By Paul Meadors and Daniel Leon
With Clovis High (No. 1 seed) and Buchanan (No. 4 seed) waiting for the first round to play out, Clovis West and Clovis North were trouncing their opponents, piling up points and positioning themselves for big second round match ups.
At Lamonica Stadium, the No. 6 Eagles of Clovis West (6-4 overall) used three passing touchdown from sensational sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez, two to Darian Owens, one to Caleb Kelly, and one rushing, a 16-yard keeper, in a dominating 30-10 victory over the No. 11 Frontier (5-6) of Bakersfield on November 13.
Playing in his first playoff football game for Martinez, who played varsity basketball as a freshman, was a mix of nerves and positive energy, but parlayed it into a mesmerizing performance.
“I was excited and nervous but comfortable,” said Martinez. “I felt very confident in our team and our game plan going in so I was good to go.”
And the Eagles got on the scoreboard first after recovering a fumble on the 15-yard line with a quick strike from Martinez to slot receiver Kelly. After that it was “go time” according to Martinez.
“After our first touchdown, when our offense gets rolling, we know it’s going to be good the rest of the way,” said Martinez. “We know that our defense has our back.”
Head coach George Petrissans agrees, the Eagles defense, who received an interception from cornerback Jason Diaz in the fourth quarter and punishing hits from linebacker Kelly, has been quietly effective this season, which includes holding a potent Clovis High offense to 20 points last week.
“We’ve been leaning on our defense all year long,” said Petrissans in his second year at the helm. “I think they’ll continue to play as hard they can the rest of the way.”
And the rest of the way includes a date with No. 3 Bullard on Nov. 20, a team they lost to 42-23 back in week three. Experience is a dangerous foe, and Clovis West is ready to play the Knights, this time for keeps.
“We are focused on what we have to do and that is everyone doing their job,” said Petrissans. “I think our guys will be fired up to play Bullard.”
And on the same night, the lights of Veterans Memorial Stadium were lit for TRAC opponents Clovis North (No. 5 seed) and Clovis East (No. 12).
Clovis North fell to Buchanan last week in a game where the winner was awarded a share of the Tri-River Athletic Conference title.
But the Broncos (6-4, 3-2) still have a shot at the Division I Valley title after a dominant, 55-35 win over Clovis East in the opening round of the playoffs Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
After both teams exchanged scores to start the game, Clovis North utilized its explosive offense to go on a 27-0 run to lead 34-7 at halftime.
The Timberwolves (3-8, 0-5) came out swinging in the second half and got within 20 points (41-21) after an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trey Semien to junior Tanner Tucker and a successful two-point conversion.
“Nobody has stopped their offense, including us,” Simons said. “We didn’t stop them either last time but we did a much better job tonight. We functioned well with our own offense and that gave us a comfortable lead.”
CNHS prevented the Timberwolves from cutting deeper into its lead and responded with a pair of touchdowns to balloon its lead to 55-21 with about six minutes to go in the game.
“They actually made their mark, they kept scoring,” Broncos’ running back and safety Jayson Lee said. “But they just couldn’t stop our offense, our offense just kept going down the field.”
Lee and Jordan Ayerza paved the way for the Broncos’ ground game in the first-round victory. Ayerza racked up a game-best 154 yards rushing on 18 carries for three touchdowns while Lee finished with a 117 yards on 12 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
Sophomore Marcus Washington led Clovis East in rushing with 23 carries for 149 yards and two scores.
The fifth-seeded Broncos meet No. 4 Buchanan (7-3, 4-1) – the team that beat them 31-28 in the regular season finale – Friday in the quarterfinals.
“At our school, the Valley championship is always our goal every year – this year, last year, next year – so we’re pleased that we’re in the running for that,” Simons said. “Now we have a game with another rival school. So we’re excited about the challenge.”