It was a game that matched programs representing four of the past seven Central Section Division I football championships and many showdowns in the decade that attracted crowds of more than 6,000.
But when no more than 2,000 arrived for the latest Clovis West-Clovis East Tri-River Athletic Conference duel at Lamonica Stadium on Friday night, one had to wonder whether something had run afoul.
A classic this wasn't, a mismatch it was as the second-ranked Golden Eagles surged toward surely a true showdown at Central next Friday by dominating the No. 10 Timberwolves 28-0.
"It's a huge game," Clovis West linebacker John Winston said a year after the Grizzlies rocked the Eagles 24-3 at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium. "We've been waiting for Week 9 all year. We've got to get ready for it this week in practice and not mess up what we've got going right now."
It is, indeed, a pretty good thing for Clovis West (7-1, 3-0), which won its fifth straight while moving into sole possession of first place in the TRAC, thanks to Buchanan's 14-7 upset of No. 7 Clovis (5-3, 2-1).
Which Central team (6-2, 2-1) will arrive at Koligian Stadium is a puzzle.
Will it be the one that rolled up 509 yards in a 54-34 throttling of No. 8 Clovis North on Thursday? Or the outfit that was outgained 535-285 at home in a 32-25 loss to Clovis the week before?
Eagles first-year coach Mike Parsons, who was present for the Grizzlies' rout of the Broncos, knows this: "They have ridiculous, superb athletes. And it's not just [receiver B.J.] Kelley; they have athletes across the board who can go to the house any time.
"It's huge, man, that's it, that's for a share of the TRAC championship right there."
Clovis West, ranked 19th in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, appeared in championship form offensively and defensively against Clovis East (3-5, 0-3), which lost its fourth straight.
Kendall Brock (95 yards, one touchdown) and Hunter Burns (62, one TD) led a 205-yard running game. And quarterback Ian Hall operated the shotgun wing-T well, also rushing for 28 yards and throwing a 29-yard scoring pass to Clayton Whitehead.
But the Eagles made their most profound statement defensively, stuffing the Timberwolves' double-wing offense to 149 rushing yards on 48 carries, a 3.1 average, behind Winston, linebacker Jordan Brown and linemen Donovan Lewis and Jumoke Hunter.
"Man, they're pretty tough, they're the real deal," said Clovis East quarterback Jerry Haymon, who took over for injured starter Daniel Corona (ACL) two weeks ago.
"I thought I was going to come out here and run all over these guys, but they showed me. They hustle to the ball and they all have an attitude about them. We lost that attitude in the beginning of the season. Hopefully, we'll pick it up and be ready for the playoffs."