Clovis High’s defense stuffed a 2-point conversion attempt in the closing seconds as the Cougars – anointed this week as the Central Section’s top-ranked team by The Bee – outlasted Stockdale 28-27 in a Friday night nonleague thriller.
Trey Lake and Tyson Fraser connected for three second-half touchdown passes for the Cougars (4-0), two in the fourth quarter, with the last one a tiebreaking 55-yarder with 8:14 to play. Lake finished 18 of 30 for 338 yards. Fraser had 189 receiving yards.
Stockdale (3-1) came up with a stop on fourth-and-2, leaving the 11th-ranked Mustangs with 2 minutes, 59 seconds to go 56 yards. A pass-interference call on third-and-16 moved the ball to the Clovis 26, Elisha Ortiz converted a fourth-and-1 run with 28.7 left and the Cougars defense dropped a near-certain interception with 14.2 to play.
That all helped set up what was eventually a fourth-and-4 from the 15 with 8.5 to play, with Stockdale’s Jacob Ruley then hitting Jalen Smith for the touchdown. The Mustangs went for the win but Ortiz, on a pitch left, was stopped by Clayton Alexander and Clovis recovered the ensuing onside kick to secure the win.
“We go for the win. We are trained to win,” Stockdale coach Brett Shelton told the Bakersfield Californian. “It’s as simple as that. Life’s too short to play it safe.”
It marked the third straight year that Clovis traveled to Bakersfield and came home with a one-point regular-season win. The Cougars beat Centennial 28-27 a year ago and Stockdale 21-20 in 2014.
But it was ugly for Clovis for much of Friday. The Cougars were flagged 15 times for 164 yards, including three unsportsmanlike penalties to end the half after they had a first-and-goal at the Stockdale 9.
Bouncing back from a loss that knocked them out of the No. 1 spot, the seventh-ranked Patriots (3-1) spotted the No. 4 Bears (3-1) an early lead before delivering a series of big plays in cruising to victory.
Senior cornerback/wide receiver Johnny Balderas was in the middle of much of it, returning a kick 90 yards to pull Liberty within a point in the first quarter, returning a third-quarter interception 43 yards for a touchdown that made it 28-7 and breaking up another pass that stopped Buchanan on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter.
“I’ve been saying all week I’m going to make big plays,” Balderas said. “Last week (a 38-0 loss to Central) wasn’t what we usually are, and we had to get our mindset right.”
The Patriots overcame the loss of Bryson Faulconer, who before suffering a first-half concussion delivered a touchdown pass and 2-point conversion toss to give his team a 14-7 lead with 1:03 to go in the first quarter. That followed the Bears’ decision to attempt a fake punt on fourth-and-1 from their 16; the move failed and Grant Bice took a tipped screen pass 15 yards and bounced off several defenders for the go-ahead score.
Zach Presno’s 55-yard run on third-and-9 gave Buchanan a 7-0 lead with 4:25 left in the opening quarter, but the Bears did not score again until Tyler Hall’s run with 12 seconds to play. Buchanan was held to 179 yards of total offense.
Sophomore Isaiah Hill filled in for Faulconer and passed for 41 yards and ran for 47 behind an offensive line that included two more sophomores, Daniel Viveros and Brycen Lindsey.
Sophomore running back Marcus Fulcher scored three touchdowns, including a 45-yard breakaway in the fourth quarter as the fifth-ranked Knights (2-2) closed the door on the visiting Golden Hawks (1-3).
Davion Franklin’s 9-yard touchdown run gave Bullard the early lead. Fulcher took over in the second quarter, scoring his first touchdown on a 1-yard run. He also ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Knights a 14-0 halftime lead.
In the third, Fulcher was on the receiving end of Jack Taylor’s 18-yard pass as he juked his way into the end zone.
The Knights defense kept the Golden Hawks grounded, with Ben Baker, Corey Scott and Joshua Kelly all picking off Centennial quarterback Will Alexander.
Centennial managed just 104 yards of total offense.
The host Thunder, a perennial state playoff contender from east of Sacramento, rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit to beat the Golden Eagles.
Rocklin (3-1) was ranked No. 5 in the region by The Sacramento Bee. Clovis West (2-2) was No. 6 in The Bee’s rankings.
The Golden Eagles led 24-7 and made it 27-21 with 2:33 left on a field goal. But the Thunder scored a touchdown in the final 20 seconds.
Clovis West junior Gabe Solorio was taken off the field by ambulance in the first half after suffering a broken left leg. Golden Eagles coach George Petrissans said Solorio had surgery Saturday morning and is expected to make a full recovery.
Broncos quarterback Brent Bailey accounted for four touchdowns and rushed for 192 yards as ninth-ranked Clovis North topped the No. 10 Tigers at Buchanan Stadium.
