In the first half of the season opener at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium on Aug. 25, it was the Sunnyside Wildcats who did all the laughing and celebrating. Meanwhile, the Clovis North football team was desperate to erase a 19-0 halftime deficit.
“When we were walking up, we saw Sunnyside joking around. They were pretty much just having fun and we were mad,” said junior running back Jackson Schultz. “We got into the locker room and we were like, ‘We gotta show up.’ We were projected to win by like 16. We were not showing up that in the first half.”
Schultz played a major role in helping the Broncos come from behind to win 20-19 against the Wildcats. He scored his only touchdown of the game on an 8-yard-run with 6:31 left in the fourth quarter, giving the Broncos the lead for good.
“I saw my lineman reaching out, made some blocks and it was pretty much like the Red Sea. I just saw a wide open touchdown and ran into it,” Schultz said.
But it was the Broncos’ defense which initiated the comeback, first with a fumble recovery to begin the second half, then with an interception by senior Derrick Bell later in the third quarter.
“We’re never going to give up,” Broncos’ head coach Benny Martinez said. “We just needed a few good things to happen to us and keep our toughness up.”
The Broncos’ offense finally found its groove when Bell caught a short pass from DJ Frampton and scampered for 33-yards to the end zone.
“When I threw that first touchdown, it made my mental state just come around and get the old me going,” Frampton said. “We turned it up in the second half, made some plays, made some touchdowns.”
The Broncos closed the gap to 19-14 when Frampton found Brendan Bechtel for an 11-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter.
“In the first half, we were really choppy. I was seeing guys everywhere. I forgot my mental state,” Frampton said. “After the half, we went in the locker room and we went over our plays and we went over the defense. Then we just applied that on the field.”
The Broncos had been hyped up for the season opener long before the kickoff. In fact, they might have been too hyped up.
“We were so amped up for the game, the boys might have been a little lackadaisical,” Martinez said.
The players wanted to dedicate the win to Martinez, who took the field for the first time as the Broncos’ head coach. But Martinez said it was a special night for everybody involved.
“We’ve been counting down the days for 171 days. That’s what makes it special,” he said. “Our football team and our kids are pretty tight. It’s special for them.”
With a record of 1-0, the Broncos will travel to San Jose to face Bellarmine College Prep on Friday, Sept. 1.