quar­ter­back Nathan Lamb who have each passed for more than 10,000 yards in their ca­reer, ac­cord­ing to sec­tion his­to­rian Bob Bar­nett.

Tu­lare Union se­nior wide re­ceiver/cor­ner­back Randy Jor­dan Jr., who’s com­mit­ted to Fresno State, is ready to get go­ing.

“It’s brag­ging rights,” he said. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s go­ing to be a big game. It’s go­ing to be a mat­ter of who out­smarts one an­other and does their job ev­ery time. Our de­fense will have to come and play.”

Jor­dan said, “it will be a bat­tle of the of­fenses” and he ex­pects it to be a shootout.

The Pan­thers have two deep threats in wide re­ceivers Jalen McMil­lan and Josh Kelly.

“The schools are un­de­feated … state re­gional cham­pi­onship. Who wouldn’t want to see it?” McMil­lan said.

“We wanted this game,” Kelly said. “I’m pretty sure they wanted this game. Now that we got it, we have to go out there and show out.”

Tu­lare Union se­nior run­ning back/de­fen­sive back David Dai­ley said the mes­sage from coach Dar­ren Ben­nett this week is to “out­work them.”

“It’s the game most peo­ple in the Val­ley wanted to see,” Dai­ley said. “I be­lieve peo­ple in the state wanted it, too. We never re­ally got to play each other. They have a lot of (col­lege-cal­iber) D-I guys and we have D-I guys … it’s just a mat­ter of who goes out there and works harder.”

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA [email protected]­nobee.com

San Joaquin Memo­rial quar­ter­back Alec Tru­jillo looks to pass against Bak­ers­field Chris­tian at the Cen­tral Sec­tion D-III cham­pi­onship game Nov. 23 in Fresno.

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