High School Football

Julian A. Lopez: Big Valley clinches share of league title, big week ahead in area

Clinching a share of a league title is one thing.

Winning it outright is another.

That was the thought of Big Valley Christian coach Brian Berkefeld after his Lions clinched at least a share of the Central California Athletic Alliance title with a 42-18 win over Brookside Christian on Friday.

“The next step is to take care of business next week,” said Berkefeld, whose school last won a conference football title in 2007.

Big Valley Christian hosts Sierra Ridge Academy next week.

On Friday, junior running back Javyn Drobnick had 342 rushing yards and four touchdowns and now has 1,890 yards this season, breaking Vito Merritt’s school-record of 1,631 which was set in 2016.

“I knew how many yards he needed (80 entering Friday),” Berkefeld said. “We brought it up in the locker room after the game. We don’t talk about stats during the game.”

The Lions only led 14-12 after the first quarter as it took “a while” to figure out the Knights on defense, Berkefeld said.

The offensive line made some big adjustments and Big Valley outscored Brookside 28-6 in the final three quarters.

Three league titles on the line next week

Is there a way to be at three games at once? The final week of the regular season is highlighted by three great games.

In the Central California Athletic League on Friday, Pitman (9-0, 4-0) and Turlock (6-3, 4-0) will battle in the Harvest Bowl for the Central California Athletic League title. Both the Bulldogs and Pride have combined to win six of their eight league games by double-digits. Pitman hasn’t beaten Turlock since 2013.

Two familiar foes face off at The Corral when Oakdale (7-2, 4-1) hosts Central Catholic (8-1, 5-0) in Valley Oak League play. The Raiders will be looking for revenge after falling to Oakdale at home in the final game of the regular season last year.

Central Catholic clinches the league title outright but if Oakdale wins, there could be a three-way tie if Manteca (6-3, 4-1) beats East Union.

Finally, Modesto Christian (9-0, 5-0) hosts Ripon (8-1, 4-1). If the Crusaders win, they clinch the Trans-Valley League outright but if the Indians upset Modesto Christian, both teams share the TVL title.

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Private schools dominance

Four area private schools have combined to go 34-2 this year and all currently lead their respective leagues. Central Catholic (8-1) is at the top of the VOL standings, Modesto Christian (9-0) leads the TVL, Ripon Christian (9-0) is dominating the Southern League, and Big Valley Christian (8-1) is at the top of the CCAA standings.

The schools have combined to win 17 league games by at least double-digits.

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