Around the TRAC Winding down the fall sports schedule and heading toward Valley playoffs – the ultimate prize

By Paul Meadors & Daniel Leon

Clovis West 33 Central 14 

Photo by Jennifer Armstrong Clovis West's Jayden Helms throws a touchdown pass on a trick play on the Eagles first play from scrimmage in their 33-14 victory over Central on October 29. Quarterback Adrian Martinez threw a backwards lateral to Helms who then threw it to Caleb Kelly for an 80-yard touchdown.
Photo by Jennifer Armstrong
Clovis West’s Jayden Helms throws a touchdown pass on a trick play on the Eagles first play from scrimmage in their 33-14 victory over Central on October 29. Quarterback Adrian Martinez threw a backwards lateral to Helms who then threw it to Caleb Kelly for an 80-yard touchdown.

No one can say that Clovis West head coach George Petrissans doesn’t dream big.

After waking up around 4 a.m. on Thursday morning Petrissans thought of a new play and said to himself, “Why not?”

And on the first play from scrimmage later that night against Central, the play unfolded just like he drew it up in his head: a double pass starting from quarterback Adrian Martinez to Jayden Helms to a wide open Caleb Kelly for 80-yards.

Why not indeed.

Thus began the shock-and-awe as the Golden Eagles (2-2, 5-3) scored three touchdowns in the first quarter to even their TRAC record, beating the Grizzlies 33-14 on Oct. 29, setting up a showdown with rival Clovis High on the final game during the regular season.

Martinez, a sophomore who plays the game with ease and grace, pulled off the second biggest play of the game with 8:34 in the first quarter with 42-yard quarterback keeper, a play where he beat ten Grizzlies to the outside, glided down the sidelines, stopped on a dime letting the final defender fly by and coasted the final 10 yards for the Eagles second touchdown.

But the night also belonged to senior running back Kahlil Hershaw, who showed off some moves of his own gaining hard-earned yards – the types of yards he’s earned all season – by breaking the game open with touchdown runs of 31 and four yards in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles some breathing room, the last one coming with 5:42 left in the game for a 33-7 lead.

On his 31-yard touchdown run: “Adrian is reading the defense and I say ‘Man, if he gives this to me I’m going to score.’ I saw my lineman Dalton [Garver] throw some guy down one handed and told myself this is my chance so I just made a footrace out of it. I didn’t want to let my team down so I just decided to ice this game.”

A play Coach Petrissans I’m sure has envisioned many times in his head as well.

Buchanan 37 Clovis East 25

The Clovis East Timberwolves’ fourth-quarter comeback effort was not enough on Friday, October 30, losing to Buchanan 37-25 in the Tri-River Athletic Conference at Lamonica Stadium.

Ensuing an 87-yard touchdown pass, the T-Wolves (3-6, 0-4) executed a successful onside kick and retained the ball near midfield. The Clovis East offense took advantage of the short field, scoring moments later with a nine-yard run from sophomore running back Marcus Washington, which cut Buchanan’s lead to 30-25 midway through the fourth quarter.

The Timberwolves had an opportunity to snatch the lead as they were driving down by five with about two minutes left in the game, but a costly interception stomped any hopes the T-Wolves had of pulling off a comeback as Buchanan linebacker Zach Presno stepped in front of Trey Semien’s pass and picked off the senior quarterback.

“I just let our kids play and our coaches do what they were doing with making adjustments,” Buchanan head coach Mike Jacot said. “I give our kids a lot of credit. We’ve always done a great job weathering one punch but we’ve had trouble weathering two. I think tonight our guys showed that they weathered three or four.”

In the opening quarter, Washington and the Timberwolves’ offense got rolling right away, engineering a pair touchdown drives to go up 13-0. Washington finished the night with 151 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.

Buchanan (6-3, 3-1) responded late in the first with a 25-yard touchdown run up the middle from running back Chibuikem Dunu. The senior’s touchdown run ignited 30 straight points for the Bears.

The Bears, who are in a three-way tie for first place in the TRAC, close the regular season at home against Clovis North on Nov. 6 with all their goals still in sight.

“We have an opportunity right now to compete for a TRAC title which we haven’t done in a while,” Jacot said. “So that’s going to be our focus right now – to go out and prepare this week to win a TRAC title.”

Elizabeth Schulz wins TRAC tennis title 

Photo by Nick Baker Clovis North tennis star Elizabeth Schulz hits a return during her TRAC singles tennis finals upset victory over Clovis West's Janie Ellis. Schulz, a junior, won 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 to capture the title in a grueling finals match.
Photo by Nick Baker
Clovis North tennis star Elizabeth Schulz hits a return during her TRAC singles tennis finals upset victory over Clovis West’s Janie Ellis. Schulz, a junior, won 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 to capture the title in a grueling finals match.

