The Clovis North football team had a strong start against the Buchanan Bears, but it wasn’t nearly enough for a win. The Bears immediately responded to the Broncos’ touchdown on the opening drive and dominated the rest of the way, winning it 49-21 at Lamonica Stadium on Friday.
Senior Brock Jones sparked the Bears’ dominance in the first quarter, completing a huge kick return to score Buchanan’s first touchdown.
“I had some big returns in the last few weeks,” Jones said. “It felt good to finally put one in.”
The coaches have been telling Jones that it’s only a matter of time before he takes one to the house. Against Clovis North, Jones took advantage of some great blocking and used his blazing speed to finally get in the end zone.
“The Brock Jones kickoff return woke us up big time,” Buchanan head coach Matt Giordano said. “Brock has been close to returning one all year. It was good to see him make that return on this night. I was very happy for Brock. That was the one play that really got us going.”
Jones sensed that he had to make a big play after the Bears allowed Clovis North to easily march down the field on the opening drive.
“One of our things is to start fast, which we didn’t really do tonight,” Jones said. “We always regroup and our defense picks it up. We can get back on the field and punch them in the mouth.”
The Bears also got a huge lift from junior Kendall Milton, who scored three touchdowns on the night. Milton scored his first touchdown on a 13-yard carry in the first quarter. He then scored another rushing touchdown in the second quarter to make it a 21-7 lead for the Bears.
Milton’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter made it 35-14.
Levi Williams added a pair of touchdowns for the Bears in the second half.
Giordano said he was pleased with how his team responded after giving up the first touchdown.
“It’s a rivalry game so [Clovis North] came out ready to play,” Giordano said. “We were a little bit flat and they made us pay. Hats off to Clovis North coaching staff. They got their kids ready to go from the first play. We made simple adjustments and we were able to get back in the game.”
Having attended Clovis North before coming to Buchanan, Jones is one player who has crossed the bridge between the two rivals.
“I came from Clovis North, so a lot of these guys are close friends. A lot of them not so much anymore because of the move, but it’s a big rivalry, always has been,” Jones said. “It’s always fun.”
“You can’t never underestimate a Clovis school,” Giordano added. “Every Clovis school is well coached. We have to stay humble stay hungry.”
The No. 2-seeded Bears will meet Clovis West in the first round of the Central Section D-I playoffs on Nov. 2. Clovis North, the No. 14 seed, will match up against No. 3 Liberty.
“There were some lessons along the way in the regular season,” Giordano said. “These kids fought hard every single game, so I’m proud of them. Now it’s playoff time. Time to take what you learned in the regular season and apply it.”