By Paul Meadors, Sports Editor
Look out, the slumbering Bear has been awoken from its hibernation.
After two seasons of frustration and 1-9 and 3-9 records, the Buchanan football team, showing the TRAC and the Central Section they’re no one to be trifled with, continued their impressive play with a 28-14 victory over Clovis West on homecoming October 16, improving to 2-0 in league and 5-2 overall.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” said head coach Mike Jacot, in his third season. “They deserve this and they’ve been wondering ‘When’s it going to pay off?’ They’re starting to see it.”
And everyone at Veterans Memorial Stadium saw it too. The Bears, usually conservative on offense, started off with a bang as quarterback Josh Friesen found receiver Blake Wells for a 57-yard gain on the team’s first possession.
On the very next play it was Chuby-Time as senior running back Chibuiken Dunu rushed up the middle, bounced off the pile, and burst towards the end zone on the left side for a 12-yard score. It was a sight for sore eyes for Bears fans as Dunu, who says the Bears have proved to the TRAC they are legitimate contenders, returned from an ankle injury last week.
Buchanan kept the pedal down in the first half as Friesen ran a one-yard quarterback sneak with 5:21 left in the first quarter and receiver Mitchell Souza’s diving touchdown catch with 4:02 in the half left Clovis West (3-3, 0-2 in TRAC) stunned at halftime score of 21-0.
Souza, who was purely a punter and place kicker during his sophomore and junior season, has impressed Coach Jacot who pushed him to take on more of a role his senior year.
“I’m really proud of him,” Jacot said after the game. “This summer we asked him to run some routes and we always knew he would be a good receiver.”
The usually crisp Eagle offense was stymied by the hard-hitting and high-flying Bears defense, which created five turnovers in the game, including three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Standout lineman Bryson Young who has verbally committed to Oregon University, said a key to stopping Clovis West’s fast-paced offense was to “start off fast, keep going and never give up on the play and big plays will follow.”
And Young was true to his word as he used his combination of speed and power to chase down Eagles’ quarterback Adrian Martinez from behind on two superb plays that had the crowd buzzing. By the way, Young stands 6’5” 240 pounds.
But there’s always a comeback left in Clovis West, and after another touchdown catch by Souza to make it 28-0, Martinez, the Eagles talented quarterback, made things interesting by scoring on two quarterback runs of seven yards each to close the gap to 28-14 with 6:26 left in the game.
But a Bears interception on the Eagles last possession of the game signaled the end of the game and Buchanan on top of the TRAC standings.
“We put in the work and we know what we can do,” said Souza, still flashing a big smile after the game. “Our confidence is through the roof.”