The Hanford High Bullpups entered their game against the Clovis West Golden Eagles looking to put a mark on their season. After the game, the Bullpups showed they will be a force to be reckoned with the rest of the season and in the Division 1 Playoffs.
The Bullpups' high-paced offense kept the Golden Eagles defense off balance and scored eight touchdowns in a 57-29 win on Oct. 8 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis.
Both teams had one day notice for the game as both teams' league opponents had to pull out of games due to COVID-19 protocols. Hanford is now 5-0.
“We have a talented group right now and if we can keep them together, I think we can make some noise,” said Cannon Sanchez, Hanford High head coach. “The numbers we are putting up and the things we are doing we are ready to play anybody we have to. We have three more tough games to go in league then when playoffs come, we will do the best we can there."
Hanford’s defense led to the first score of the game when Trace Gonzales and Devin Collins sacked Clovis West quarterback in the end zone for a safety. This gave Hanford an early 2-0 lead. Hanford’s offense then hit the field and extended the lead to 9-0 after a touchdown run from Noah Noyola.
Clovis West cut the lead to 9-7 after a touchdown run from D’ante Benjamin. Hanford scored next on a touchdown run from Gonzlaes that put Hanford ahead 16-7 after the first quarter of play.
Once again, the Golden Eagles responded when Benjamin ran in his second touchdown of the game to cut the lead to 16-14 with 9:14 left before halftime.
The Bullpups offense kept their foot on the petal scoring two more touchdowns before halftime to take a 30-14 lead. After Noyola scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, Bullpups quarterback Cayden Muir connected with Glen Mackey, who made the catch and tight-roped the sidelines 30-yards, for a touchdown.
Hanford’s offense continued to roll, scoring on the opening drive of the second half when Kourdey Glass scored on a touchdown run. This gave them a 37-14 lead.
The Bullpups rolled the rest of the game. Noyola, Muir and Albert Richardson each had touchdown runs in the second half to seal the victory.
Muir ended the game with 315 yards passing, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. Noyola had five carries for 35 yards and three rushing touchdowns, he also had seven catches for 94 yards. Glass led the Bullpups on the ground with 11 carries for 57 yards and one touchdown. The Bullpups scored seven rushing touchdowns as a team.
“It was a big game for us. We came in not knowing what to expect and one day to prepare. It was just adversity,” Muir said. ‘When adversity hits, who are you and we just tried to prove ourselves and prove that we belong in Division 1. We are coming for Valley.”
Noyola led the Hanford defense with 10 total tackles in the game, while Gonzales ended the game with eight tackles and two sacks.
“Our defense is the heart and nose of this team,” Sanchez said. ‘Everybody sees the numbers we put up on offense, but we get off the field so quick that it gives the offense opportunities. So, if the offense does their job, defense is the one that is making the big plays.”
Coach Sanchez said that the Bullpups are hoping a win like this gives them some credibility around the Valley.
“This is a different environment than we typically play in and that made the game a little bit bigger, but they were ready for it and when we figured out. We were playing Clovis West we were ready to go, and we are ready for any opportunity that we are given,” Sanchez said. “We are a small community with 60,000 people but we got three schools split evenly. We have a hard-nosed group of kids, and we try to run our program like a Division I program with lesser numbers. You have guys who go both ways against guys who don’t, so I think that they see that we just want to make some noise and get some respect.”