Pretty much a perfect day of football for Matt Giordano saw Jeff Tedford land the Fresno State job and Buchanan High dominate Bullard 30-9 in the first round of the Central Section Division I playoffs Thursday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Giordano, as a safety, played on two bowl teams for Tedford in 2003-04 at Cal. Giordano then played nine years in the NFL, his last in 2013 with the-then St. Louis Rams.
He coordinated Buchanan’s defense last year before taking over the Tri-River Athletic Conference program this season.
Nolan LeForge passed for 238 yards and a touchdown, and Fresno Bee Player of the Year candidate Zach Presno extended a marvelous season at running back and linebacker as the seventh-seeded Bears improved to 7-4 with their second win over No. 10 Bullard.
Never miss a local story.
If you want to find what we look for as coaches, it’s Zach Presno.
Buchanan coach Matt Giordano on his senior running back/linebacker
Buchanan, which led 28-0 at halftime en route to a 28-17 nonleague victory over the Knights on Sept. 1, now climbs the ladder significantly in terms of competition in a quarterfinal against No. 2 Bakersfield No. 18 at West High.
The 8-2 Drillers – champions of the Southwest Yosemite League and state record-holders with 36 section titles – have played their “home” games on various fields in Kern County this season while historic Griffith Field is being renovated.
“I was kind of looking forward to playing there,” Giordano said. “I’ve heard the stories.”
A story – and perhaps one that wouldn’t surprise many – would have Tedford speed-dial Giordano and offer him a job on the Bulldogs’ staff.
Giordano wouldn’t bite when asked about the possible scenario Thursday night. But he didn’t exactly reject the idea, either: “I’m focused right now on the Buchanan Bears, and I’m very happy.”
Most pleasing to him is Presno, a Fresno State-bound and Bee All-Star catcher who also happens to be one of the section’s most dominant two-way players.
“If you want to find what we look for as coaches, it’s Zach Presno,” Giordano said of the 6-foot, 185-pounder. “The way he carries himself on and off the field, he’s just a true Buchanan Bear. I can’t say enough about that young man.”
Buchanan complemented LeForge’s passing with 171 yards rushing behind Trevor Ervin (14 carries, 57 yards), freshman Kendall Milton (12-53, one TD) and Presno (7-33).
Jack Wilkins, a rising star as a junior cornerback, was another key in shutting out Bullard (5-6) in the second half.
Attention in the Knights’ program now shifts to 17-year coach Donnie Arax (125-69-1), who said said earlier this week he’s going to “take a couple weeks” to figure out his coaching future and “go from there.”