When Buchanan’s athletes come out and play they are a fun group to watch, able to beat anyone in the Central Section.
When they are all clicking as a unit, they are downright dangerous.
The Bears showed just how much of a threat they are in a 28-7 win over Clovis as star running back Kendall Milton scored three touchdowns and their stout defense played shoutout football for the first three quarters at Veterans Memorial Stadium to move to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in league while Clovis fell to 5-3 and 1-2.
“We are blessed with so many athletes. We have to figure out ways to get them the football,” Buchanan coach Matt Giordano said. “I wish there were two footballs but there is only one.”
Milton, the 5-star junior running back, would score the first of his three touchdowns with 16 seconds left in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
After a Buchanan interception by Mark Green with 2:57 left in the half, Jalen Cropper, a speedster who recently landed an offer from Nebraska, lined up at quarterback and rushed up the middle from 15-yards out for a touchdown with 1:43 left in the half.
On Buchanan’s first drive of the second half, Milton went in for an easy 5-yard touchdown run on the outside, one play after sophomore quarterback D.J. Stevenson found Cropper down field for an acrobatic catch as he was falling down at the five yard line.
Milton scored his third touchdown of the game, and his 16th of the season, on a 1-yard plunge at the start of the fourth quarter for a 28-0 lead.
“It feels good, I felt like I had no setbacks and I was able to show my capability,” said Milton who has been nursing an injured ankle all season and finished with 135 yards on 22 carries. “There’s nothing else to do but score so that’s the mindset.”
Giordano was certainly impressed with his defense, charged with the task of slowing down a good Cougar passing attack.
“I’m proud of how hard we played,” Giordano said. “You have to tip your hat to a great quarterback [Clovis’ Isaiah Robles] and coach Rich Hammond who runs a great offense.”
Robles, a junior who came in averaging 220 passing yards per game, was able to drive the Cougars down the field in the first half using a variety of receivers in Reef Dove, Grant Lake and Matthew Sanchez.
However, Buchanan would stymie the Cougars offense three times inside the 20-yard line in the first half, once on a missed field goal on the Cougars first drive and twice on fourth down.
“Defensively we played with poise that first half and they didn’t panic,” Giordano added. “It starts with great players and great coaches, and we are blessed to have both at Buchanan.”
Giordano praised the effort of defensive lineman Reece Bacon, Chase Bibler and Tidus Lo, coached by Chris Bessinger.
“Our coaches told us that we were not going to get out-physicaled tonight,” said Bacon the 5-foot-10, 185 pound senior who recorded three sacks. “Just play with heart and do the best that you can and you’ll like the outcome.”
With 9:09 left in the game Clovis got on the board when Robles found Dove, who finished with seven catches for 141 yards, on a short crossing route and turned on the afterburners down the left sideline to bring the score to 28-7.
Clovis takes on Clovis North and Clovis West to finish league while Buchanan finishes with Clovis East and Clovis North before playoffs.