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Corona Centennial Tripped by Clovis West

September 27, 2003|Martin Henderson | Times Staff Writer

Some games that look great on paper actually live up to the billing.

The highly regarded football teams from Corona Centennial and Fresno Clovis West delivered as promised Friday night, slugging it out for 48 minutes before host Clovis West won, 44-40, before about 3,500 at Fresno Buchanan High.

Centennial (2-1), ranked No. 3 in the Southland by The Times and No. 5 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, was led by junior quarterback Chris Keating, who completed 26 of 45 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns, and senior tailback Terrell Jackson, who rushed 38 times for 208 yards, including touchdown of one and six yards.

But on the final play of the game, with 1.7 seconds on the clock, Jackson took a shovel pass at the eight-yard line from Keating and headed for the end zone -- only to fall short.

Clovis West's Michael Pace fully extended his 6-foot-4, 260-pound frame to grab Jackson's ankle and bring him down at the seven.

For Clovis West (3-0-1), ranked No. 19 in the state, it legitimized first-year Coach Jim Hartigan's new pro-style offense.

"It's our first big win for the new staff," said Hartigan, formerly of Santa Margarita. "Our kids know we can coach and know they can play."

Two of Clovis West's first three plays were tricks, the second a halfback pass for 33 yards that set up a touchdown. Another, a reverse pass, delivered a 39-yard score that cut Centennial's lead to 27-20.

Clovis West, whose special teams blocked three field-goal attempts in its first three games, enjoyed another big night. It took advantage of two Centennial punt situations -- tackling the punter after a bad snap and setting up a two-yard drive for one score, and blocking another to set up a 19-yard drive that allowed the Golden Eagles to go into halftime tied, 27-27.

Clovis West's Kevin Trippel made five extra points and a 28-yard field goal with 2:12 left to play, setting the stage for Centennial's failed comeback.

"This level of competition brings out the best in people," Centennial Coach Matt Logan said. "I felt we passed the test, we just didn't win the game."

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