Despite Friday night’s 42-7 score line in favor of the 10-0 Central Grizzlies at Deran Koligian Stadium, the Clovis East Timberwolves have much to be proud of.
It wasn’t long ago, where the Timberwolves struggled in the TRAC, including three-straight losing seasons within the division.
But in two years, the program has been resurrected.
The Timberwolves have picked up many wins under head coach Ryan Reynolds, including a 28-14 win over Clovis West this season and a 21-6 win over Clovis North last season.
But records don’t do Clovis East justice.
Three losses and two questionable calls, all by three points or less to Clovis (24-21), San Joaquin-Memorial Fresno (20-17) and Clovis North (14-13) could’ve changed the Timberwolves season.
Go back to the 2018 season as well. The Timberwolves are no pushover and that’s evident in their playing style, including Friday night.
Clovis East ran the ball 55 times for 237 yards. Jo’nation Dejohnette ran the ball 26 times for 107 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Dejohnette utilized a unique combination of strength, vision and toughness to batter the Grizzlies front all night.
The Timberwolves just couldn’t find a rhythm on a consistent basis throughout the night.
Sean Kelly added 11 carries for 74 yds, but two costly interceptions put the Timberwolves behind on the scoreboard.
Any matchup against the undefeated Grizzlies is a tough task for any football team in California. The reigning back-to-back section championships showed why.
Jameson Silva opened his account in the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Worthy. The first of four for Silva who threw for 270 yards in the game.
Despite the raucous crowd, Clovis East’s workman-like mentality proved costly for the Grizzlies as the Timberwolves answered swiftly. Once again, Clovis East’s Chandler Hamilton carried the load on a 26-yard touchdown run, he had 9 rushes for 34 yds on the night.
The acrobatic Bryant Thao converted the extra point.
Hamilton, the Clovis Roundup Player of the Week for Sept. 30 – Oct. 5 has been a force for the Timberwolves all season. Scoring twice against Clovis and three times against Clovis West earlier in the season.
But despite the Timberwolves bruising running game, the Grizzlies had an answer, just as they have done all season.
Central answered after Silva drove the Grizzlies down the field, finding A.J. Simpson-Battle for a 10-yard touchdown. With the half approaching, Central took a 14-7 lead and never let loose.
The Grizzlies’ defense stood strong and forced the Timberwolves to punt deep in their own end.
With a minute left in the second quarter, Central had very little room for error, but Silva steadied the Grizzlies and landed the home team into the endzone with seconds left on the clock.
A Jeremiah Hunter touchdown pushed the lead to 21-7 as the second half ended.
The Timberwolves came out of the half and stopped the Grizzlies on downs but had to punt the ball shortly after.
Central’s defense was up to the task since the second quarter run by Hamilton.
Quali Conley scored after taking over, pushing the lead 28-7.
The Grizzlies defense then followed suit with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown. Central added a late Manuel Oliver-Davis touchdown after another interception set the Grizzlies up in favorable field position.
Central went on to win the 2019 regular season finale 42-7.
Clovis East will now head to Bakersfield for thee opening round of the playoffs on Friday. The Timberwolves enter as the No.10 seed.