Buchanan running back Trevor Ervin takes off for one of his three touchdowns in the Bears 28-13 victory over Clovis. Ervin rushed for 111 yards on the night as well. (Photo by Nick Baker)
By Paul Meadors Sports Editor
After his second interception against a vaunted Clovis passing attack, Buchanan’s Jack Wilkins got a tad greedy when he said to himself – “Why not one more?”
Little did Wilkins know he was actually short-changing himself as the senior defensive back picked off two more passes for a remarkable total of four – the last one a leaping grab late in the fourth quarter, sealing the Bears’ 28-13 victory over Clovis on a beautiful mid-70s evening at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Oct. 21.
Along with Wilkins’ breakout performance and running back Trevor Ervin’s three rushing touchdowns, the Bears (5-3, 1-2) pulled off a mild shocker in manhandling a stunned Clovis team, sending the Cougars to their second straight loss after starting the year 6-0.
“It felt good, I had one interception (all year),” said Wilkens, a junior, with a smile fixated long after the game had ended. “I said to myself: ‘I’ll keep playing defense and doing my job,’ but they kept coming at me.”
Matched up against Clovis standout receiver Tyson Fraser (who Wilkins calls “a good athlete and really fast”), three of his interceptions came in the second quarter, the third in the end zone with 4:31 left, helping the Bears to a 14-7 lead going into the half.
Wilkins’ four interceptions broke the school record of three set by his head coach Matt Giordano, prompting the 8-year NFL veteran and Super Bowl champion with the 2008 Indianapolis Colts to reply: “Yeah, I was happy when he tied it and then he goes and gets No. 4. But, I’m very happy for Jack, the mental toughness he displayed was outstanding.”
Buchanan ran into a buzzsaw the first two game of TRAC play, losing to co-leaders Clovis West and Central, both 3-0, but that didn’t stop the hard-charging Bears from coming out aggressive. A sack by Ryan Bacon on the first play from scrimmage was followed two plays later by Tavious Hunter’s blocked punt, setting up the game’s first touchdown by the 5-foot-10, 205 pound Ervin.
A member of last year’s CIF state wrestling team and coming off a partial tear of his PCL, Ervin broke through a massive hole, sprinting up the middle for a 32-yard score with 10:15 left in the first quarter.
Senior Zach Presno scored on a 1-yard plunge five minutes later for a 14-0 lead which was set up by an impressive 42-yard run by freshman running back Kendall Milton (13 carries, 96 yards).
“The o-line did an amazing job creating that hole – I just had to run,” said Ervin, who has a gripping handshake unlike most high school juniors. “I have a lot of faith in my offensive line and I’m just excited to have a nice game.”
Ervin, who ended with 14 carries for 111 yards, scored on a 37-yarder in the third quarter and capped off the night with a 7-yard run with 15 seconds left in the third, increasing the lead to 28-7.
Clovis scored on Trey Lake’s 20-yard touchdown to Fraser on fourth-and-10 in the first quarter to make it 14-7 and Lake connected with Clayton Alexander for a 19-yarder with 1:43 left in the fourth.
“Clovis high is a physical team, traditionally that’s what they’re known for,” said Giordano. “We knew we had to match their intensity and physicality. We got to make sure we stay humble, stay thankful for a win and get ready to next week.”