After nine long months, it was finally time for Clovis High football at Lamonica Stadium.
With the stadium packed for their home opener, the Cougars may have felt some added pressure to win Friday night.
Somebody forgot to tell that to Clovis quarterback Isaiah Robles.
Robles passed for 189 yards and scored four total touchdowns, including a 28-yard touchdown run, in Clovis High’s 41-15 win over Stockdale Friday night.
It was an electric atmosphere at Daryle Lamonica Stadium, and the Cougars’ offense looked charged up from the kickoff.
Head Coach Rich Hammond gave the start at QB to senior Isaiah Robles, and Robles didn’t disappoint.
He put the Cougars on the scoreboard first with his 28-yard scramble into the endzone in the first quarter.
“It was a designed play for me, but we were just trying to move the ball down the field,” Robles said. “Tonight, we were trying to help our defense out and score. I’ve been building a connection with the receivers all summer, and it showed tonight.”
Stockdale threatened to spoil the night for Clovis fans in the second quarter, when junior quarterback Jack Kaiser connected with wide receiver Jeremiah Gradowitz for a 47-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
The very next drive, Clovis responded with the help of its sophomore quarterback Nate Johnson.
Johnson and Robles both took snaps and drove the Cougars down the field together. Robles would punctuate the drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Grant Lake to take the lead back.
The turning point of the game came after Stockdale was forced to punt following Robles’ touchdown pass.
The Mustangs’ punt team forgot to account for Clovis’ Ayden Merrihew, who burst through the line to block the punt and return it by himself for a touchdown.
The score was 21-7 following Merrihew’s game-changing block, and Robles would find Grant Lake in the endzone twice more in the second quarter to put the halftime lead at 34-7, effectively sealing the game and a Clovis win.
Hammond was happy with the win, but refuted the notion that his team was nervous before its first home game.
“I don’t think there was any extra pressure. That’s what playing for Clovis High is all about,” Hammond said. “You play in front of big crowds and celebrate the tradition.”
Indeed, this Cougars football team has embraced the winning tradition of Clovis High football.
Clovis (2-0) will go across town to face the Bullard Knights at Ratcliffe Stadium next Friday.
Stockdale (0-2) returns back to Bakersfield to play Atascadero at home next week.