Broncos handle Frontier in playoff opener

A pair of Broncos make a tackle by No. 55 John Halajian and No. 32 Noah Haupt. The Broncos travel to face No. 3 Liberty on Friday, Nov. 18. [Photo by DeAnna Turner]

Clovis North's Adam Abajian scores on a 40-yard interception return in the Broncos 49-12 victory over Frontier in the opening round of the playoffs. [Photo by DeAnna Turner]
Clovis North’s Adam Abajian scores on a 40-yard interception return in the Broncos 49-12 victory over Frontier in the opening round of the playoffs. [Photo by DeAnna Turner]
By Daniel Leon | Editor
@ClovisRoundup

The Clovis North Broncos had their way with Frontier from the start and never let their foot off the gas pedal, dominating the Titans 49-12 in the opening round of the Central Section Division I playoffs Thursday night at Lamonica Stadium.

No. 6 seed Clovis North (6-5) entered the first-round showdown with a bit of momentum on its side with coming off a come-from-behind win over TRAC rival Buchanan last week, in which its offense played a key role. And that same offense picked up where it left off as the Broncos used a balanced attack to wear down the Titans and keep them guessing.

“We were able to throw the football, run the football, and just move the chains.” said Clovis North head coach Casey Quinn. “We continued to build off what we did last week. It feels good when our kids execute, do a good job and believe in what we were doing, especially after a short week of practice”

The Broncos established the tone in the first quarter that would carry out the rest of the game. A 1-yard rushing touchdown by sadnout senior quarterback Brent Bailey got things going followed by an explosive 55-yard run from sophomore running back Brock Jones and capped with a Chad Fugman 25-yard touchdown catch from Bailey to put the Broncos up 21-0, a lead they would carry over into halftime.

Clovis North senior Chad Fugman reels in a touchdown pass thrown by quarterback Brent Bailey in the Broncos first round playoff win against Frontier. [Photo by DeAnna Turner]
Clovis North senior Chad Fugman reels in a touchdown pass thrown by quarterback Brent Bailey in the Broncos first round playoff win against Frontier. [Photo by DeAnna Turner]
“Our offensive line – credit them 100 percent – did an awesome job blocking the whole time,” Bailey said. “We just all clicked and went with the system.”

But Bailey and the Broncos didn’t let up, adding another 28 points to the scoreboard in the second half which saw a Jordan Ayerza 1-yard run, a pair of Bailey rushing touchdowns and a 40-yard interception return by defensive end Adam Abajian.

The Titans eventually got on the board midway through the third quarter when senior Orion Pitkanen connected with Marcus Cornfold on a fade to the corner of the end zone for the 8-yard score.

Frontier struck again in the fourth with a similar fade play to Cornfold, this time from 14 yards out.

Bailey accounted for 316 all-purpose yards and four total touchdowns with three of those coming on the ground. He finished with 242 passing yards on 10-19 attempts.

Ayerza led all rushers with 17 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown.

Up next, the No. 6-seeded Broncos travel to Bakersfield Friday, Nov. 18 to take on the defending Division I champion Liberty Patriots (7-3) who had a first round bye.

“We feel pretty good [heading into next week],” Quinn said. “They’re a good football team and they’re well coached. Coach [Bryan] Nixon does a great job with his club and you can tell his kids play hard – they believe in their school and love playing for him. It’s going to be exciting – our kids are excited about going to Round 2.”