FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Before long it'll be fall nights, frigid temps and football.
As we look across the local landscape for high school football, the first question needing an answer is how Tulare Union responds after losing Kazmeir Allen. Cal High's athlete of the year broke the single-season touchdown record and led The Tribe to a D-II championship.
So who are the favorites in Fresno?
A year removed from a three-point loss at state, the San Joaquin Memorial Panthers return plenty of playmakers including Alec Truijilo, Leonard Glass, and Jalen McMillan.
"We know we're talented," said 15-year coach Anthony Goston. "We know we have a lack of depth but what can we do to make sure this team fulfills its mission?"
The mission of the 2018 Buchanan Bears: get back to the Valley Championship.
"It's not about one guy it's about one team, and it's always next man up no matter who they are so we're thankful for every person on this team," said 3rd-year coach Matt Giordano.
It'll take a team, but Sanger transfer Jalen Cropper and five-star back Kendall Milton could be the playmakers needed to get the Bears over the hump.
"Senior leadership in the past has not been there, and this year we have players, and we just want to win," said Tanner Blunt, Bears senior SS/RB. "Last year losing the valley championship, so we have that to drive on."
But like in recent years, the road to a D-I title looks to go through Central.
"Winning valley, going to state and coming into this year it's like an expectation," said Trent Tompkins, the Grizzlies senior quarterback. "I feel like the tide's kind of changed."
Last season the Grizzlies won their first ever section title before falling short at state. "We'd never been there before," said 3rd-year coach Kyle Biggs. ?"We won a valley championship, and we celebrated, and we didn't know what to expect. Now we do."
So who will be the teams left standing at the end of the year? Hopefully like our changing temps, the answer will be here soon.
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