No matter the outcome, all Buchanan High football coach Matt Giordano wanted his team to do was fight hard against perennial power De La Salle-Concord.
The Bears did just that in a 31-24 loss Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis.
“We told them we love them,” Giordano said. “They knew they had perseverance and determination. They are great, fantastic kids, and we’re so proud of them. We’re going to watch the film tomorrow. There is a lot of things we can learn from today. We have to learn from it. We got a heck of a test next week.”
The Bears next face defending Central Section Division I champion Central at Koligian Stadium in the Tri-River Athletic Conference opener. Central beat Buchanan twice last year, including the section championship game.
Last year, Central lost 49-30 at De La Salle. The last time a Central Section team beat the Spartans was Clovis West in 2004 and 2005.
Buchanan went into halftime trailing 28-13, but responded in the third quarter with a touchdown on a 3-yard run by Kendall Milton to cut the deficit. Milton finished with three touchdowns.
The start of the game wasn’t good for the Bears: James Colby returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a score and Grant Daley later caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from Dorian Hale for a 14-0 De La Salle lead.
But Milton responded with a 78-yard TD run and it was game on.
“It was a well-fought game,” Buchanan’s Jalen Cropper said. “They came out strong and they came out with a kickoff return for a touchdown. We had an answer for that, but overall it was a great game and a great matchup. A lot of people expected them to blow us out, but we played our hearts out the whole game and we just came up short.”
Bears linebacker Steven Scheidt agreed with Cropper.
“They’re a good team and it was a physical battle,” he said.
Roosevelt, McLane fall
The manner was different, but the result was the same for two rising Fresno Unified teams: their first loss of the season.
At Kerman, the host Lions pulled out a 22-21 overtime victory against Roosevelt, which was bidding for the school’s first 5-0 start since 1951. The Rough Riders scored first in OT, but Kerman answered with a touchdown and then got a winning two-point conversion on wide receiver Trace Silva’s option pass to quarterback Gavin Layton off the reverse.
Dos Palos jumped to a 36-0 lead and finished off McLane 43-14. The host Highlanders were aiming for the program’s first 5-0 start since 1995.
Sanger wins nail-biter
Sanger came home from Paso Robles with a 27-24 win in a game that was tied 10-10 and again 17-17 before the Apaches scored 10 straight, including a touchdown by Jake Boust. The Bearcats answered with a touchdown to make it interesting but Sanger recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Fellow County/Metro Athletic Conference team Bullard didn’t fare as well against a Central Coast opponent, losing 24-12 to Arroyo Grande.
Another perennial power, Oaks Christian-Westlake Village, blasted Bakersfield Christian 83-0 in a game televised on ESPNU.
One of Oaks Christian’s top players, Kayvan Thibodeaux, left at halftime to catch a flight for a recruiting trip to Alabama, The Bakersfield Californian reported. He’s the top-rated prep prospect in the country.