Clovis North celebrates after their win over Buchanan on Nov. 4, raising high the Doc B Victory Bell. The win improved the Broncos overall record to 5-5 and 2-3 in league while the Bears fell to 6-4 and 2-3. [Photo by DeAnna Turner]
Daniel Leon | Editor
Despite trailing 14-0 midway through the third quarter, the Clovis North Broncos kept battling and eventually found their rhythm, scoring three unanswered touchdowns and holding off a late Buchanan rally to come out on top 21-14 in the regular season finale at Lamonica Stadium.
The win evened the Broncos overall season record at 5-5 and improved their TRAC record to 2-3. The Bears, with a win would have most likely earned a No. 5 seed in the Central Section playoffs due to their win over Clovis, fell to 6-4 overall and 2-3 in league.
“It was a big win for us,” said first-year Clovis North head coach Casey Quinn. “It was good to see us play four good quarters of football in all three phases. We gave up some big plays on defense, but other than that we played pretty well. Offensively, we started to run the ball to help us out and our quarterback [Brent Bailey] started making good decisions and we made the most of our opportunities.”
Facing a 4th-and-goal with over a minute left, the Bears looked to tie the game as Nolan LeForge threw it up on a corner fade to his receiver only to have Broncos’ standout cornerback Isaiah Cordova pick it off and seal the game.
“I pressed [the receiver] and bailed,” Cordova said. “I got my hands on him, stopped him on his route, messed up the timing and ended up getting the pick.”
Early on it was all Buchanan as the Bears got on the board in the second quarter after receiver Cornell Washington took a screen pass 62 yards to the house and again in the third after a Kendall Milton 14-yard rushing touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
But trailing by two scores late was only the beginning for Clovis North. In their first scoring drive, it was all Jordan Ayerza as the senior running back sparked the offense with a 41-yard run deep into Buchanan territory and a few plays later, punched it in from two yards out to put the Broncos on the board.
After forcing a Buchanan punt, Bailey drove the Broncos down the field, finishing the drive off with a nine-yard rushing touchdown on a read option to tie the game 14-14 with just over two minutes to go in the third.
“We fought a little bit harder,” said Bailey, the talented dual-threat quarterback. “When the score is that tight, you have to trust the system and I think we did that.”
Bailey continued to work his magic in the fourth, adding another rushing touchdown late on a designed quarterback draw to the left side, this time from 20 yards out, to break the tie and give Clovis North the lead.
“We just coached them up and told [our players] to be patient,” Quinn said. “We adjusted their eyes a little bit and made them believe in what we’re trying to do. And that’s what happened in the second half – we made great decisions and we got the ‘W.’”
Ayerza and Bailey combined for 200 rushing yards on 35 carries.
Bailey also completed 12-of-20 attempts for 141 yards.
“We were able to finish like we haven’t done this season,” Bailey said. “The first half was a little shaky but in the second half we trusted the system and kept going with it.”
Clovis North received the No. 6 seed in the playoffs and will play Frontier at Veterans Memorial Stadium, while Buchanan got the No. 7 seed and will play Bullard at Lamonica. Both games will be held on Thursday, Nov. 10.