Man, oh, man I’m glad that’s over. No, not the first two weeks of the football season – that was fun and awesome and everything in between – but that dang blasted heat. That nuisance induced some major havoc all around the Central Valley, not only skyrocketing our PG&E bills into the stratosphere but caused the postponement and cancellation of some football games. All Kern County sports event on Friday, Sept. 1 were called off due to heat and air quality (including Clovis West’s game at Centennial, moved to Sept. 28), but Clovis Unified made the wise choice to straight-up cancel junior varsity football games.
Player safety is always priority No. 1 with not only students but athletes, so the choice was a relative easy one to cancel JV games. It was so hot that as I got out of my car in the parking lot of Veterans Memorial Stadium at 6:54 p.m. on Sept. 1 for the Bullard-Buchanan game, it was like walking into a vast sauna with a blast of hot air for good measure. I even saw a little boy who couldn’t have been more than 6 years old holding a sno cone as he watched it melt within seconds, a sea of red and blue syrup dripping into a puddle of sadness. Come on weather – think about the children! OK, I’m joking about the kid, but you get the picture – it was hot.
Speaking of football, what did the first two weeks tell us? First of all, the Central Grizzlies of the TRAC look downright legit – the defending league champs beat up on Bullard 44-0 and Sunnyside 56-6 behind the amazing play of junior quarterback Trent Tompkins. Clovis West lost a heartbreaker to Liberty in Week 1 but quarterback Dante Chachere answered some questions after replacing injured superstar Adrian Martinez by throwing for 372 yards, three touchdowns and adding a 56-yard touchdown run. Buchanan looked like a force, especially on the ground with Kendall Milton and Trevor Ervin in two big wins and Clovis went 1-1, with a shutout on the road and a tough one-point loss at home to Turlock.
Clovis North stood tall, coming back from down 19 points in the fourth quarter to stun Sunnyside 20-19 but then fell at Bellarmine Prep when the Bells came back to win in the fourth quarter. And Clovis East, who went 0-10 last season is still looking for a win after losing to St. Ignatius and Redwood in Visalia.
However, each game is a new beginning and every Friday night brings hope.
And of course, we can’t forget the other fall sports: girls volleyball and golf, cross country, boys and girls water polo and girls tennis. These sports will really start ramping up soon and there are many storylines to follow from our Clovis schools, including some top teams in the state. In fact, the Clovis West girls golf team has something’ special brewing, check it out below.
In the meantime, as we gaze upon our weather apps on our phones may we see numbers in the 90s with nary a 100 in sight. And, as always, stay cool Clovis.
High school football roundup
Clovis 27, Burbank 0
On the road, Clovis High’s defense stood tall with a shutout and senior quarterback Preston Mayer threw three touchdowns in his first varsity start for the Cougars, a 27-0 win over Burbank of Sacramento.
Overall, Mayer had 195 yards passing with two long touchdowns to Mikey Machado and one to Colton “Bubba” Byrd. As a team, the Cougars (1-0) rushed for 203 yards including a touchdown run by senior Cole Roberts.
Buchanan 48, Hanford 6
Much-heralded sophomore running back Kendall Milton wasted no time showing why he’s one of the top running backs not only in the Central Section but in the state, and a new starting quarterback made quite a first impression as the Bears started off slow but put it in gear and crushed Hanford 48-6 in a road game to open up their season.
Milton rushed for three touchdowns and caught one more, totaling 75 yards on 11 carries and senior Ty Hall made his first varsity start a memorable one by throwing for three scores including two to Jordan Huddleston.
Overall, Hall was 9-14 and 196 yards with no interceptions. Trevor Ervin scored a touchdown on the ground for the Bears.
Clovis East 0, St. Ignatius 7
Clovis East was shutout at home by St. Ignatius of San Francisco in head coach Ryan Reynolds’ coaching debut.
Turlock 14, Clovis 13
The Cougars rallied from a 14-0 deficit to score a touchdown with 1:03 left in the fourth quarter from a Payton Mayer pass to Cole Roberts, only to see their game-tying extra point attempt blocked by Turlock.
Cole Roberts scored the other touchdown on the ground.
Frustrating for Clovis was the fact that Turlock scored both of their touchdowns on the defensive side of the ball.
Bellarmine Prep 16, Clovis North 13
In Week 1, Clovis North roared back to beat Sunnyside with 20 straight points, but in Week 2 up at Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, it was the Broncos who were the ones who suffered the wrong end of a comeback.
The Broncos were up 6-3 at halftime and after Jackson Schultz scooped up a fumble and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown they lead 13-3. But the Bells scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the last coming with 3:24 left.
Redwood 36, Clovis East 14
Clovis East couldn’t hold on to a 14-7 first quarter lead, losing to Redwood 36-14 to remain winless on the season at 0-2.
Romello Knight led the Timberwolves with 126 yards on 24 carries and scored on a 15-yard touchdown run. Gerrard Mendez also scored on a 1-yard keeper.
Clovis West girls golf breaks Central Section record
The Clovis West girls team is already making history, and the best is sure to come.
On Aug. 28 with temperatures reaching as high as 111 degrees in Lemoore, the Golden Eagles shot a Central Section record 368 and individually placed 1-5 in the 10-team, 60-girl field.
Led by Madison Nii (68, four-under par), Aya Enkoji (73), Claire Shubin (74), Taylor Dufresne (76) and Kayla Terrey (77), they broke the previous record of 375 also by Clovis West at Madera Municipal GC in 2012. Sophomore Marissa Martinez shot an 85, but the score was not counted as only the top five scores count.
Head coach Ken Shipley notes that the players did an outstanding job managing the course and conditions and played steady, smart golf.
Here are some historical bit of information about their performance since girl’s golf moved to six girls playing and five scores counting for the team score in 2002:
* The lowest 18-hole girls’ score in the Central Section previously had been 375, they bettered that record by seven strokes.
* The lowest 18-hole girls’ score at Lemoore GC had been 385 by Clovis West in the 2014 Valley Championship, they bettered that score by 17 strokes.
* The lowest any individual Clovis West player had ever shot at Lemoore before Nii’s four-under 68 was even-par 72 by Katie Horsford in 2014.
* It was the first time any team in the Central Section had five scores of 77 or better.
Clovis Volleyball Challenge Champions
Three Clovis Unified schools participated in the massive Clovis Volleyball Challenge the weekend of Sept. 1-2 at Clovis High School.
Clovis North won the Silver division beating Centennial 25-18, 19-25, 17-15 and Clovis West took home the Bronze defeating Frontier 25-13, 25-18. Central won the Gold division, defeating Bakersfield Christian 25-21, 25-14. Clovis High lost to Central in the semi-finals in three sets.
League play begins on Sept. 26.