Clovis News: Sports

Private schools take cue on rivalry format

For Central Valley Christian athletic director Ryan Tos, the idea pitting several of his school's sports programs against a private-school rival on a Saturday - ala the annual Memorial and Garces matchups - made too much sense not to copy.

So he did.

On Sept. 19, the Cavaliers' cross country, girls tennis, volleyball and football teams will travel south for matchups against Bakersfield Christian. The schools would have met in girls golf, too, had Eagles athletic director Doug Barnett been able to find a course in Bakersfield willing to give up tee times on a Saturday.

"It's two fairly similar school communities, with a lot of cousins and acquaintances at each school," Tos said. "And we'd like to think, two really good athletic programs, too."

The events are staggered so those traveling from Visalia can take in most -- if not all -- of the four sports. Girls tennis starts at 3 p.m., cross country at 4 p.m., volleyball approximately 5 p.m. and the varsity football game at 7 p.m.

"A lot of people are calling me and asking if that is a misprint," Tos said of the Saturday schedule. "Then they are saying 'That's going to be fun.' We're hoping people will travel down to Bakersfield and stay for several events and take advantage of a chance to see a sport they normally wouldn't see."

Tos tried to get the idea -- which he patterned after the annual "Holy Bowl" football game between Catholic schools Memorial and Garces -- off the ground last season. But the Cavaliers-Eagles football game would have gone head-to-head with the 2008 Fresno State-Wisconsin football contest. And he figures that would have cut into attendance.

This year, there's no concern for conflict because Fresno State plays at home against Boise State on Sept. 18.

Bullard in state top 50

Bullard and Tulare, at Nos. 31 and 40, represent the Central Section in Cal-Hi Sports' preseason top 50 football rankings.

Buchanan is listed "On the Bubble."

Cal-Hi's top five are Oaks Christian-Westlake Village, St. Bonaventure-Ventura, De La Salle-Concord, Lutheran-Orange and Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks.

Two teams on Clovis West's nonleague schedule, Centennial-Corona and Servite-Anaheim, are ranked No. 9 and 12. And Clovis East foe Redlands East Valley is No. 28.

Section volleyball shut out

The Preseason Century Club National Top 100 is loaded with California schools, including four in the top 10, but the Central Section didn't make it.

Sacred Heart of Louisville, Ky., is No. 1, with a strong California push in No. 2 Archbishop Mitty-San Jose, No. 3 Mira Costa-Manhattan Beach, No. 7 Lakewood and No. 9 Dos Pueblos-Goleta.

Section schools making "Teams on the Bubble" were Buchanan, Clovis West and Liberty-Bakersfield.

Broncos on a mission

Dos Palos is out to make a statement in its last season in the North Sequoia League.

The fifth-winningest program in state history (586-202-23, 86 years), the one with 46 league championships and 17 section titles, bottomed out last season with a 2-8 overall record and 0-6 mark in the NSL. The Broncos had advanced to the postseason a state-record 29 consecutive times before missing the playoffs.

And the Central Section's CIF office, recognizing Dos Palos' slide, will drop the Broncos into the West Sierra League for football next year. Dos Palos has been competing in the WSL for all sports except football.

The Broncos have lived a football life exclusively in the NSL, and it will hurt to leave -- even though their enrollment (819) justifies the move into the smaller WSL.

"It's very disappointing not to be in the NSL when we've spent our whole history in it," coach Mike Sparks says. "Truth of it is, 0-6 maybe says we're not supposed to be in it. So we'd really like to finish well and prove it was a fluke."

Murphy the boxer?

Tim Murphy, who's taking the year off as Clovis East's football coach to spend more time with family, has tied on the gloves.

Murphy, 39, has been a weight lifter for 20 years, but admittedly has ignored his cardiovascular training. So the answer? Boxing. And his teachers? Brad Alcorn and wife Jenifer, who retired in 2004 as an unbeaten world champion.

"They're very good teachers," Murphy said.

Murphy said he's too old to box competitively, but will continue to train in the Alcorn garage/gym at the northeast Clovis neighborhood they share. And, Murphy says, he'll honor his promise to Clovis East football players that he'll return next year -- actually, immediately following the close of this season.

"That's for sure, and I'll probably be more charged up when I get back," said Murphy, who went 77-22 with two section titles and two runners-up, and six Tri-River Athletic Conference championships in eight seasons with the Timberwolves.

Clovis East's varsity roster, meanwhile -- as high as 82 in its D-I title-winning season of 2006 and routinely in the 70s under Murphy -- has plunged to 50.

"We're very down," interim coach Ryan Reynolds said, "and I would assume we've lost a lot of kids who wanted to play for Murphy. But none of them were key contributors."