Clovis West falls to Liberty in 17-7 loss

Mateo Morales pounds the ball across the goal line on fourth down to bring Clovis West within 3 against Liberty-Bakersfield at Lamonica Stadium on Friday, Sept. 6. PHOTO BY MICHAEL FORD/CLOVIS ROUNDUP

The Clovis West Golden Eagles football came into Friday night’s game against Liberty-Bakersfield flying high on a 2-game win streak to start the season, with wins against Edison and at Central Catholic.

However, the momentum came to a screeching halt in the team’s 17-7 home loss to the Patriots for its first loss of the season.

The Golden Eagles had trouble moving the ball all night, going to entire first half without breaking the proverbial seal on the scoreboard.

Defensively, the squad did more than hold its own, limiting Liberty to just 10 points in the first half on a field goal by Brayden Blevins and a short TD rush by Prentice Boone.

The third quarter was when Clovis West did its damage offensively, and part of the reason why could be chalked up to good fortune.

The Golden Eagles recovered a fumble on a muffed punt to Liberty, leading to running back Mateo Morales punching the ball across the goal line on fourth down from inside the five.

Morales had 11 yards on 11 carries to go along with the score, underscoring the need for the team’s leading rusher from 2018 Brandon Wafer to return from a lower-leg injury suffered the prior week against Edison.

The elation resulting from the score that brought the Golden Eagles within three points was short-lived, however. Liberty’s Ramon Henderson returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, effectively nullifying Morales’s score.

“It’s really hard to get kids refocused and manage a couple possessions to get that score back and then try to go ahead,” head coach Tim Randall said. “If it happens earlier in the game, maybe there’s a different situation but at least we’d have the opportunity to use the clock and do the things we want to do instead of being pressed by the clock and limited.”

The Eagles, who were held to fewer than 50 yards rushing, are hopeful that Wafer will return to game action next week at home against Valley Christian from San Jose, which should provide a much-needed boost to the offense.