Clovis News

Clovis West wins 9th football title

For all their history -- and when discussing Central Section Division I football, you begin with Bakersfield and Clovis West -- surely this was unprecedented.

The Drillers, leading 7-6 in the D-I championship at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday night, marched 83 yards in 19 plays, swallowing more than 10 minutes off the clock, and faced fourth-and-goal on the Golden Eagles' 1 in the final minute of the first half.

Bakersfield quarterback Brian Burrell mishandled the snap, fumbled and Clovis West tackle Justin Flores recovered with 17 seconds remaining.

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Burrell: "My fault."

Flores: "God's gift, and I held onto it like it was my own baby."

And Eagles coach Mike Parsons: "That was the game, right there."

Ultimately, it was, as top-seeded Clovis West charged into the locker room with that momentum, held the No. 3 Drillers to 24 yards in the second half, received a trick-play pass completion and rushing touchdown from Kendall Brock and won 20-10.

It was the Eagles' ninth section title in 25 years and third against Bakersfield.

The Drillers' state-record 34th was achieved at home in shocking fashion in 2007, when they scored 13 points in the final 9 minutes for a 19-16 decision over Clovis West.

What a reversal on a night the Eagles closed at 12-1 against the 10-3 Drillers.

"One quarter and one play -- that was pretty much it," Parsons said.

Well, not really.

A game of several impact plays included Brock's 12-yard completion to Luke Reyes out of punt formation on fourth-and-6 midway through the fourth quarter.

Brock's first pass attempt since eighth grade advanced the ball to the Bakersfield 38-yard line. Three plays later, he made his signature cutback move and scored his 40th touchdown of the season on a 19-yard run for a 20-10 lead with 6:59 remaining.

Parsons, who went 15-0 and won a CIF State Small Schools Bowl title at Modesto Christian last season, added the fake punt to the Eagles' arsenal this week.

Brock carried 22 times for 121 yards while vaulting past Matt Jelmini's 2,271 for a school-record 2,313. But perhaps nothing will be more memorable than the pass: "I prayed to God I was not going to overthrow it, and I thought I did, but Luke made a huge catch."

Clovis West had taken a 13-10 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 40-yard pass from Ian Hall to Aaron Chastain as Drillers star safety Mercy Maston fell to the ground.

Flores finished with five tackles for losses, including a key 9-yard sack in the fourth quarter. Also prominent in stuffing the Drillers' option offense were linebackers Kurtis Palacios and Jordan Brown, who also helped seal the deal with punishing runs at fullback.

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