Coming into Friday night, the Clovis North Broncos and the Clovis West Golden Eagles appeared to be two football teams headed in opposite directions.
Clovis North, undefeated at 5-0 and coming off of a 41-27 victory over Ridgeview September 20 and the Golden Eagles had lost three consecutive games after starting the season 2-0.
Some might’ve expected this to be an easy victory for the Broncos.
But, someone forgot to tell the Golden Eagles as they drubbed Clovis North 41-13 at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Golden Eagles came out the gates a team that looked revitalized after the bye week. Quarterback Brad Senneway sliced and diced the Broncos defense with short and intermediate passes and a few effective runs by Brandon Wafer helped maintain a balanced attack.
Wafer, a versatile offensive threat, caught a 19-yard touchdown to put Golden West on the scoreboard but only led 6-0 after a missed extra point.
The Broncos were able to put together an answer on the following drive, but only with a 34-yard field goal. Still, the momentum sided with Clovis West.
And that continued on the next possession.
Running back and linebacker Mateo Morales made his way into the end zone on an 8-yard rumble, bowling over and through multiple Broncos defenders as he reached across the goal line.
Another Broncos drive that ended with a field goal meant that heading into halftime, the Golden Eagles head just a one-possession lead at 13-6.
Given how atypical the Broncos looked both offensively and defensively, the team was fortunate to still be within the game.
In the third quarter, however, the Golden Eagles changed all of that.
Clovis West’s defense forced a three-and-out on the Broncos’ opening drive of the second half, only allowing three yards.
And as if things weren’t already going badly enough for Clovis North, an airmailed snap over the punters head made its way all the way back to inside the Broncos 20, where Clovis West recovered.
Immediately the Golden Eagles took advantage. David Pierro scampered into the end zone from 14 yards out to give the team a 20-6 lead.
The Broncos offense returned on the ensuing possession and had good starting field position to counter the West touchdown. Clovis North started at its own 42 after a decent kickoff return by Michael Jacot Jr.
But, the Golden Eagles defense stood up and forced a punt.
Up to that point, West’s defense had been stout, but it took the intensity up several notches over the next three possessions.
First, a 20-yard pick-six thrown by quarterback Trent Luera to Isaac Rodriguez started the flurry.
Defensive lineman Jacob Smith then forced a fumble inside the Broncos 5-yard line, which Mateo Morales capitalized on with a touchdown run and just for good measure, Pierro, who also plays cornerback, returned an interception 50 yards for a score.
Wafer added a second touchdown on a run from one yard away and the game was completely out of reach for the Broncos by the start of the fourth quarter.
Clovis West head coach Tim Randall said he thought his defense played well in part because of the adjustments that were made in the defensive secondary during the bye week after the Golden Eagles 26-13 loss to Bullard September 19.
“I think the Bullard game exposed some of the things we do secondarily in our coverage,” Randall said. “We learned from it and that is something we have been working on for the last couple of weeks.”
The Golden Eagles now sit at an even 3-3 heading into its October 11 showdown with Buchanan. The Bears were soundly beaten by defending TRAC champion Central High Grizzlies 41-20.
Clovis North will lick its wounds and prepare for its October 11 meeting with the Clovis East Timberwolves, who sit at 3-3.