Before the season started, Jake Parnagian had no intentions of playing football. His focus was track & field — until he visited the Clovis North football season opener against San Joaquin Memorial.
The sight of the football field overwhelmed him. Before the opener, he told head coach Michael Jacot that he wanted to play Bronco football again, for the first time in almost two years.
In Parnagian’s Week 3 debut against El Diamante, he scored two touchdowns and Clovis North won its first game, 48-7.
That game launched a four-game winning streak for the Broncos (4-2), who defeated the Clovis East Timberwolves (4-2) Friday night at Lamonica Stadium, 23-6.
Parnagian provided two of the Broncos’ three offensive scores. He scored an 8-yard reverse touchdown run in the first quarter, and on the first play of the second quarter, he took a fly sweep for a 17-yard touchdown run.
“Those plays were made for me,” Parnagian said. “We put them in our offense and worked on them throughout the week. On the reverse for the first touchdown, my teammates knew I would score. On the second touchdown, it was 4th and 3 and they knew I would get the first down and hopefully score.”
Clovis East keyed on the perimeter runs after halftime, forced Clovis North into long-yardage situations, and shut out the Broncos in the second half.
By halftime, though, Clovis North built a 23-0 lead behind strong play from every level of its defense, from defensive line to secondary. Their only major mistake came on an 82-yard touchdown run from Clovis East running back Lamaj Travis in the third quarter.
Overall, consistent defense and physical running helped the Broncos maintain their lead.
“We did enough early on the perimeter to keep [Clovis East] off-balanced,” Jacot said. “Once we had a good lead, the physical play definitely helped.
“Defensively, our pass rush did a great job of staying in their lanes, and the coverage was solid which forced [Clovis East quarterback Ty] Miller to hold onto the ball.”
Miller faced pressure throughout Friday night and threw two interceptions, both to defensive back Vincent Cordoba. Clovis East went 0-for-4 on fourth down conversions, including a failed 4th-and-2 from its own 28-yard line which set up Clovis North’s first touchdown, an 18-yard Andrew Chavez scoring run.
With every crushing hit from the Broncos’ defense and every powerful run from their stable of running backs, it became increasingly clear that this wasn’t the same Clovis North team from the spring.
The 0-3 season, only six months ago, felt like a distant memory.
“I feel like we, as a program, have received a lot of criticism over the last couple of months,” Parnagian said. “Based on what we’ve done the last four games, we’re proving all of the haters wrong. It’s a good feeling because we’ve worked really hard for this, to win and change the narrative.”
Clovis North will take its four-game winning streak into Lamonica Stadium next Friday, where the Broncos will face the Clovis High Cougars. Clovis East will play Clovis West at Veterans Memorial Stadium next Friday.