Casey Quinn’s coaching return to Fresno County found a mismatch at Sunnyside Stadium on a muggy Thursday night as Clovis North combined the 110-yard rushing of Jordan Ayerza with five turnovers in a 30-6 season-opening win over the Wildcats.
Quinn, who had coached previously at Chavez in Delano, Roosevelt and Central, never had to sweat – even under the weather conditions – particularly after Isaiah Cordova returned a fumble recovery 48 yards for a touchdown and a 30-0 Broncos lead with 8 minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Cordova also had an interception, as did Brock Jones and Garret Billhofer, and Trenton Holloway recovered a fumble, all of which led to wire-to-wire comforting field position for Clovis North of the Tri-River Athletic Conference.
Ayerza, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior operating as a single back out of Quinn’s spread attack, carried 18 times for 86 yards in the first half and finished with 26 carries overall for the Broncos – No. 10 in The Fresno Bee’s preseason rankings.
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For No. 16 Sunnyside of the North Yosemite League, this launched an ambitious and bold nonleague schedule by coach Gordon Wood.
The D-II Wildcats will follow this with games against No. 5 Central of the TRAC, Mt. Whitney of the West Yosemite League, No. 19 Clovis East of the TRAC and No. 15 Memorial of the County/Metro Athletic Conference.
Sanger 28, Fresno 21
The Bee’s No. 7 Apaches overcame four first-half turnovers and a late scare from the unranked Warriors to hold on for the season-opening win at McLane Stadium.
Sanger took the lead for good with 9:03 left on Jacob Tijerina’s 1-yard plunge.
Fresno marched back down the field, getting a key fourth-down conversion from explosive quarterback Khory Day, before the Apaches held their ground at their 29-yard line with 3:05 to play.
Miguel Garcia carried four straight plays while picking up 34 yards to help Sanger run out the clock.
“Finish, hold the ball and let’s get this W,” Garcia, who finished with 145 yards rushing, said of the final drive.
Garcia scored on a 2-yard run and Andrew Azua added a 10-yard scoring run as Sanger built a 21-7 lead in the third quarter.
Fresno rallied on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Day to Lee Major and a 1-yard TD run by Alonzo Pollard in the third quarter to tie the score at 21-21.
Fresno was playing without coach Ray Reyes, who stepped down in early August because of health concerns.
Reyes will stay on at Fresno as an assistant athletic director, according to to athletic director Dave Barton, and will mentor interim coach Joe Marquez and his assistants. Marquez, who was the Warriors’ offensive coordinator last year, is in his third season at Fresno.
Reyes was in his second stint as Fresno coach.
“Our goal was to get the program where it should be, where we can compete for league titles,” Barton said. “And Ray has done that. He’s put health back into the program.”
Hanford West 20, McLane 12
The Huskies, 1-9 a year ago and without a winning season since 2005, rallied for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to spoil the debut of ex-Fresno State receiver Brian Roberson as the Highlanders coach.
Desmond Howard’s touchdown erased McLane’s 12-7 lead and Dameane Douglas threw to Howard for a TD to cap the scoring.
Golden West 41, Monache 14
Ian Kelly returned the opening kick for a touchdown and the Trailblazers never looked back in routing the Monarchs.
It was the first season-opening victory for Golden West in 10 years, according to the Visalia Times-Delta.
Clovis North 30, Sunnyside 6
Clovis North (1-0)
CN: Brock Jones 7 run (Jack Cooper kick)
CN: David Akande 1 run (Cooper kick)
CN: Bailey 36 run (Cooper kick)
CN: FG Cooper 27
CN: Isaiah Cordova 48 fumble return (kick failed)
S: Joshua Woods 11 pass from Nate Hughes (run failed)
RUSHING: CN, Jordan Ayerza 26-110, Brent Bailey 10-54, Brock Jones 4-23, David Akande 1-1. S, Ricky Valderrama 12-57, Nate Hughes 7-(-5), Marcus Hawkins 3-(-4), Devon Jones 2-11, Decova Sneed 3-1, Deshawn Ruffin 1-(-1), Dyandre Moorehead 1-2, Isaiah Maxwell 1-3.
PASSING: CN, Bailey 3-11-0-14. S, Hughes 11-24-3-115, Hawkins 0-1-0-0, Sneed 1-1-0-12.
RECEIVING: CN, Chad Fugman 3-0, Garrett Billhofer 1-14. S, Joshua Woods 3-31, Jesus Castaneda 5-81, Valderrama 1-(-7), Moorehead 1-7.
Sanger 28, Fresno 21
S: Christian Graney 7 run (Andrew Azua kick)
F: Khory Day 3 run (Francisco Pantoja kick)
S: Miguel Garcia 2 run (Azua kick)
S: Azua 10 run (Azua kick)
F: Lee Major 65 pass from Day (Pantoja kick)
F: Alonzo Pollard 1 run (Pantoja kick)
S: Jacob Tijerina 1 run (Azua kick)
RUSHING: S, Azua 8-58, Christopher Soria 6-49, Garcia 15-145, Graney 10-37, Jalen Cropper 1-0; Tijerina 4-13. F, Santos Arreola 3-4, Day 17-98, Alonzo Pollard 3-3, major 6-19.
PASSING: S, Tijernia 1-5-1-16. F, Day 9-21-0153; Nick Southern 2-2-0-37
RECEIVING: S, Arron Mosby 1-11. F, Major 5-122, Adrian Mendoza 2-10, Arreola 1-17, Adrian Hernandez 1-1, Pollard 2-40.