High School Football

Week 6 Prep Blitz: Broncos applaud Clovis West quarterback until Friday night

Clovis West quarterback Adrian Martinez throws to the end zone against Edison in their game at McLane High stadium on Oct. 2, 2015.
Clovis West quarterback Adrian Martinez throws to the end zone against Edison in their game at McLane High stadium on Oct. 2, 2015. ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

Tim Simons is a Fresno Athletic Hall of Famer and a 244-game winner in 30 seasons as a high school football coach.

What Simons says is not ignored in his fraternity. He always has the answers, right?

No, not with this question before the beginning of practice at Clovis North this week: Who does Clovis West sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez remind you of? Ever?

“Can’t think of one.”

It’s Martinez’s total package that separates him: 6-feet-2, 185 pounds, fast, fluid, great arm, calm and in control.

“He plays so much beyond his years, for starters,” says Simons, whose 2-2 and sixth-ranked Broncos will oppose Martinez and the No. 5 Golden Eagles in a Tri-River Athletic Conference opener Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “He’s mature, tough and confident. He’s a threat, this year and two more. And that means trouble for Golden Eagles opponents.”

And then?

He has a future ahead of him. I’m not sure how far it will go, but it will go a ways.

Clovis North coach Tim Simons, a former seven-year assistant at Fresno State, on Clovis West sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez.

“He has a future ahead of him,” said Simons, a former seven-year assistant under Pat Hill at Fresno State. “I’m not sure how far it will go, but it will go a ways.”

Clovis North defensive coordinator Dave Steele added: “You don’t see that out of a junior quarterback much less a sophomore; you don’t see that out of many seniors, either. You can tell he dictates and run things, and you don’t usually see that in a sophomore. And they have big-name kids on that team.”

Namely, that’s tight end/linebacker Caleb Kelly and wide receiver/defensive back Darian Owens, who, along with Martinez, were dominant in Clovis West’s 21-0 throttling of defending Central Section Division I champion Edison last week.

While the Broncos can’t match that name identity, they appear to have the goods to make a run at a third TRAC title in a row and a fifth consecutive win over the Eagles. In fact, Clovis North only lost the first game of the series, 35-27 in 2010, with its first class of seniors.

4 Consecutive wins by Clovis North over Clovis West in football

“We’re not going to be a spectacular team,” Simons said a year after Clovis North went 5-0 in the TRAC in the beginning of his second go-around with the program. “But we have a solid team in all areas. That’s what I envision us being, and a team that can compete with everybody each week. There’s no question in our mind that we can make a deep run; that’s always the plan, anyway.”

The Broncos, who had a bye last week, will counter Martinez with quarterback Jeremy Miller, a 6-1, 195-pound junior left-hander.

“He’s made some clutch passes and runs,” Simons said. “He’s an athlete and a competitor who can run and throw. He’s a key guy for us.”

Clovis North senior running back/strong safety Jayson Lee, one of the section’s elite players, figures to see a lot of Martinez, Owens and Kelly on defense: “Basically, I’ve got to run down the quarterback if he comes, and stay on top of Darian. And they put Caleb on the opposite of Darian, so it’s hard to figure how to balance that out. It’s definitely helped having two weeks of practice for this.”

Lee’s production has been expected after the Yosemite transfer found his stride in the TRAC last year, offering relief at running back for Bolu Olorunfunmi (now at UCLA) and also impacting the defense at linebacker.

“He emerged in the second half,” Simons said. “He made some tremendous runs on offense while making play after play on defense. He’s an athlete, a really special kid.”

Lee shoulders with free safety Chase Mauer in the secondary, but offenses often don’t penetrate that level because of junior inside linebackers Noah Haupt and Erick Kroll.

Games of the week (all Friday)

No. 19 Clovis East (3-2) at No. 1 Clovis (5-0): The Cougars won 48-27 last year, but only after being gashed for 262 yards rushing by Clovis East’s Marcus Washington. And that was as a freshman.

No. 3 Bullard (4-1) at No. 20 Madera (4-0): Good luck slowing the Charles Williams train. The Knights senior has rushed for 894 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s averaging 27 carries and 179 yards a game. His single-game carries have ranged from 18 to 37.

No. 5 Clovis West (3-1) vs. No. 6 Clovis North (2-2), at Buchanan: TRAC titanic right out of the gate.

No. 7 Frontier (4-1) at No. 4 Liberty-Bakersfield (1-3): Does this Southwest Yosemite League opener, ultimately, decide the conference title?

No. 8 Centennial (3-2) at No. 15 Stockdale (1-4): Or, perhaps, will the winner of this one, ultimately, hang an SWYL banner?

Andy Boogaard: 559-441-6400, @beepreps

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