Clovis News: Sports

Buchanan loses bid to host football title games

Clovis Unified will keep trying to bring a third state championship event to the area -- even after Buchanan High's Veterans Memorial Stadium lost out to host the state football championships.

The California Interscholastic Federation announced Monday that it has signed a three-year deal to keep the bowl games at the The Home Depot Center in Carson, where they have been staged since their inception in 2006.

"We're going to continue to go after it," said Steve France, Clovis Unified's superintendent of educational services.

"It's a premier event. Anything we can do to help our area, we're going to do. ... Maybe it will help us get a team invited" to play in a state bowl, which has yet to feature a team from the Central Section.

France said the district's bid to host the bowls at Buchanan through the 2012 season was among the final three. Bakersfield College's Memorial Stadium, the Los Angeles Coliseum, San Jose State's Spartan Stadium and Stanford Stadium also were in the running.

Considering the competing venues, Clovis Unified was a long shot to add the football bowls to an area that already hosts two state events: the Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park (for the past 23 years) and the Track and Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium (for the first time last June).

"When you are up against Spartan Stadium and the Home Depot Center and the Coliseum, it was nice to at least get a visit and consideration," France said. "I think what we did with the state track meet spoke volumes for Clovis Unified."

Factors that weighed into the CIF's decision to return to Home Depot Center included the size of the venue, its location in the heart of the powerful Southern Section and the chance to further establish the tradition of the state bowl games.

"We're trying not only to create and develop an event, but generate a goal that Home Depot Center is a final destination for our football teams like the 'Road to Arco' [Arena] in Sacramento is for our state basketball championships, or the 'Road to Woodward Park' in Fresno is for our state cross country championships," CIF executive director Marie M. Ishida said in a news release. "We now have that mystique for the football championships."

Next season's two-day, five-game (Open Division, Divisions I, II, III and Small Schools) event will be Dec. 17-18. The selection of the participating teams will be on Dec. 12.