Inside Training Camp: TRAC Edition

Clovis East Timberwolves during a practice session preparing for the upcoming season. PHOTO BY NUGESSE GHEBRENDRIAS/CLOVIS ROUNDUP

Clovis East

Head Coach: Ryan Reynolds

2018 record: 4-7

Strengths: Veteran-laden roster, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Senior quarterback Josh Sue and junior Sean Kelly will compete for the starting position. Reynolds said that a starter has not yet been determined. Receiver Chandler Hamilton looks to be the go-to playmaker down the field for the Timberwolves. Reynolds expects the team to throw to him frequently this season.

Weaknesses: With the graduation and departure of Asa Morales, there is a void at middle linebacker that Reynolds said could be an issue. Like Clovis North, East had a negative point differential in 2018, so the loss of Morales could be amplified.

2019 outlook: This season could prove to be a transition year with key players like bruising running back Ryan Hunt and Morales graduating. With the quarterback situation in flux, fans of the Timberwolves should expect to see a team that could challenge for the third spot in the conference with Clovis West and make a bid to again make the Central Section playoffs.

Clovis North

Head Coach: Michael Jacot

2018 record: 2-8 

Strengths: First-year head coach Michael Jacot said he anticipates that the offensive line will be the team’s anchor on the offensive side of the ball. Clovis North returns a roster filled with veteran players looking to improve upon what was a disappointing 2018 season. No decision on who will be the starting quarterback has been made, and junior Garrett Jones will compete with senior Trenton Luera for the position.

Weaknesses: With a roster that Jacot is coaching for the first time, he anticipates that getting the players to buy in to playing together and to what the coaches are selling could be the most challenging part of his inaugural season. Jacot said that during the team’s first week of training camp, the team has already shown its willingness to do just that. Defensively, the team is similar to last season. In 2018, the Broncos surrendered 118 more points than they scored.

2019 outlook: The TRAC is very competitive, and although the team may make solid progress from 2018, it might not be reflected in its overall record. Central and Buchanan High, both teams that made runs in the Central Section playoffs, remain largely intact, despite Central losing quarterback Trent Tompkins, one of the most prolific passers in the conference.

Clovis West

Head Coach: Tim Randall

2018 record: 2-9

Strengths: First-year head coach Tim Randall wants to break it down to the basics after a disastrous 2-9 season and that’s what he is preaching in practice. Randall likes how the team is getting a grasp of basic formations on both sides of the ball, because a basic understanding of the X’s and O’s is the first step to gameplanning for opponents. Moreover, Randall was the D-Line Coach for Clovis West last year, and he sees lots of potential in the linemen he personally coached last year. The unit does bring back lots of experience from last year, and their performance will be key to how the rest of the defense performs. There is also reason to be excited for new Clovis West QB Brad Senneway, who left football for baseball last year, but comes back this fall as the starting quarterback. He comes in with a live arm and large football IQ, but lack of experience.

Weaknesses: While the team is able to grasp the formation concepts, execution is an issue. This team needs to execute the basic concept plays before they can move onto the more complex plays. They still make mental mistakes like dropped passes and undisciplined penalties, and if they want to compete with the more competitive TRAC teams like Buchanan and Central, they need to avoid such destructive mistakes. This team still has a lot of learning to do, but the season starts next week with a visit to powerhouse Central Catholic, so the beginning of the season figures to be a baptism by fire. 

2019 outlook: In his first year, Coach Randall looks to move on from a disappointing 2018 campaign, but transitioning will be hard with a tough schedule that includes both the TRAC and non-conference foes Central Catholic, Liberty (Bakersfield), and Valley Christian. There is some experience on Clovis West, specifically on the defensive line, but the offense is inexperienced and needs time to learn the rest of the playbook. They will struggle at the start of the season, but as the Golden Eagles learn and grow, they will win more games. This team is capable of winning more games than last year, with a solid foundation built for the future. 


Head Coach: Matt Giordano

2018 record: 10-3

Strengths: It’s no secret that Buchanan’s offense will revolve around five-star running back and recent University of Georgia commit Kendall Milton. Milton was a terror no the ground last season, rushing for 1,337 yards, ranking him second in the Central Section. His ability to catch the ball is often an overlooked part of his game, and Buchanan will look to take advantage of all of his skill set.

Weaknesses: Buchanan has a very complete roster, but the loss of wide receiver Jalen Cropper to Fresno State leaves an opening for other playmakers. The question is who will step up and fill the void. An inability to establish another go-to receiver could result in the offense becoming too one-dimensional. Young receivers Paul Cruz and Darrien Gaines will need to step up for quarterback DJ Stevenson to give the offense some balance.

