Clovis News

Central Section football gets short end again

After further review, we make these calls post Championship Friday in Central Section football:

  • So our section is stiffed for the fifth consecutive year Sunday morning in the CIF State Bowl Championships selections. Expected.

As a reminder, the five bowls match South vs. North, and the Central Section is attached to the South.

Conceding that bias toward SoCal schools will forever exist, there are two answers for the section.

First, it belongs in the North -- for all sports, actually -- but that's not going to happen because CIF voting members from the North know without question that the Central Section would become a key player instantly in that region and take away many individual and team postseason positions.

Second -- and this is much more likely regarding the bowls -- expand to a two-week format that would call for regional semifinals and double the participation.

"It was discussed at the last State Federated Council meeting and may be up for a vote sometime in 2011," Central Section commissioner Jim Crichlow said Sunday. "There's more sentiment for it and it's getting much closer."

Had that format been in existence this year, Clovis West and Washington would likely have been involved.

  • Dan Brown is smiling from above today after son No. 4, Jordan, delivered a success story few know about outside of Clovis West, which defeated Bakersfield 20-10 for the section Division I title at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium.

To let Golden Eagles record-breaking running back Kendall Brock explain it, Jordan was "always kind of the chubby kid who didn't know he'd make it. He never really even saw the field until last year. Then he slimmed down, became more athletic and blocked like no one else. He's one of the main reasons I was so successful."

Jordan Brown -- 5-feet-9, 245 pounds in eighth grade; 6-0, 205 today -- played a prominent role both at fullback and linebacker as 12-1 Clovis West captured its ninth section title.

The Eagles won No. 8 in 2008, the senior year of Travis Brown -- son No. 3 of Dan Brown, the longtime Fresno State defensive coordinator, who died of cancer in March 2009.

Travis, as opposed to Jordan, was a can't-miss Clovis West star who signed with the Bulldogs a month before his father died.

"Jordan was a guard as a freshman," Clovis West coach Mike Parsons said. "He talked with his dad when his dad was sick and they promised themselves Jordan would play linebacker and fullback. He worked his tail in the weight room and made himself an athlete."

  • Were you one of the many who scoffed when Clovis West -- as only Clovis West would do -- held an eight-coach audition last spring that had each execute 45-minute practices in a two-day process assessed by high-level administration?

The winner, Parsons, would be found behind Door 8 in a search that intensified like never before as the program would name its fifth coach in as many years.

All Parsons did was take a school coming off but its third losing season in 29; make a seamless transition with a staff that included a recently fired Clovis coach (Jerry Campbell) and Parson's predecessor (interim and school alum Coby Lindsey, who wanted the permanent position); install his personalized shotgun wing-T with electric efficiency; win the D-I championship; and then afterward, as would be his M.O. all season, embrace his children and welcome congratulators without an ounce of ego.

The idea was to hire a competent coach who could handle the most pressurized coaching position in all of section athletics and -- the kicker -- to keep him.

Parsons, deep rooted locally (Chowchilla), is going nowhere.

Nice hire.

  • All that fuss about Clovis West's five-year coaching carousel, yet consider -- the Eagles made D-I finals in four of them, winning two.

Further, they've done what no other football program in modern day section history has -- making 16 of the past 28 D-I title games and winning nine.

  • Tyler Bray passed for 3,321 yards and 41 touchdowns while leading Kingsburg to a 13-0 record and the section D-IV title in 2009.

And to think, given the degree of difficulty, his performance is trumped -- at the same school, at the same position, yet by a natural tailback -- a year later.

Everything considered -- from Garrett Steele's emergency shift from running back to quarterback at halftime in the team's season opener; to his magical first- and last-game YouTube winning passes; to his final stats (more than 2,000 yards both rushing and passing; 49 touchdowns accounted for); and 26-21 D-III championship win over previously unbeaten Porterville -- this has to be a story unrivaled in the history of section football.

  • And there's yet another Steele chapter that's no doubt unprecedented: Besides Garrett, cousins Tyler (freshman team) and Brandon (JV) were starting quarterbacks this season at Kingsburg as freshmen.
  • Given long and recent history (no section football titles and runner-up in 2009), failing to secure a 20-point lead and losing on Steele's maddening escape and 81-yard TD pass on fourth-and-10 in the final minutes, Porterville's loss at home before a massive orange-and-green gallery was as unbearable as it gets.
  • Wrote Porterville Recorder's Charles Whisnand: "... what could have been the first Valley title in football in school history turned into the cruelest reality imaginable."

    But the Panthers have learned life lessons that will hopefully never be lost: Having had one former teammate (Richie Coppenbarger) contract cancer, another (Jacob Van Winkle) die in a car accident and now this.

    • Those weren't D-IV athletes playing catch for Washington (see Sean Stell, Deontay Greenberry, Donald Phelps, Josh Williams) in a 48-21 rout of Coalinga at Easton.

    Panthers administration successfully appealed to remain in the division this season after the football program had originally been elevated to D-III by the section's CIF brass as part of its competitive equity driven playoff realignment. And those adjustments will be made annually.

    Warning to the suits in purple: Don't even try again. Washington football won't see the light of day in D-IV for a long, long time -- if ever.