By Daniel Leon, Sports Intern
The Buchanan Bears held on to beat Clovis North 31-28 on Friday, Nov. 6, at Veterans Memorial Stadium, to win a share of their first Tri-River Athletic Conference title since 2009.
“It feels great and I’m so happy for our kids,” Buchanan third-year head coach Mike Jacot said. “This journey started three years ago and for this group of seniors to do this here on Senior Night makes it that much more special. They’ve endured a lot, they’ve stuck to the plan and it’s paying off.”
In nail biter that was competitive all the way through, both teams made plays in key situations but the Bears delivered the final blow.
The Bears (7-3, 4-1) grasped their largest lead of the game at 24-14 early in the fourth quarter when sophomore running back Trevor Ervin busted loose for a 49-yard touchdown run.
“It was a zone [run],” Ervin said. “I ran left and saw their [defensive] end coming up. I saw that nothing was going to be there so I cut back, ran and saw three or four guys lying on the ground. I made a nice cut off one of my linemen and then I just had to beat the corner and safety to the end zone.”
But the Broncos (5-4, 3-2) answered with an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jeremy Miller to receiver Andrew Tockey to cut the lead to three.
But on the ensuing kickoff, returner Braylen Williams took one back to the house to push the lead back up to 10 with 7:18 left in the game. The senior caught the kick at his own 8-yard line, made numerous defenders miss, utilized key blocks, eventually saw daylight and took off down the Buchanan sideline for a 92-yard touchdown.
“Clovis North is a good football team and you’re not going to keep them down every drive,” Jacot said. “They have some playmakers and I thought our guys took a couple lumps but battled back and got it done when we needed to.”
The teams exchanged a pair of rushing touchdowns in a back-and-forth first half to tie the game up at 14 each heading into the locker room.
But Buchanan relied on its run game to get the job done offensively and Ervin finished a game-high 165 yards rushing on 18 carries and a touchdown.
“Coming into the game we knew that Clovis North had a very similar team to us,” Ervin said. “We both ground and pound on offense our defenses are practically the same. We knew it was going to be a hard, physical game and whoever persevered was going to win.”