Buchanan High defensive back Jack Wilkins just wasn’t having it.
The repeated target of Clovis’ passing game Friday night at Veteran Memorial Stadium, Wilkins came up with four interceptions to help The Bee’s Central Section No. 7-ranked Bears beat the No. 2 Cougars 28-13 in a Tri-River Athletic Conference game pitting two of Division I’s top contenders.
“I just kept playing defense, just kept doing my job,” Wilkins said. “It’s big, it’s good for confidence.”
Wilkins was locked in coverage against Clovis’ explosive Tyson Fraser, who was averaging 16 yards per catch and 100 yards receiving per game.
And Fraser won the first significant one-on-one battle, catching a 20-yard touchdown pass from Trey Lake on fourth-and-10 in the first quarter as Clovis cut Buchanan’s lead to 14-7.
But it was all Wilkins from there.
He intercepted Lake, who entered averaging 219 yards passing per game, to end three consecutive first-half Clovis possessions in Buchanan territory: the first at the 44, the second at the 3 and the third in the end zone.
“He did a great job. Jack fought through,” Bears coach Matt Giordano said. “They threw a touchdown on him early. He didn’t go in the tank. He stayed strong and look what happens, he gets four picks. That’s great mental toughness.”
They threw a touchdown on him early. He didn’t go in the tank. He stayed strong and look what happens, he gets four picks. That’s great mental toughness.
Buchanan coach Matt Giordano on Jack Wilkins, burnt for a TD early only to come back with four interceptions in a 28-13 victory over Clovis
Wilkins’ fourth interception came at the Buchanan 5 with 7:07 remaining and the Bears ahead 28-7, essentially sealing the victory.
“It’s big,” Wilkins said, “It’s good for my confidence. I’ve been having a few rough times, so it’s good to be back up.”
Buchanan (5-3, 1-2) had six turnovers overall as it snapped a two-game skid.
The Bears jumped out quickly, getting a blocked punt from Tavious Hunter at the end of Clovis’ first possession. Two plays later, they went up 7-0 on the first of Trevor Ervin’s three touchdown runs, a 32-yarder.
Zach Presno’s 1-yard touchdown run put Buchanan up 14-0 with 5:27 left in the first quarter.
Ervin’s second touchdown, a 37-yard burst, gave the Bears a 21-7 lead, and his third score, on a 7-yard run, made it 28-7 with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.
Ervin, who finished with 111 yards on 14 carries, carried his biggest load since returning three weeks ago after missing three-plus games with a knee injury suffered Sept. 1 against Bullard.
“It’s been really hard to come back and not get the reps you are used to and not feel you are used to your full potential,” Ervin said. “So it’s amazing to come out here tonight and finally feel like you are being used. It just makes you feels good.”
Buchanan played without junior receiver/defensive back Blake Wells for the second second straight game. Giordano declined to state the reason for Wells’ absence, but said he would return “soon.”
Clovis (6-2, 1-2) also received a 19-yard touchdown pass from Lake to Clayton Alexander one week after seeing its season-opening, six-game winning streak snapped by Central.