Top-ranked Central High defeated Clovis East 49-6 in a Tri-River Athletic Conference regular-season ender Thursday night at Lamonica Stadium that involved a startling tale of programs screaming in opposite directions.
Central, behind sophomore quarterback Trent Tompkins, scored on touchdowns of 50, 54 and 60 yards among its first five plays en route to a ninth straight win – seven against ranked teams – under first-year coach Kyle Biggs.
The Grizzlies are 9-1 after closing the TRAC 5-0 for its first outright league title in 46 years, according to Central Section historian Bob Barnett.
In addition, he said, Central won its 11th league crown overall, the previous being a co-title in 2013, for a program launched in 1930. The Grizzlies are pursuing their first section championship.
Tompkins completed 11 of 13 passes for 229 yards and TDs of 54 to Jacob Hollins, 60 to Jagade Bishop, 39 to Jevon Bigelow and 30 to Jacob Torrez for a team guaranteed a Division I top seed that will be announced Saturday out of the commissioner’s section office about 2 p.m.
Tompkins has passed for 2,615 yards and 31 TDs against only four interceptions.
Diotry Brewer bolted 50 yards for a TD on the game’s first play as Central took a 35-0 halftime lead.
The Grizzlies suited 58 players, a bit above average for D-I, and no surprise, given their section-high enrollment of 4,000.
Clovis East (0-10, 0-5) suited 27, more fit for D-VI and shockingly low, given an enrollment of 2,200.
And that only taps into the dreadful demise of Timberwolves football.
Thursday’s loss set a section record for 35 consecutive in league play, according to Barnett. The previous mark of 34 was set by Kennedy of Delano from 2009-13.
Clovis East last won a league game on Nov. 12, 2009, when it defeated Madera 35-28. The Coyotes have since shifted to the County/Metro Athletic Conference.
Further, the Timberwolves are 9-55 the past six seasons.
All this for the section’s elite program from 2001-08, when it went 77-22 with two D-I titles, two runners-up and six TRAC crowns under coach Tim Murphy. He resigned after going 0-5 in the TRAC and 1-9 overall in 2011.
The section allows all to participate in the playoffs, regardless of record. But Clovis East’s not going this time in a decision made by school athletic director Pat Waer.
“Playoffs should be a special thing, having had some measure of success,” he said. “But we haven’t shown what’s needed to be shown for a playoff team, outside of the league or otherwise. I didn’t feel it was fair to put our program into a playoff game at this point.”
The Timberwolves, despite 3-7, 1-9, 2-8 and 2-8 regular-season records in the previous four seasons, advanced to the playoffs each year and lost by an average of 34 points while playing Clovis North twice, Clovis and Bakersfield.
Clovis East lost by an average of 39 points this season.
“The kids have played their tails off,” said Waer, also the school’s baseball coach. “The scores are not reflective of that.”
That was best represented against Central by quarterback/safety/kick returner Chris Silva and running back/defensive end Marcus Washington, both of whom rarely came off the field.
Silva rushed for 57 yards on 21 carries and a TD and passed for 86 yards. Washington, a junior and three-year starter, carried 23 times for 118 yards and caught four passes for another 38.
Waer points to promise, given school attendance that he says is expected to swell from 2,200 to 3,000 in about three years because of booming construction in the attendance area, and talent from a freshman team that went 8-2 this season.
“We’re on our way back in all sports,” he said, specifically citing section championship soccer and volleyball girls teams last year. “I’m excited about our athletic department in the next four or five years. With more kids comes more competition, and that’s always a great thing.”