Buchanan finds passing game in huge win over Clovis

Sophomore Kendall Milton (2) rushed for 112 yards on only eight carries, including touchdown runs of 46 and 23 yards in Buchanan’s 55-21 win over Clovis to improve to 6-2 overall and 1-2 in league. (Photo courtesy of Eye For It All Photography)

It’s no secret Buchanan features a lethal one-two running back punch in Trevor Ervin and Kendall Milton, the top duo in not only the Central Section, perhaps the entire state as the two have combined for an eye-popping 32 touchdowns on the season.

But, at least on a chilly and windy night against Clovis at Lamonica Stadium on Oct. 20, the quarterback position countered with a one-two punch of their own as Ty Hall (208 yards, 3 TDs) and Carson Bailey (112, 2 TDs) helped the Bears light up the Cougars 55-21, a resounding answer after losing their first two league games to Central and Clovis West.

“We know we have a good offense, but to be a great offense we need to be balanced,” said Buchanan head coach Matt Giordano. “We know the steps we have to take and I thought both quarterbacks did really well tonight. I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

Hall, a senior in his first year as a starter, got the party started with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Vinny Ortiz early in the first quarter and an Ervin 2-point conversion run gave the Bears a 8-0 lead.

Clovis (5-3, 1-2) would hang tough in the first half as quarterback Jason Hunt ran for a 3-yard touchdown and connected with Michael Machado for a 6-yard score with 4:31 left in the half. In fact, Hunt would account for all three Cougar touchdowns, adding a 1-yard run with 38 seconds left in the third quarter.

However, the tide would turn favorably in Buchanan’s (6-2, 1-2) favor with eight seconds left in the half when Hall found an open Jack Wilkins down the right sideline for a 45-yard touchdown pass for a 22-14 halftime lead.

Wilkins would finish the biggest offensive game of his career with nine receptions for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Wilkins is also a standout defensive back.

Senior Jack Wilkins (23) exploded for nine receptions for 198 yards and two touchdowns in Buchanan’s blowout win over TRAC rival Clovis. (Photo courtesy of Eye For It All Photography)

“We’ve known he can be a threat all year,” said Giordano about Wilkins. “We see a great kid and a tremendous athlete – we have to start using weapons like him on both sides of the ball.”

It was last year against Clovis that Wilkins recorded four interceptions, a new school record (ironically held by Giordano, a 2001 graduate of Buchanan) that tied the Central Section record as well.

In the second half, Buchanan’s offense really came to life, outscoring Clovis 33-7 with a balanced attack, a stark difference compared to last week’s loss to Clovis West that saw the Bears get outscored 33-3.

“We had things clicking – that was fun,” said Wilkins. “We wanted to get back on track and show we could still pass the ball.”

Wilkins’ second touchdown catch, a 56-yarder with 10:42 left in the third quarter, gave the Bears a 29-14 lead, a play after Milton had a 48-yard scoring run wiped out by a penalty.

Even so, Milton (112 yards on eight carries) would once again prove his skill when he reeled off two highlight runs – a 46-yarder where he blasted up the middle, then bounced outside, and finally outran the Cougars defense down the left sideline. He then added a 23-yard run with 11:32 left in the game to make the score 48-21.

Bailey’s two touchdown passes were a 21-yard swing pass to Milton in the second quarter and a 39-yard strike to Jordan Huddleston in the fourth quarter for the game’s final score.

“We wanted to get aggressive with our game plan and get after it right from the start,” said Hall. “This is great for us, we’ll take this game and the next two games and build momentum into the playoffs.”

Buchanan senior Richie Medellin (3) tackles Clovis junior Reef Dove during the Bears first win over Clovis at Lamonica Stadium in eight years. (Photo courtesy of Eye For It All Photography)