Elizabeth Schulz surprised even herself after beating Buchanan’s Sravya Gudipudi in the semi-final of the TRAC individual tennis championship and had only one logical thought going into the final – grind it out and hope for the best.

And the Clovis North junior did more than that as she defeated Clovis West’s Janie Ellis in a grueling finals match 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 on October 16 at Buchanan.

“I was so happy that I beat Sravya that winning the finals wasn’t on my mind at all. I went into the finals not really worrying about the outcome because I had never beaten Janie before,” said Schultz. “My goal was to make it as difficult for her as I could and just have fun. I wanted to make it another long match, no matter what the outcome was.”

After being down 3-5 and 0-40 in the third set, Schulz dug deep and went up 6-5 before Ellis tied it 6-6. But tiebreakers are where Schulz thrives and, while battling a back injury, she put the match away, stunned but super-excited by her accomplishment.

“When I won the last point, I couldn’t believe it. I kept asking myself if I had actually won the match,” said Schulz who credits her family, including father (tennis coach Brian Schulz) and her grandpa who gives her advice before every matches. “It was an amazing experience, but it took me a day or two to realize what had happened because I was so amazed.”

Schulz received the overall No. 3 seed heading into the North Area tournament which started Friday, October 30.

Clovis West girls golf team wins Valley 

Photo courtesy of Clovis West The Clovis West girls golf team captured the D-1 Central Section Valley championship on Oct. 26. It was the Golden Eagles third consecutive Valley championship. Members include: Aya Enkoji, Madison Nii, Alyson Musser, Taylor Dufrene, Kayla Terrey, Tia Montes.
Photo courtesy of Clovis West
The Clovis West girls golf team captured the D-1 Central Section Valley championship on Oct. 26. It was the Golden Eagles third consecutive Valley championship. Members include: Aya Enkoji, Madison Nii, Alyson Musser, Taylor Dufrene, Kayla Terrey, Tia Montes.

Led by sophomore Aya Enkoji’s 75, one of only two players to shoot in the 70s on the day, an 83 from junior Allyson Musser and an 86 from sophomore Madison Nii the Clovis West girls golf team won their third straight Valley title and their eighth in the past 10 years.

And get this – there was nary a senior on the team.

Holding off a very good Buchanan team the Golden Eagles won 438-435 at Taft’s Buena Vista Golf Course on October 26. Head coach Ken Shipley knew that fellow TRAC rival Buchanan would be a tough team to compete against and that the course would play difficult.

“Buchanan is a very good team led by two good seniors and they also have some good younger players,” said Shipley. “At Valley, we knew it would be close and that we had to play smart golf on a tough course. Our girls did a terrific job of that.”

Shipley also praised the improvements of freshman Taylor Dufrene (94), Kayla Terrey (93): “If I had to name the biggest factor, it would be their commitment to getting better and being open to hearing and trying things that would help them improve.”

“It feels very special this year because this team is so young, they are willing to learn, they really like each other, and the girls really operate as a team,” said Shipley. “I am very proud of this team and what they have accomplished.”

Buchanan boys polo take TRAC title

What a fitting way for the Buchanan boys water polo team to celebrate Senior Night, clinching their fourth TRAC title in the past five years with seniors Thomas Vandiver, Tyler Fagan, Cole Heimerdinger, and Andrew Poore combining for 7 of Buchanan’s 12 goals. The Bears finished with a 9-1 record in league and are 22-6 overall.

But the polo match of the year was played on Oct. 22, when Buchanan collided with top contender Clovis High. In a battle that took four overtimes, Bears freshman Gabe Putnam scored the game winning goal off an assist from senior Yousef Araim for a thrilling 9-8 victory.

Clovis, the defending D-1 champions, held a 5-4 halftime lead but Buchanan took the lead 7-6 at the end of the third quarter. After Clovis rallied behind senior Jacob Rolih’s goal with 1:23 remaining to reclaim the lead, another Buchanan freshman, Kaleb Archer scored with 18 ticks left on the clock to set up overtime. After three scoreless overtimes, the stage was set for Putman’s clincher.

Clovis girls’ polo continue dream season

Something good is still brewing over in the Clovis pool as the girls’ polo team continues in their quest for a TRAC and Valley championship.

Going into the final match of the TRAC season against Clovis West on November 6, the Cougars are 23-1 and 9-0 in TRAC, and can clinch a league title and No. 1 playoff seed by beating the defending D-1 champion.

Look no further than their last five games where they have outscored opponents 60-17 in wins vs Clovis East, Buchanan, Clovis North and Central.