Buchanan Dominates Bullard in Home Opener

Buchanan Bears running back Caden Rodgers has one goal in mind this season — rush for 1,000 yards and record 100 tackles.

Rodgers said that he thinks he is the best running back in the Central Valley, and if he can keep performing the way he did in Buchanan’s victorious 27-0 home opener against Bullard, his campaign might have some legitimacy to it.

“I want to show who’s the best back in the valley,” Rodgers said. “I know when I’m running down the field I’m the best.”

But Rodgers also wants to savor every moment he can on the field, as he is well aware that playing football on a Friday night isn’t always going to be a guarantee.

In Northern California, many programs had to postpone or cancel their scheduled games due to the wildfires burning near Sacramento. Central High School canceled it’s game after there were threats of an alleged shooting on campus. And many programs are struggling to field players due to COVID-19 contact tracing.

Rodgers even admits that his team has had players go in and out due to contact tracing.

“We all got to do our part and it’s just every time we step on this field we gotta perform,” Rodgers said. “That’s the best we can do with what we got.”

And the Bears did so.

Buchanan was able to score on its first drive of the game, a 49-yard touchdown from Mandal to Josiah Ayon that put the Bears in front 6-0.

But that was all the noise Bullard allowed Buchanan to make in the first half, as Jayden Mandal only completed two passes in the first half and held down to 55 yards — where a bulk of the yardage came in that touchdown pass.

“We knew we were the better team coming out here, we just had some things we got to tweak,” Rodgers said. “We were shooting ourselves in the foot in the first half. We knew that once we get on track we’re gonna start rolling we’re gonna show who’s a better team here.”

And the second half was more productive for the Bears, as Rodgers broke through for a long 37-yard touchdown run to increase their lead 13-0.

As the end of the third quarter approached, Rodgers broke loose again for a 27 yard run, setting up Buchanan at Bullard’s six yard line. A couple plays later, Mandal connected with Michael Runnels for a four-yard reception, making it 20-0 at the end of the third quarter.

Rodgers again scored in the fourth quarter to make it a final 27-0, helping the Bears start the season off 2-0.

The Bears will hit the road next week and play Paso Robles.

Jesús Cano spent five years covering high school sports in the Bay Area, which included bylines in the Mercury News, East Bay Times and Brentwood Press. Jesús transferred to Fresno State in 2020 to pursue his education in journalism and hopes one day be a beat reporter covering a professional sports team. He is originally from Pittsburg (No H), California, a suburb community in the Bay Area.