Photo by Nick Baker – Clovis High’s Coltin Velasquez leaps for a fourth quarter touchdown thrown by teammate Sean Kuenzinger in the City’s 27-0 win over the County.
By Paul Meadors Sports Editor
The City/County All-star games are one last high school hurrah for just-graduated high school seniors. For some, it’s simply a time to get together one last time to represent their high school before they play in college. But for others, the game marks the end of their playing career, a symbolic event in a sport they poured their heart, mind and soul in. Here are summaries of the games we attended with focus on players representing the Tri-River Athletic Conference.
Football: City 27 County 0
The City pitched their first shutout in 20 years as they rolled past an undermanned Country team 27-0 on Friday, June 17 at Lamonica Stadium thanks to the play of some of the best football players in the TRAC.
Clovis East star quarterback Trey Semien made his presence known in the second quarter when he scrambled left and threw a 48-yard strike to Memorial receiver Chris Paz to increase the City’s lead to 20-0.
It was a play indicative of a high school all-star game as Semien, who’s attending Fresno City College to play basketball, told his receivers to “just run down field.” He happened to find Paz open enough to look like they knew exactly what they were doing.
And the Clovis High connection of Sean Kuenzinger to Coltin Velasquez had one last hurrah as the all-TRAC quarterback found the all-TRAC receiver for a 7-yard fade in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 27-0.
“It was beautiful, and felt good,” said Kuenzinger who along with Velasquez is attending Fresno City College. “I told Coach to run fade and that will be a touchdown. I put a good touch on the ball and he went up and made a great play.”
Adding to the fun on the field is playing with guys the Cougars competed against during their high school careers.
“The last two weeks have been awesome, I got to build a better bond with players that I always hear about in the paper and on social media,” continued Kuenzinger. “It was cool to bond with them and play with them and see how they work.”
The same goes for Clovis North two-way star and TRAC Defensive Player of the Year Jayson Lee.
“It was good strapping it up one more time, you see a lot of competition especially at practice,” said Lee who’s leaving in mid-July to play football at Cal-Poly. “It was a fun game.”
Boys basketball: North 109 South 85
In the midst of different format (four games total, broken up North/South, East/West) the North squad ran the south team out of the gym in the 109-85 victory behind the Clovis North duo of Jahvon Johnson and Jonah Brown at Fresno City College.
In a year where Johnson and Brown led the Broncos to a TRAC title and a birth in the D-1 Valley title game, they shined bright, scoring 21 and 15 points respectively.
Clovis East shooting guard Trey Semien, who made Cal-Hi Sports honorable mention list for all-state and also threw a touchdown in the City/County football game, scored 11 points. Johnson was also named the team’s Most Inspirational Player.
Girls basketball: South 67 North 62
The South team beat the North despite strong play from Clovis West’s Aysha Kirkland (15points) and Buchanan’s Bre Wellington (10 points).
The most competitive game of the four played at Fresno City College, the North had a chance to tie or take the lead with 25.7 seconds left and the score 64-62 but couldn’t convert.
Joining Kirkland was teammate Ashley Cross from Clovis West. The two were a part of a Golden Eagle program that won four straight D-1 Valley championships.
Softball: County 5 City 4
The City lost to the County 5-4 in a wild contest that ended on a controversial strike call on TRAC MVP and Buchanan star Sienna Swain in the 35th annual game played at Margie Wright Diamond at Fresno State.
After the City has loaded the bases with two outs Swain, recently named the Clovis Roundup Female Athlete of the Year, worked a 3-2 count before taking a called third strike, about a foot outside.
Swain had two hits in the contest and City MVP Cassidy Clark of Clovis West went 2-3 with an RBI.
Baseball: County 8 City 4
Despite a loaded roster filled with TRAC baseball stars, the County prevailed 8-4 over the City in the last of the City/County All-star games of the school year.
The City team featured Buchanan’s Grant Gambrell, J.T. Arruda, Alex Peralta and Chris Lopez fresh off their No. 1 national ranking and D-1 Valley title as well as all-TRAC players David Chavira of Clovis East, Ian Ross of Clovis West, Matt Frazier and Michael Williams of Clovis North and Zac Whittaker of Clovis.
Arruda was named the City’s Most Inspirational Player and Williams threw a scoreless inning.