A school that has produced a string of outstanding quarterbacks dating to Daryle Lamonica could have another.
Clovis High School overcame Sac-Joaquin Section power Turlock 34-28 in overtime on the road Friday night behind 348 passing yards and three touchdowns from senior Trey Lake, who was making his second varsity start in football but is no stranger to varsity-level competition.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder completed 23 of 40 passes with no interceptions and touchdowns of 11 yards to Clayton Alexander, and 30 and 53 yards to Tyson Fraser.
“He really, really played an excellent football game,” Cougars coach Rich Hammond said. “We probably even left some yards out there on drops. I was really excited to see how well he played.”
Lake, the son of Clovis girls and boys volleyball coach Rich Lake, has played varsity volleyball since his freshman year and varsity basketball since his sophomore year. He has played in more than 100 varsity games between the two sports, experience that is paying off in his first opportunity to run the football team.
“He’s had his feet in the varsity fire for some time,” Hammond said. “He’s just one of those great high school athletes. He plays every sport and he’s good at all of them. He just goes from one sport to the next and he’s constantly competing and trying to be the best. That’s showing on the field right now.”
He’s just one of those great high school athletes. He plays every sport and he’s good at all of them. He just goes from one sport to the next and he’s constantly competing and trying to be the best. That’s showing on the field right now.
Clovis football coach Rich Hammond, on Trey Lake, a senior who’s taken over the Cougars’ quarterback job after after playing varsity volleyball since his freshman year and varsity basketball since his sophomore year
As a sophomore, Lake was brought up to the varsity football team for its playoff run in 2014, and last season, he competed for the starting job with then-senior Sean Kuenzinger.
Kuenzinger passed for 3,056 yards and 30 touchdowns while leading Clovis into the Central Section Division I final, which it lost 56-21 to Liberty-Bakersfield. Lake has passed for 503 yards and six touchdowns while completing 35 of 57 passes in helping the Cougars, ranked third in the section by The Fresno Bee, to a 2-0 start.
“He gave Sean a very spirited competition last year,” Hammond said. “And now it’s Trey’s time to shine. He waited his turn and did the right things.”
Clovis is one of five undefeated Division I teams – along with Liberty, Buchanan, Bakersfield and Stockdale – through two games.
But the Cougars needed some late heroics to remain undefeated Friday. Clovis squandered leads of 14-0 and 28-14 before Turlock tied the score 28-28 with 6:29 left in regulation on Mark Flores’ 15-yard touchdown run.
The Cougars responded with Nash Vidmar’s five-yard scoring run in overtime, then put it away on Bailey Obernesser’s interception on the Bulldogs’ ensuing possession.
With a group of three-year starters including running back Samir Allen, defensive back Dyllon Hudec, defensive lineman Quinn Vosmera, linebacker Trevor Hartmann, defensive lineman Spencer Smith, tight end/linebacker Alexander and receiver Fraser, Clovis appears poised for another deep playoff run.
“This is a big luxury for us,” said Hammond, whose Cougars next face No. 2 Bullard for the first time in seven years Friday. “These guys learned how to get the whole deal going. It was tremendous we got to the final last season, and it would be even better to see if we can take it one more step this year and play past the section final.”
Western turnaround – When coach Ryan Rocha arrived at his alma mater four years ago, Tulare Western was coming off an 0-10 season and hadn’t won an East Yosemite League title or playoff game since 2004.
Now, Rocha and his first graduating class have the 14th-ranked Mustangs off to a 2-0 start following a 54-20 victory over Mt. Whitney that featured 187 passing yards, 108 rushing yardsand a combined four touchdowns from senior quarterback Andre Aguilar.
“These kids, you know, they just raised their hands and said, ‘Sure, I’ll play football,’ ” Rocha said. “So they didn’t listen to naysayers. They bought in from the get-go. They are in their fourth year of weight training, and these kids are my strongest I’ve ever had. They really believe in each other and everything around them.”
Tulare Western, which reached the Division III semifinals last season, is 25-12 under Rocha and appears to be a strong contender for a second straight EYL title and another postseason berth.
The Mustangs looked the part of championship contender against Mt. Whitney, particularly in the second half.
After giving up two long touchdown runs while allowing the Pioneers to tie the score 20-20 late in the second quarter, Tulare Western reeled off 34 unanswered points to make it a rout.
Aguilar scored on a 31-yard run and threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to LJ Early as Tulare Western jumped out to a 20-0 lead. He then put the Mustangs ahead for good with a one-yard scoring run with 1:06 left in the first half.
Aguilar scored again on an 11-yard run three plays after a 59-yard kickoff return by Joshua Portillo to open the second half as Tulare Western opened a 34-20 lead and never looked back.
“They had the momentum so we knew we had to come out and score, and that’s what we did,” Aguilar said. “We got the momentum going and just kept on going.”
David Alcantar scored on runs of 10 and two yards, and Jordan Rivera returned an interception 26 yards for a score to send Tulare Western into its bye week on a roll. The Mustangs return to action Sept. 16 in their home opener against Redwood.
“It’s a mountain. We’re going to start at the bottom and every game we’ve just got to get better,” said Rocha, whose team opened with a 28-7 victory over El Diamante. “For us, I think it was a growth. We scored more than last week and we did play great in the second half. But for me, what I saw is we did put a team away when we had the opportunity. Going into the second half, that’s exactly what we wanted and the kids did their job.”
Selma making mark – For the first time in 11 meetings since 1995, Selma defeated perennial Division IV power Washington 25-3, getting 215 rushing yards and four touchdowns from Jordan Dominguez and another stellar effort from a veteran defense.
But stopping a series losing streak against a former league rival wasn’t as important to Bears coach Matt Logue as reversing the outcome of a 31-14 loss to the Panthers that ended Selma’s season in the Division IV quarterfinals last year.
“We put a lot into it. I stressed how important this game was with them being a solid Division IV team,” Logue said. “This wouldn’t have ruined our season had we not won, but it will help with playoff seeding down the road.”
It’s great to go on the road two weeks in a row and get big wins against Division IV teams who at the end of last year and coming into this year were highly thought of. You couldn’t ask for a better start.
Selma coach Matt Logue, whose team has opened the season with wins over Kerman and Washington, Division IV semifinalists last season.
Dominguez scored on runs of one, 16, 33 and seven yards, the latter two coming in the fourth quarter as Selma sealed its first 2-0 start since 2011. The Bears opened the season Aug. 26 with a 41-7 victory over Kerman, which gives them road wins over two of last season’s D-IV semifinalists.
“You couldn’t ask for a better start,” Logue said. “I feel (reigning champion) Chowchilla is the team to beat until someone knocks them off. But I think we have the kids to make a run.”
A key to a Bears playoff run will be the continued strong play of a veteran defense led by linebackers Jason Nicacio and Dominguez, cornerbacks Joel Aranda and Sergio Pena, all third-year starters, and linemen Matt Garcia and Adam Almaguer.