Clovis East is off to its best start since the 2006 season, and Central put a 50-spot on the scoreboard before halftime. Meanwhile, an upset at McLane Stadium shook up the Clovis Roundup Power Rankings.
Those are just a few highlights of Week 4 of high school football in the Tri-River Athletic Conference, known around the Central Valley as the “TRAC.”
Buchanan High School had its bye week and did not play. The Bears finish their non-league schedule next Friday at Edison-Fresno. Central, Clovis West, and Clovis High wrapped up their non-league schedule this week, and they’ll be off next week.
Central and Clovis High open league play against each other on October 1st. Both teams had very different games in Week 4.
Clovis High upset by Bullard
It’s not often that a football team finds themselves with 508 total yards and only 12 points to show for it, but that’s what happened to Clovis High in its 35-12 loss against Bullard Friday.
The Cougars (4-1) drove 93 yards on its first drive of the game, all the way down to Bullard’s 1-yard line. Clovis was ruled short by a half-inch on 4th and goal, ending the long drive without any points.
The Knights (2-3) took over possession and scored minutes later on a 75-yard flea flicker touchdown pass from Roland Russo to Jayden Davis.
The Fresno State commit Davis had a big game against Clovis. He took an end-around run 70 yards for a score and caught another touchdown pass from Russo on 4th and 18. Both scores came in the third quarter, pushing Bullard ahead, 21-6, with 4:41 remaining in the third quarter.
Clovis running back Tristan Risley did not slow down after breaking the school’s all-time rushing record last week. He accounted for 244 total yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yard scoring run that cut Bullard’s lead to 21-12 less than a minute after Davis scored.
Clovis did not score again as quarterback Nate Johnson was intercepted in the fourth quarter, and Bullard tacked on two more touchdowns.
Bullard faced a daunting non-conference schedule, playing Buchanan, Central and Clovis West on the road. They wrapped up the challenging slate with an upset win over Clovis High, which was ranked preseason No. 1 in the Clovis Roundup Power Rankings.
In a frustrating loss for the Cougars, Clovis head coach Rich Hammond offered no excuses for the team’s performance.
“Obviously, we didn’t play well enough to be in the ballgame,” Hammond said. “I think there’s little things we can learn from the game, from level of execution, situational football, hidden yardage, and all those sorts of things.
“The frustration is from us not being prepared enough to perform in the game. I think it comes down to how we approach practice. Are we going to come out and practice the way a championship team does, or are we going to have our focus on other things? That’s ultimately my responsibility.”
Central rolls Ridgeview
Central scored 51 points before halftime and rolled over Ridgeview on Friday, 54-0.
It was the Grizzlies’ third 50-point performance in four games. Central (4-0) remains undefeated entering TRAC play.
Dayton Tafoya only played two quarters, but that’s all he needed to throw for 148 yards and four touchdowns. Notably, nine different Grizzlies recorded a catch.
Having a deep wide receiver group makes it easier for Tafoya to spread the ball around.
“We have a lot of guys that, if they get the chance, they’re going to make it happen,” Tafoya said. “I trust my guys that don’t get a lot of [attention]. I trust that if I throw them the ball, they’ll make a play, and that’s exactly what happened last night.”
Ladanian Streets caught a 40-yard touchdown, Noel Felix III caught a 36-yard score, and Imari Conley had a 15-yard touchdown grab for the Grizzlies.
Running back Jesiah Lindsey also caught a touchdown and rushed for two more scores. He recorded 110 total yards on four touches (two carries and two catches).
Clovis East stays perfect in win over Tulare Union
Clovis East won its fourth game in a row in dominant fashion, shutting out Tulare Union, 28-0. The Timberwolves have their first 4-0 record since Tim Murphy led the “Beasts of the East” to the 2006 Central Section championship.
True freshman quarterback Ty Miller completed 12 of 20 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns. His best receiver was senior Maddox Merlo, who caught four passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
The Timberwolves’ passing game took center stage at Lamonica Stadium Friday, a first for fifth-year head coach Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds served as an assistant coach for Murphy during Clovis East’s championship years, and running the football was its key identity.
“The Clovis East I know back in the day, we just didn’t throw the ball,” Reynolds said. “We’ve never thrown the ball like this or been this balanced. We threw it 20 times today and ran it 18 times. That’s crazy.”
Clovis East still had a good game on the ground. Lamaj Travis rushed nine times for 75 yards and a touchdown. Another hallmark of Murphy’s Clovis East teams — stout defense — made an appearance Friday as the Timberwolves sacked Tulare Union’s quarterback five times and intercepted him once.
Reynolds said there’s still a lot to learn about his undefeated squad, and a lot of that learning will come in next Thursday’s home game against Sanger. More learning will come in games against TRAC powerhouses Buchanan, Central, and Clovis.
A run at a Central Section championship, potentially in Division-II, is on the table, but Reynolds said those aspirations rest entirely on his team’s health. Lots of football still to be played, but he likes the football Clovis East is playing right now.
““This is one of our favorite teams that I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Reynolds said. “Part of our success in the past was this chip on our shoulder, and we’re trying to get that chip back on our shoulder.”
Clovis North wins third straight game
Clovis North’s Frank Solis came up with two big interceptions to help seal the Broncos’ 24-21 win over Redwood Friday.
Solis intercepted a Redwood pass in the end zone, ending a scoring drive, and picked off another pass with 16 seconds remaining to clinch the Broncos’ third straight win.
Clovis North’s ground-and-pound attack resulted in three rushing touchdowns; Alec Chavez, Paul Sharp, and McKay Madsen scored for the Broncos. Clovis North only attempted two passes all game.
Center Dashiel Hein said the offensive line has embraced the increased responsibility of run blocking all game. A turning point came during Clovis North’s season-opening 20-0 loss to San Joaquin Memorial.
“Coaches pulled us aside and said, if this team has any hope of going somewhere, the O-Line has to be the focal point and the engine of this team,” Hein said. “We as offensive linemen took that responsibility upon ourselves… Come the Edison [Huntington Beach] game, we finally break the two-year long touchdown drought.”
The Broncos put it all together after losing to Edison-Huntington Beach, 35-13. They routed El Diamante, 48-7, and pulled out a 33-26 victory over Edison-Fresno.
Clovis North will take its three-game winning streak into TRAC play. They face Clovis East on October 1st.
Other TRAC final scores:
Turlock 23, Clovis West 10
Clovis Roundup Power Rankings:
- Buchanan (3-1)
- Central (4-0)
- San Joaquin Memorial (4-0)
- Clovis High (4-1)
- Liberty-Bakersfield (3-1)
- Garces (3-2)
- Centennial-Bakersfield (4-0)
- Frontier (3-1)
- Bullard (2-3)
- Clovis East (4-0)