Bailey, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior, displayed a combination of toughness and speed while rushing for touchdowns of 1, 66 and 19 yards among his 21 carries for the Broncos (3-1). He also connected on a 38-yard strike to receiver Chad Fugman.
Down 13 with 2:44 left, Edison staged a rally. Quarterback Adrian Galarza, who started, then was benched before re-entering the game late, completed 4 of 5 passes on the Tigers’ final drive, including a 27-yard touchdown to Teyjohn Harrington with 1:25 left.
Edison (0-4) appeared to recover the ensuing onside kick. But referees called an illegal block that forced the Tigers to kick off again. The Tigers were flagged for a similar penalty and referees ruled that the ball also never traveled 10 yards, giving possession to Clovis North.
Tigers running back Jaylan King finished with 19 carries for 126 yards, including touchdown runs from 1 and 45 yards.
One of the section’s top scoring teams hardly needs the help, but the No. 12 Apaches eagerly capitalized on opposition mistakes while winning their fourth straight to start the season.
Senior Andrew Azua rushed for three scores and caught a touchdown pass while also handling punting duties and hitting 7 of 8 conversion kicks; Sanger’s first-team defense did not allow a TD for the third straight game; and the Tigers (0-4) turned it over six times at Tom Flores Stadium.
Sanger scored 55 for the second straight week, pushing its season total to 169 – one point behind Exeter for the section lead.
Christian Graney, another senior, continues to make the most out of a handful of touches. A week after scoring three touchdowns among his five carries and one reception in a 55-13 win over Clovis East, Graney opened the scoring against Lemoore with a 10-yard run and finished with five carries for 57 yards and one catch for 34.
After a bye, Sanger will host rival Reedley on Sept. 30.
Frankie Ayon threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kobe Garner with 24 seconds left to lift the No. 16 Rangers (4-0) over the No. 13 Mustangs (2-1) at Bob Mathias Stadium.
Redwood closed to 26-21 with 3:53 left on Ayon’s 22-yard scoring strike to Garner, then forced a Tulare Western punt to get the ball back with 1:33 left and no timeouts.
The winning drive was extended when Ayon connected with Cooper Allen for 31 yards on fourth-and-16 from the Mustangs 36.
After an illegal-substitution penalty against Redwood, Ayon hit Garner on a quick fade route to give the Rangers their only lead.
Tulare Western lead 14-0 after Joshua Portillo returned the opening kickoff of the second half 97 yards for a score.
Redwood, limited to 38 yards in the first half, responded with Michael Harris’ 4-yard touchdown run before the Mustangs pushed the lead to 20-7 on David Alcantar’s 2-yard scoring run.
Redwood’s 20-point fourth quarter was launched on Ayon’s 2-yard touchdown run that was countered by Andrew Trevino’s 1-yard TD that put the Mustangs ahead 26-21.
Ayon finished with 218 yards passing.
Tulare Western’s Andre Aguilar passed for 241 yards and rushed for 50, while Alcantar rushed for 70 and caught nine passes for 119 yards.
Andrew Valdez ran for a 4-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter as the unranked Miners (2-2) surprised the No. 15 Emperors (2-1).
Valdez finished with two touchdowns, also scoring on a 6-yard run, while finishing with 136 yards on 32 carries.
El Diamante’s Kymonte Williams completed 7 of 17 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
Dinuba, which trailed 13-10 at halftime, received 155 yards on 21 carries from Luis Colunga.
The No. 17 Bears (3-0) got touchdowns from five players to dominate the visiting Horned Toads (2-1) before the game was called at halftime after shots were fired outside Staley Stadium.
Selma had totaled 235 rushing yards, led by Jordan Dominguez with six carries for 101 yards and a score. Junior Ramirez passed for a touchdown and ran for a score.
Jaden Jimenez had 12 carries for 78 yards for Coalinga.
Lee Major had a big all-around game to help the No. 19 Warriors (2-1) beat the Gauchos (1-3) at Merced College.
Major scored touchdowns receiving and rushing and had an interception, fumble recovery and forced fumble on defense.
Khory Day scored Fresno’s other touchdown, and after going ahead 19-10 the Warriors stopped El Capitan scoring drives with a turnover and a missed field goal.
Tyler Villines passed for three touchdowns to lead the Eagles (2-1) past the Mustangs (0-3).
Villines connected with Tyler Vanderlinden for scores of 41 and 46 yards and with Julian Castro on a 16-yard TD.
The host Pioneers (1-3) ended a seven-game losing streak by beating the Hawks (1-3) at Mineral King Bowl in Visalia.
