Featured photo by Ron Sundquist – Runners prepare to take off before the 2015 Asics Clovis Invitational cross country meet at Woodward Park on Saturday, October 10. Clovis High’s Mikayla Sodersten placed third overall with a time of 17:50.9.
By Paul Meadors, Sports Editor
Week two football
Central 21 Clovis 20
Grizzly quarterback Nick Szpor equated the wait to holding your breath for 30 hours. But, if doing so guaranteed a victory over previously undefeated Clovis High, then I’m sure the Grizzlies would be happy to turn 50 shades of blue.
In one of the wildest games you’ll ever see (lightning) or hear (thunder) the Central Grizzlies (2-6, 1-1 in TRAC) beat the Clovis Cougars (6-1, 1-1 in TRAC) by a score of 21-20 on October 15 and 17.
Yes, you read that right. That’s not a misprint on both the score and the dates.
After lightning delayed the Thursday game to a start time of 8:19, the threat of lightning called off the game around 11:30 with Central leading 21-12 with 6:06 left in the game. Administrators then made the decision to continue the game on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m., about 30 hours after the start of the game.
With Clovis scoring from 1-yard out to start the Saturday morning affair and a 2-point conversion made it 21-20, the surreality of the game was in full effect.
But the high-octane Clovis offense couldn’t produce another point as Szpor sealed the deal with a first down run on third and short with 1:29 left in the game, a play specially designed for the nimble quarterback, who has come back from a torn ACL suffered last season.
Szpor credited his team’s cohesiveness as a key to the win, with the big play coming from Diotry Brewer’s 30-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown to give the Grizzlies a two-touchdown lead on Thursday night.
“That play gave us the extra boost of confidence we needed,” Szpor said. “The only way we could beat this team was together, and we definitely played together.”
Clovis North 49 Clovis East 43
Jayson Lee did it again.
A week after coming back in the fourth quarter to defeat Clovis West 20-17, the Clovis North Broncos needed more heroics from their senior running back in their 48-43 victory of Clovis East on October 16 at Lamonica Stadium. Again, it was Lee with a rushing touchdown for the win.
After the Timberwolves (3-4, 0-2 in TRAC) had rallied to take a 43-42 lead, Lee powered his way to a 12-yard touchdown run to keep the Broncos (4-2, 2-0 in TRAC) atop the league standings.
With the Broncos leading 35-21 at halftime and the offense clicking, the Timberwolves charged back behind Trey Semien and Marcus Washington and took the lead on Washington’s 7-yard touchdown run.
Clovis North’s David Akande had touchdown runs of 66 and 34 yards to go along with 140 yards rushing. Teammate Lee ended up with four touchdowns and exactly 200 yards on the ground.
For Clovis East, still looking for that elusive first TRAC victory in four years, Semien ended up passing for 151 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 107 rushing yards and one touchdown. Washington totaled 191 rushing yards and had one rushing touchdown.
Week one football
Buchanan 17 Central 13
Chuby Dunu was back on the field, and that spelled bad news for the Central Grizzlies as the speedy senior ran for 240 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown in a 17-13 victory on opening Thursday in TRAC play.
The explosive Dunu had a 63-yard touchdown run and another long run of 45 yards as the Bears jumped out to a 10-3 halftime lead.
Head coach Mike Jacot’s defense continued to show why they are one of the best in the Valley and was pleased with his team’s performance.
“Our defense came up with some big stops and played very physical,” said Jacot, in his third year at Buchanan. “It was a great way to open up TRAC.”
Central Malik White had 10 catches for 210 yards and senior quarterback Nick Szpor passed for 298 yards, including a 82-yard touchdown pass to White.
Clovis girls and Buchanan boys take TRAC lead in polo
The confidence has been since day one for the Lady Cougars polo team this season, and the opposition sure can feel it.
The Clovis girls’ water polo team took control of the TRAC standings by beating perennial champion Clovis West 14-7 on October 14 to improve to 6-0 in TRAC and 18-1 overall.
It was the second time the Cougars have defeated the Eagles this season behind six goals from Aide Collard and the strong play of goalkeeper Cassidy Crouch, who had 13 saves.
“We have many athletes who can create scoring opportunities for us in the game,” said head coach Noah Minton. “We never stopped pushing the offense and that led us to 14 goals. It was really a team effort.”
Vivian Talmage chipped in with three goals and Maddie Alexander and Trystyn Vuoiri with two each. Clovis West (13-6 overall, 3-1 TRAC) received two goals for senior standout Sarah Snyder.
And the Buchanan (16-4 overall, 6-0 TRAC) boys team keeps on rolling as well, their two latest victories over Clovis North 9-4, and Clovis West 8-2.
Against Clovis North, the Bears Cole Heimerdinger and Thomas Vandiver each scored three goals, Gabe Putman two and Kaleb Archer had one. While against Clovis West Robert Phillips led the way with three goals.
Clovis’ Mikayla Sodersten wins third at home X-Country meet
In one of the biggest cross country meets in the state, Clovis High’s Mikayla Sodersten showed she’s one to look out for, finishing in third place at the Asics Clovis Invitational cross country meet held at beautiful Woodward Park on October 10.
The meet featured nine nationally ranked teams and many of the top individuals in the state. In the team competition Clovis North finished in 9th place and Buchanan finished in 10th.
Sodersten, a senior, ran the 5,000-meter course in 7.50.9.
Clovis West girls’ win TRAC golf title
After graduating three seniors from last year’s defending Valley championship golf team, head coach Ken Shipley wasn’t quite sure who was going to step up in the 2015 season. Despite the lack of experience, with two juniors, two sophomores and two freshman, the Clovis West golf team won the 18-hole TRAC championship at Belmont Country Club on October 13.
“I am extremely proud of this team,” said Shipley. “This group faced several adversities during the season, showed character all season, worked very hard, continued to improve and get better, and performed like true champions.”
In fact, the girls broke the team scoring record without knowing it, a combined score of 391, 26 strokes in front of Buchanan. The Golden Eagles were led by sophomore Aya Enkoji’s 72, and Madison Nii and Allyson Musser’s 76.
Shipley also praised the efforts of freshman Kayla Terrey and Taylor Dufresne who improved dramatically during the season after having such little experience before the year.
It was the team chemistry that sets this team apart Shipley says: “It is terrific that the girls really like each other, and like to be with each other. Thus, they all work hard to do well for each other. A coach couldn’t ask for anything better than that.”
Clovis North’s Tammy Lim shot a league-best 67 and was named TRAC golfer of the year.
New names atop TRAC volleyball
The Central Grizzles volleyball team has risen to the top of the TRAC volleyball elite, beating all comers while posting a perfect 4-0 league record through the first round of league play.
Led by a talented group including freshman Mikayla Lewis, senior Shanae Laird and sisters Maya and Mikayla Riddlesprigger they’ve bested the likes of defending D-1 champion Clovis and powerful Clovis West.
But a pivotal match with Clovis East (23-7 overall, 3-1 TRAC) looms on the schedule on October 20, an important gauge to see who takes control of league.
In a match played on October 15, Clovis West beat Clovis East 21-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-15 led by Micah Hebert (14 kills, 3 blocks), Tiersa Bailey (7 kills) and Maddie Frediani (7 kills, 41 assists, 12 digs).
Clovis East Thali Grajeda’s tallied 16 kills, 7 digs and three 3 blocks and Jocelyn Rodriguez had 12 kills and 8 digs.