Week 3 Football Roundup: Bears Falls Short, Cougars Stay Undefeated

Jayden Mandal led the Bears’ near-upset of state power Los Alamitos. He scored three total touchdowns in a 34-31 loss. (Gabe Camarillo/Clovis Roundup)

Friday night of Week 3 high school football action saw a matchup of two Top 20 teams in the state of California, as well as a 35-year old record broken at Clovis High School.

Let’s dive in!

Los Alamitos 34, Buchanan 31

For the third time in four years, a state football powerhouse traveled to Clovis and faced off against the Buchanan Bears at a packed Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Like the previous two times, the Bears fell short but not without giving a fight. 

Ranked No. 8 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, Los Alamitos pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback against Buchanan, No. 19 in the state, for a 34-31 win. The Griffins advanced to a perfect 4-0 record, while Buchanan suffered its first loss of the season and moved to 3-1.

Buchanan junior Jayden Mandal threw two touchdown passes, a 32-yarder to Josiah Ayon and 23-yarder to Travis Sirwet, and rushed for another score. He mentioned postgame that the Bears were not fazed by the talent and speed of the Griffins, who fielded two Division-I college football commits.

Los Alamitos featured five-star junior quarterback Malachi Nelson, who threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a touchdown as well. Both of his scoring passes went to five-star wide receiver Makai Lemon, who caught a 76-yard strike and 18-yard touchdown. Both players are verbally committed to play at Oklahoma after high school.

Despite the superior talent they faced, Buchanan teamed up to answer every score. Buchanan led entering the fourth quarter, 24-20, but as was the case all night, no lead was safe — there were seven lead changes total. 

Los Alamitos took the lead for good with 9:32 left in the game. The Griffins jumped ahead 34-24 with 4:09 left, but Mandal’s scoring pass to Sirwet cut the Griffins’ lead to three.

It appeared Buchanan would get the ball back when Bears safety Kannon Campbell forced an incompletion on third down. However, Campbell was penalized for an illegal hit to the head, a pivotal call that allowed Los Alamitos to run out the rest of the clock.

Despite the close loss, Mandal remained confident the early-season test against a state Top 10 team sets Buchanan up for league play and playoffs.

“[This game] shows our team has heart, and we are going to make a run for the Valley championship,” Mandal said. “We went in there knowing that stars don’t matter. It’s all about the heart, and I think we showed a lot of heart out there tonight.” 

Clovis 27, Whitney-Rocklin 7

The big story of the night was senior running back Tristan Risley, who became Clovis High’s all-time leading rusher in a 27-7 victory over Whitney.

He set the record in the fourth quarter with Clovis ahead 21-0. The previous record was owned by Kelvin Olivas, who rushed for 2,663 yards in the 1980s. 

Clovis’ defense was stout once again, allowing no offensive points from its opponent for the second straight game. Whitney’s only points were scored on an interception returned for a touchdown.

Except for the interception, Clovis quarterback Nate Johnson had a solid game. The Utah commit threw for 231 yards and scored two total touchdowns, including a passing touchdown to Oregon State commit Carlos Mack.

Clovis (4-0) travels to McLane Stadium to face Bullard on Sept. 17.

TRAC Scores from Friday/Saturday:

Central 17, Edison-Stockton 10

Clovis North 33, Edison-Fresno 26

Clovis East 35, Heritage-Brentwood 14

Gabriel Camarillo has written for the Clovis Roundup since August 2019 and follows high school athletics, Fresno State football and former Clovis Unified student-athletes. Gabe also writes for The Collegian as a staff sports writer and works at One Putt Broadcasting as a board op for 940 ESPN radio.