Clovis News: Sports

Central blocks way to win

To say Matt Lea was in the right place at the right time would be selling the Central High special teams dynamo way short.

The 5-10, 175-pound sophomore blocked not one but two kicks - each returned for touchdowns - as the sixth-ranked Grizzlies pulled away from No. 16 Clovis East for a 20-7 Tri-River Athletic Conference victory Friday night at Deran Koligian Stadium.

Central (5-2, 2-0) remains tied for the TRAC lead with Buchanan, which beat Clovis West 38-14.

"I'm always trying to go my hardest on special teams," said Lea, who blocked both a punt (his third of the season) and a field goal. "I'm thinking of blocking the kick every time. It's the greatest feeling after you get it to hear the crowd cheer."

Lea's second block wiped out James Ovalle's potential go-ahead 33-yard field goal attempt for Clovis East. The ball bounced into the hands of Nathan Delsid, who returned it 75 yards to put Central ahead 13-7 in the third quarter.

"The ball landed in my hands and I heard a teammate say 'Go, go, go,' " Delsid said. "So I ran. It's a wonderful feeling to help your team win a game."

Lea's heroics came in especially handy considering Clovis East's double-wing offense had the ball most of the night, limiting Central to seven possessions.

"We spend a lot of time on special teams and try to be aggressive," Central coach Casey Quinn said. "Matt takes good angles and reads blocks real well. Plus, the other guys do their jobs to free him up."

Held to 93 yards through the first 42:36 of the game, Central put this one away when Brendon Bigelow took a quick inside run 41 yards for a touchdown with 5:28 left, giving the Grizzlies a 20-7 lead.

Clovis East outgained Central 323-148.