Editor’s note: The Independent today concludes a two-part series on the football programs at the intermediate schools in the Clovis Unified School District. Today, we feature teams from Granite Ridge, Kastner and Reyburn.
Aaron Rey and his teammates charged out of an inflatable black tunnel emblazoned with “Kastner Thunderbirds” in bold, red letters.
Kastner’s seventh-graders were ready to take on the Broncos from Granite Ridge in a late-season home game.
Martin and Diana Rey, Aaron’s parents and loyal Kastner supporters, watched from the stands with a mix of emotions.
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“My wife gets nervous, but there’s a lot of pride for me to watch him out there playing and putting in all the hard work,” Martin Rey said.
More than 260 seventh- and eighth-graders from Kastner, Granite Ridge and Reyburn showed a similar work ethic during the 2015 season.
Granite Ridge’s seventh-graders won a league championship with an 8-1 record. They beat Kastner 30-8 in the late-season game.
For all the teams, though, the season added up to more than wins and losses.
“The student athletes in these programs are learning life lessons that will support them in their odyssey of life,” said Joe Aiello, director of educational services for Clovis Unified.
Granite Ridge’s seventh-grade team, for example, experienced several injuries but showed “a lot of heart through the ups and downs,” said head coach Reggie Williams. “We adopted the ‘next guy up’ motto, which means when one guy goes down, it’s time for the next guy to step up and fill a role.”
Williams added: “The players demonstrated great character and competitiveness every week.”
Granite Hill’s eighth-graders ended with a 3-6 record.
“The boys learned that hard work and unselfishness are the goal in any endeavor,” said head coach Paul Babcock.
Diana Rey, the Kastner parent, said she was pleased to see players compete with “good character and their heads held high.”
Coaches play a big part in instilling that spirit.
Said Kastner head coach Tanner Sneed: “Although our record is not what we want it to be, the players have gotten better each day and continue to strive for perfection on and off the field.”
The players held themselves to a high standard and expected victory in every game, Sneed added.
Kastner’s seventh-graders went 3-5, and the eighth-graders were 0-8.
The season produced some exciting plays and games.
In one game, for example, Granite Ridge’s seventh-graders clung to a 14-12 lead over Alta Sierra, which was driving down the field for a potential go-ahead score.
But the Broncos’ defense intercepted a pass and ran out the clock to preserve what was at that juncture an undefeated season.
“Our team pulled together . . . and came out with a crucial victory over a very tough opponent,” said Williams of Granite Ridge.
Meanwhile, special team players performed well for Granite Ridge’s eighth-grade team. In a game against Kastner, they blocked two punts and turned one into a touchdown.
Here are the players on this year’s Granite Ridge, Kastner and Reyburn teams. (Team records and coaches’ comments were not available from Reyburn.)
Head coach: Reggie Williams
Assistants: Michael Preciado, Dustin Riley and Ryan Uehling.
Players: Paulino Alaniz, Jayce Anderson, Matthew Arakelian, Corben Beaty, Jonathan Bell, Daniel Bowen, Jacob Casaroli, Brenden Casto, Eric Cervantez, Massimo DiCicco, Hayden Dolan, Trevor Dundas, Michael Drayton and Logan Esqueda,
Alex Farmand, Blake Folland, Oscar Iracheta, Clayton Johnston, Garrett Jones, Tyler Kaufman, Manraj Ladhar, Brennon Lamee, Duncan Lawrence, Sevastian Llanez, Eric Mora-Cervantes, Devin McCoy, Charlie Miller, Hayden Mills, Khaleel Nekumanesh, Brock Obradovich and A.K. Ormita,
Erick Quiroz, Aaron Raucho, Christopher Rij, David Robles, Jacob Saavedra, Aaryan Shah, Noah Steele, Dylan Stewart, Mohamed Sumrein, Brandon Sutton, Spencer Tatsumura, Jacob Temple, Zander Towsend, Cade Uehling, Screzha Vardanyan, Ryan Watts, Andrew Wiens and Ethan Yang.
Head coach: Paul Babcock
Assistants: Chris Logn, Mike Ramirez and Chris Stetsko.
Players: Evan Almaguer, Julian Almaguer, Nathan Arnold, Jax Barbo, Sean Boylan, Scott Cao, Jarren Carr, Josh Clancey, Ryan Coyne, Jacob Crask, Tanner Crowley, Cade Foraker, DJ Frampton, Robert Gallegos, Jaylen Guidry, Jon Helmuth, Jacob Isaguirre, Jesus Jimenez, Matt Kemp, Jack Kriebs and Trenton Luera,
Keenan Madsen, Matthew Makowski, David Mendoza, Jason Moreno, Christian Mojarres, Matt Morris, Malik Mustafa, Shane Norwood, Chris Paez, Nick Piggott, Chase Pinheiro, Casey Pyzer, Riley Reimer, Roman Rodriguez, Chris Schamburger, Yusuf Shehata and Ryan Sutton,
Luke Tarossian, Dillon VanNortwick, Zach Watts, Jadon Williams and Sam Young. Ryan Hunt and Tobin Phillips, equipment managers.
