The play that helped keep Clovis High's undefeated football season stay alive pretty much summed up the Cougars' night – one big escape.
On fourth-and-17, quarterback Jaryd Weakley connected with Eric Jett for a 32-yard touchdown that lifted the top-ranked Cougars to a 27-21 overtime victory over No. 7 Clovis North on Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Weakley scrambled away from pressure before getting the ball off to Jett, who somehow slipped past two defenders at the 5 and took it the rest of the way. Clovis (9-0, 4-0) claims at least a tie for its first Tri-River Athletic Conference title since 2002, and with a win next week against Clovis West can secure its first outright title since 1996.
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"I give it all to him," Weakley said of his No. 1 target. "Me and Jett have had a great connection all year. He made one heck of a play. This proves that no matter what, don't count the Cougars out."
Jett was seemingly posted up in the center of the field against Clovis North (5-3, 2-2), waiting for Weakley's throw after running what the Cougars call their landmark route.
"That was a good job by Jaryd getting the ball in the air and escaping a couple of guys," Jett said. "I was just thinking catch it, then worry about running."
The touchdown pass came four plays after Dakota Gordon and Nick Nevills stuffed Clovis North quarterback Christian Rossi on fourth-and-1 to deny the Broncos on their first overtime possession.
Clovis didn't appear to have its A-game while being held to 28 yards in the first half and falling behind 14-7. The Cougars came to life in the second half with touchdown runs of 2 and 5 yards by Roderick Arms.
"I'm proud of our kids' fight," Cougars coach Rich Hammond said. "They don't give up. Being a good team sometimes requires you to win when you don't play your best."
Clovis missed a chance to snap a 21-21 tie in regulation when Jacob Poindexter missed a 23-yard field goal with 5:51 left.
The defense, however, twice held Clovis North down the stretch.
"Our defense did a great job," Jett said. "They kept it close for us."
The Broncos tied it early in the fourth quarter on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Rossi to Collin Hansen.
Clovis scored first as Adrian Salas returned an interception 55 yards on the game's first series. Clovis North responded with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Rossi to Hansen, and a 25-yard interception return by Bryan Toles.