BAKERSFIELD – It didn't take long for Clovis North High to leave its stamp on Central Section football.
The third-year program became the latest Clovis Unified school to capture a section football title, riding the two-headed rushing attack of Bryan Parmer and Trent Barnes and executing a crucial 2-point play stop for a 28-19 upset of top-seeded Garces to win the Division II championship Friday night at Sam Tobias Field.
The district's four other schools – Clovis, Clovis West, Buchanan and Clovis East – all have won at least one title in Division I, which the Broncos will join next season.
"This feels surreal," said first-year Clovis North coach and former Fresno State standout Cory Hall, who took over when legendary coach Tim Simons stepped down for health reasons after launching the program. "For a new program to do this, it speaks volumes to what these kids and these coaches have done."
It was Parmer who added the exclamation point for the third-seeded Broncos (10-3) when he followed a 24-yard run by Barnes with a 1-yard touchdown that made it 28-13 with 50 seconds left. The run pushed Parmer's rushing total to 148 yards, to go along with the 160 yards Barnes picked up behind the powerful offensive line of tackles Isaiah Duran and Joey Garretson, guards Andrew Walker and Philip Paul, and center Tyler Palacios.
"They are the heart and soul of this team," said Parmer, who also had a 19-yard touchdown in the first half. "And it really helps having a fresh back in there all the time. [Barnes] runs his butt off and I do, too."
After building a 21-7 lead late in the third quarter on the second of Barnes' two touchdown runs, Garces (11-2) battled back into it.
Bryan McCuller blocked a punt, and Cameron Pacheco scored on a 2-yard run two plays later as the Rams cut the deficit to 21-13, although they missed the conversion kick.
After holding Clovis North to a three-and-out, Garces scored the potential tying touchdown on a 51-yard pass from Philip Anspach to Jacob Sweaney. But Duran, along with David Ford and Garretson, stopped the Rams' 1,110-yard running back, Nick Vehlewald, cold on the 2-point conversion try.
"I was praying for a miracle right there," Duran said. "That was being in the right place at the right time, and good coaching."
A Garces timeout before the play ended up working to Clovis North's advantage.
"We knew what they were going to do," Hall said. "[Vehlewald] was going to get the ball and we zoomed in on him. We had a couple bad plays there toward the end, but I know this group of guys. If you push them, they can handle adversity."