2019 outlook: This season, the Bears feel they have unfinished business after falling in the Central Section semifinals last season. The team opens up at home against a Narbonne team from Harbor City that went 10-4 last season, followed by a string of games against less strong teams like Bullard and Edison. The biggest test of the season will undoubtedly be against perennial powerhouse De La Salle. A win against the Spartans would be a signal that this year’s Buchanan team could compete for a state title.

Clovis High

Head Coach: Rich Hammond

2018 record: 7-5

Strengths: Coach Hammond is excited about all the playmakers on this team, but he takes special pride in his linemen, as he should. The offensive line returns experience at key positions, and the defensive line boasts D-I talent in Keanu Williams and Ayden Merrihew. The rushing attack is the main focus of the Clovis High offense and alongside a solid running back group, they have two quarterbacks – sophomore Nate Johnson and senior Isaiah Robles – who are mobile and keep defenses wary. Both are excellent dual-threat QB’s and Coach Hammond expects both to contribute to Clovis High’s success this year.  

Weaknesses: Health is an issue for the Cougars to worry about. The team numbers at about 55, when usually there are 65 or 70 players on the team. That is a bad look on the coaching staff, and if coaches don’t stop to listen to their tired players, injuries will happen and the roster will dwindle down further. On the field, the Clovis secondary is prone to big plays and any potent passing attack could spell doom for the defense. The secondary struggles to make tackles in the open field, so if opposing offenses get past the front line, there’s not much left to stop them.

2019 outlook: The QB tandem of Robles and Johnson is among the most talented Coach Hammond has ever had at Clovis High and the offense’s rushing focus will wear down opposing defenses and open up the passing game. Expect their offense to be solid this year. This team goes as their defense goes. Their D-Line is talented, but if the linebacker corps and secondary can’t make tackles and stop the passing game, they will struggle to outscore their opponents. In a league of offensive firepower, Clovis High will finish with another decent record, but likely below Buchanan and Central. 

2019 Season Schedule

Week 1

Clovis North vs. Pitman, Friday, Aug. 23- 7 p.m.

Edison vs. Central, Friday, Aug. 23- 7:30 p.m.

Lemoore vs. Clovis East- Friday, Aug. 23- 7:30 p.m.

Clovis West @ Central Catholic, Friday, Aug. 23- 7 p.m.

Clovis @ Modesto, Saturday, Aug. 24- 7 p.m.

Narbonne @ Buchanan, Saturday, Aug. 24- 7 p.m.

Week 2

Clovis West @ Edison, Thursday, Aug. 29- 7 p.m.

Clovis vs. Stockdale, Friday, Aug. 30- 7 p.m.

Central @ Grant, Friday, Aug. 30- 7 p.m.

Clovis North @ Sunnyside, Thursday, Aug. 30- 7:30 p.m.

Clovis East @ Wood, Friday, Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m.

Bullard @ Buchanan, Friday, Aug.30- 7 p.m.

Week 3

Clovis East @ Sanger, Thursday, Sept. 5- 7 p.m.

Central @ Whitney, Friday, Sept. 6- 7 p.m.

Clovis North vs, Bellarmine Prep, Friday, Sept. 6- 7 p.m.

Clovis West vs. Liberty, Friday, Sept. 6- 7 p.m.

Buchanan @ Edison, Friday, Sept. 6- 7:30 p.m.

Clovis @ Bullard, Friday, Sept. 6- 7:30 p.m.

Week 4

Buchanan vs. Liberty, Thursday, Sept. 12- 7 p.m.

Clovis vs. Salinas, Friday, Sept. 13- 7 p.m.

Central vs. Paso Robles, Friday, Sept. 13- 7 p.m.

Clovis North @ Edison, Friday, Sept. 13- 7:30 p.m.

Clovis East @ Sunnyside, Friday, Sept. 13- 7:30 p.m.

Clovis West @ Valley Christian, Friday, Sept. 13- 7:30 p.m.

Week 5

Clovis West vs. Bullard, Thursday, Sept. 19- 7 p.m.

Central @ Turlock, Friday, Sept. 20- 7 p.m.

Clovis North vs. Ridgeview, Friday, Sept. 20- 7 p.m.

Clovis East vs. Memorial, Friday, Sept. 20- 7 p.m.

Clovis @ Liberty, Friday, Sept. 20- 7:30 p.m.

Buchanan @ De La Salle, Friday, Sept. 20- 7:30 p.m.