Clovis North High's fast track to success in football found yet another gear Sunday, when the Broncos were matched with perennial power Long Beach Poly in the CIF State Division I Regional.
"It's been quite a ride," Clovis North coach Cory Hall said. "I couldn't write a better story."
Friday's 7:30 p.m. game at Long Beach City College's Veterans Stadium will offer a contrast in history -- long and short.
Poly (11-3), in 96 years, has delivered 19 Southern Section titles, the second-most wins in state history and a nation-best 51 players to the NFL.
Clovis North (12-1), in four years and only three classes of seniors, has won two straight Central Section championships -- D-II in 2011 and D-I with a 27-10 win over Central on Friday at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Regional semifinals in the state's North and South will also be played in an Open Division and II, III and IV.
The Poly-Clovis North winner will play the winner of the North's Granite Bay (11-3) and St. Ignatius-San Francisco (10-3) regional for the state D-I championship Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. at Carson's Home Depot Center.
It was there last year that Washington -- as the Central Section's first representative in the six-year history of the bowls -- closed a 14-0 season with a 21-16 win over Campolindo-Moraga for the D-III crown.
Wasco (13-0), hoping to land a D-III bid Sunday, was denied in favor of Madison-San Diego (12-1) and Monrovia (12-2).
Receiving a D-II North invitation was Clayton Valley-Concord (12-1) under first-year coach Tim Murphy, the former Clovis East coach.
Sunday's call to Clovis North was expected, but the game's location wasn't.
Given a match up with Poly, Clovis North stood a good chance of hosting because of comparable results -- the Jackrabbits were beaten 29-6 by Bakersfield, which was beaten 42-28 by Central, which was beaten twice by the Broncos, including a 50-7 throttling in October.
Had Clovis North hosted, the game would have been played at Buchanan.
"Honestly, that involved one of our longest discussions," said Ron Nocetti, associate executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation, which governs prep sports in the state. "We were comfortable having it at either place; I can't say there was one deciding factor. Clovis North deserved to be in the game and Poly's a Pac-5 (division) champion that ran the gauntlet in the end. It was a hard call."
No matter, says David Wells, the Broncos tight end headed for San Diego State: "We can win on the road; I have a good feeling about it."
Clovis North, behind quarterback Christian Rossi and running backs Carson Guzman and Bolu Olorunfunmi, are averaging 40.8 points and 416 yards -- 222 rushing and 194 passing.
And the Broncos' defense held Central, which arrived averaging 44.2 points in its previous five games, to 128 yards and three first downs.
But now to Poly, which has won 10 straight against mostly high-caliber competition since the Bakersfield loss.
"A lot of speed, big on the line and well coached," Hall said. "We've been up against it all season, but this will probably be our toughest challenge to date; that's what it appears."
The Jackrabbits, led by UCLA-bound linebacker Jayon Brown, stoned state fourth-ranked Mater Dei-Santa Ana to the tune of minus-14 yards rushing Saturday in a 35-17 win for the title of the Southern Section's Pac-5 Division -- indisputably the state's finest annually.
Mater Dei did pass for 316 yards as Chase Forrest completed 28 of 53 attempts.