All of the scoring happened in the third quarter. Quarterback Michael Ynclan and Zack Reza hooked up on two touchdowns for a 14-0 Mt. Whitney lead and Jaden Enriquez rushed for the Mission Oak touchdown. The Hawks’ 2-point try failed.
Mission Oak’s last possession ended on downs.
The Huskies are the inaugural winners of Hanford’s new crosstown rivalry, rallying behind quarterback Dameane Douglas after trailing by 15 in the third quarter.
Douglas threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, with the last of his scoring tosses going 30 yards to Desmond Howard with 1:06 to play. The Huskies, ahead of their other city rivalry game against Hanford High, are 3-1 for the first time since opening 4-1 in 2012.
Quarterback Miguel Wharton ran for 207 yards and a TD but the Hanford Sentinel reported he left in the fourth quarter with an injury as the Golden Bears fell to 2-2.
Ronnie Reyes rushed for four touchdowns, including a 1-yarder in the fourth quarter to continue an unbeaten start to the season.
Chowchilla (3-0) took a 21-7 lead in the second quarter after Asa Shields 19-yard touchdown run, but the Cavaliers (2-2) ralliedto tie it in the second half on the arm of JJ Lino.
Lino threw for two third-quarter touchdowns, a 25-yarder to Gavin Salierno and one of 18 yards to Scott Vanderwall that made it 28-28 with 7:17 remaining in the period.
Lino was 17 for 28 with 349 yards passing and three touchdowns but it wasn't enough to stop the Redskins' running game.
Carlos Iniquez broke the tie on a 7-yard touchdown run before Reyes sealed it in the fourth.
Reyes finished with a game-high 195 yards rushing on 19 carries, while Shields added 152 yards on 11 carries. Chowchilla totaled 480 rushing yards.
Three Hawks players had two rushing touchdowns apiece in a thrashing of the visiting Redcats.
Christian Baker, Wyatt Roth and Kaleb Roth all found the end zone multiple times for Liberty (1-3).
Wyatt Roth opened the scoring on a 70-yard touchdown run and finished with a game-high 179 yards on 15 carries. Baker added 85 yards on nine carries.
The Redcats (1-3) produced just 75 yards of total offense as they dropped their third straight.
Tylor Palmer scored a pair of rushing touchdowns as the Eagles won on the road against the Cowboys.
Firebaugh, ranked third in Div. V, improves to a perfect 3-0 to start the season while Riverdale falls to 2-2.
Alex Puga rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns to power the visiting Blue Raiders (3-0) past the Chieftains (2-1) in Tollhouse.
Gonzalo Rodriguez rushed for 215 yards and five touchdowns to help the Trailblazers (3-0) defeat the Stallions (2-2) to continue their unbeaten run.
Five receivers caught touchdowns as the host Bears (3-1) rolled to a 35-6 halftime lead en route to a win over the Coyotes (0-4) at Golden Valley Stadium.
Merced scored on five of its first six possessions, totaling 262 yards. Sophomore Dhameer Warren, who’s the quarterback following a season-ending injury to senior Jake Foss in the opener, passed for 222 yards in the half.
Eric Escobar scored Madera’s lone first-half touchdown on a pass from Jerry Hernandez.
Mason Leao rushed for two touchdowns but the Broncos, who were playing in the wake of an alleged hazing scandal that has led to the arrest of four players, couldn’t rally past the Tigers and fell to 2-1.
The Blue Raiders improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2010 with their victory in Tollhouse, handing the Chieftains for their first defeat after winning their first two games.
The roundup is compiled from reports by Bee staff writers Bryant-Jon Anteola and Angel Moreno, local schools and contributions from the Bakersfield Californian. Coaches: to include your results, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How The Bee’s Top 20 fared
1. Clovis d. No. 11 Stockdale 28-27
2. Bakersfield l. to Chaminade-West Hills 28-20
3. Central d. Frontier 59-17
4. Buchanan l. to No. 7 Liberty-Bakersfield 35-14
5. Bullard d. Centennial 35-7
6. Clovis West l. 28-27 to Rocklin
7. Liberty-Bakersfield d. No. 4 Buchanan 35-14
8. Ridgeview, idle
9. Clovis North d. No. 10 Edison 27-21
10. Edison l. to No. 9 Clovis North 27-21
11. Stockdale l. to No. 1 Clovis 28-27
12. Sanger d. Lemoore 55-14
13. Tulare Western l. to No. 16 Redwood 27-26
14. Memorial at Garces, Saturday
15. Dinuba l. to El Diamante 25-24
16. Redwood d. No. 13 Tulare Western 27-26
17. Selma d. Coalinga 34-0
18. Sunnyside d. Clovis East 50-0
19. Fresno d. El Capitan-Merced 19-10
20. Tulare, idle