Head coach: Tanner Sneed
Assistants: Bennie Adame, Adam Booth, Tyson Fry, Scott Issack, Robert Lowder, Ambruse Morales and Trent Taylor.
Nathan Alviso, David Ethan Ankama, Cole Anderson, Lahim Bethea, Lincoln Bray, Michael Capuchino, Samuel Douglas, Wayne Ellison, David Ferry, Payton Garcia, Richard Garcia, Anthony Guzman, Matthew Habig, Cooper Harris, Nickolas, Herrera and Isaiah Howard,
Max Ligon, Kristyan Lomeli, Nathan Lopez, Tyler McClelland, Zachary McClelland, Derek Moreland, Matthew Nolt, Jayson Peralta, Daniel Pierro, Nathan Reser, Aaron Rey, Isaac Rodriguez, Anthony Ruggeri and Daniel Ruggeri,
Marcel Sanders, Shane Sesock, Javonte Smith, Michael Smith, Benancio Soto, Payton Thomason, Ryas Vang, Domanick Wessling and Noah Wood.
Eyasu Abraham, Jarred Acosta, Richard Batze, Garrett Beasley, Jeremiah Casarez, Peyton Chappel, Jacob Conriquez, Tanner Ewell, Justin Fairchild, Edduin Fiallos Munoz, Adrian Garcia, Marcellus Garcia, Nathaniel Gonzales and Philip Henderson,
Christian Islas-Settle, Jacob Lira and Nicholas Lujano, Logan Mann, Tyler Melton, Nathan Mendoza, Valente Mercado, Mateo Morales, Joseph Ortega, Cody Jacob Pike, Isaiah Robles, Jairo Rodriguez and Cristian Ruiz,
Gavin Schafer, Bradley Senneway, Caleb Smith, Jacob Smith, Anthony Vasquez, Brandon Wafer, Kurt Wancewics, Canon Weaver, Zachary Wilson, Daniel Zacarias Rodriguez and Robert Zaragoza.
Head coach: Logan Hopkins
Assistants: Corey Bessy, Andrew Meredith and Jordan Young
Players: Bradley Adams, Coby Adams, Xavier Alvarado (Lopez), Isai Batalla, Alejandro Bejanrano, Julian Calderon, Tomas Canales, Joseph Compos, Alexander Concepcion, Noah Conner, Cedric Coward, Kaylan Dilbeck, Isidro Enriquez and Sonny Fuentes,
Cedric Gonzalez, Kobe Gonzalez, Sebastian Gutierrez, Andrew Guzman, Nicholas Hanson, Menace Her, Nathaniel Hernandez, Nathan Huerta, Jacob Huynh, Omari Jones,
Sean Kelly, Max Kiehlmeier, Melvin Lee, Chris MacDonnell, Brendan Mathieu, Chase Mathieu, Emily McFarland, Matthew Mejarado, Max Moser and Luke Moua,
Bernie Olivas, Michael Parras, Landon Pendergras, Aiden Reyes, Ethan Scholz, Nicholas Schultz, Jacob Tafoya, Issac Vang, Jimmy Vang, Cristian Vasquez, Daylin Vega, Trevor Vertiz, Romeo Xiong, Kong Yang and Evan Yin. Emory McFarland, manager.
Head coach: Jake Howard
Assistants: AJ Blackburn, Robert Lopez, Chris Ohano and Jonathan Trevino.
Players: AJ Aguilar, Daniel Akia, Christian Balakid, Blake Baldwin, Jeremy Bernal, Mateo Calderon, Darrin Chatman, JJ Christopherson, Isaiah Corona, Xavier Corona, Jo’Nation Dejohnette, Chase Gassett, Jaylen Gideon and Timothy Gonzales,
Chandler Hamilton, Johnny Hernandez, Jermiah Hill, Christian Hudiburgh, William LeMunyon, Joseph Lopez, Elias Mart, Javier Martinez, Roman Martinez, Gianni Miranda, Ethan Moua, Michael Navaras, Jermal Pittman, Kai Proum and Fabio Quijano,
Cameron Randazzo-Van Zant, David Requejo, Anthony Rios, Daman Rodriguez, Jonah Schmidtke, Jack Schwass, DeAndre Smith, Joshua Sue, Sylis Thao, Samuel Torralva, Jared Torres, Daymian Vang, Donnie Vaughn, Teddy Vongmysay, William Wiggins, Dylan Willey and Sean Woodard.