Featured photo – Broncos defenders, No.77 Nathan Holloway and No. 42 Erick Kroll, take down a Bellarmine ball carrier in their 32-21 loss at Veterans Memorial Stadium. [Photo by DeAnna Turner]
By Paul Meadors | Sports Editor
The Clovis North vs. Bellarmine Prep game was a tale of two halves, but for the Broncos, it was the second half that did them in, losing to the Bells of San Jose 32-21 on Sept. 2 at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Bay Area powerhouse Bellarmine Prep (2-0), who lost in the state’s CIF Division I-AA state championship game last year, were stunned early as the Broncos (1-1) raced to a 14-0 lead but then outscored the home team 32-7 the rest of the way.
Senior quarterback Brent Bailey got the Broncos offense going early when he threw a perfect pass into the waiting arms of Nick Caviglia for a 64-yard touchdown with 9:03 left in the first quarter. Jordan Ayerza’s three-yard run early in the second quarter increased the lead to 14-0.
And the defense was rolling, holding the Bells to only a field goal by halftime.
But the tide was turned early in the second half on the second play when Ike Ogbogu found Justin Malone for a 63-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 14-10. That’s when the Bells started to roll, and 32-14 lead into the fourth quarter.
Despite the outcome, Bronco’s head coach Casey Quinn was pleased with his defense led by linebackers Erick Kroll, Garrett Billhofer and defensive back Isaiah Cordova.
“Our defense played well the entire time,” said Quinn, in his first year at Clovis North. “When you’re on the field all the time versus a very good football team, they’re going to wear you out. But we fought and fought and at the end they were just a little bigger and stronger.”
Isaiah Cordova returned a kickoff 97-yards to cut into the lead and make it a final score of 32-21.
For all Bellarmine Prep has accomplished in their storied program count Bells’ head coach Mike Janda was impressed by Clovis North.
“I’m really impressed with their team and coaches and facilities,” said Janda, whose program played Clovis High in 2007 and 2008. “I’m happy we won but I feel bad for them because they played a great game too.”
For Bailey, who was tough to tackle when flushed out of the pocket and threw for 252 yards and one touchdown to Caviglia, the positive always outweighs the negative.
“We had a great start and they competed the whole time and they gave us a run for our money but I thought we competed as a team,” Bailey said. “We’ll work on some things and fire back next week.”