Ugly Eagles back in championship form
It took a little longer than expected, but the Clayton Valley-Concord football program looked back in championship form on Friday night.
Two weeks ago, the Ugly Eagles were circling the wagons after the program’s first 0-2 start in 10 seasons. That seemed like ancient history Friday when the visitors built a 49-0 lead after just 2½ quarters against previously undefeated Antioch and rolled to a 55-22 running-clock victory.
“I maybe expected this performance a little earlier (than tonight),” Clayton Valley coach Tim Murphy said after the nonleague win that pushed his team’s record to 2-2. “I knew sooner or later the team that I felt we had in spring ball was going to show up. Because even though they’re young, this is a really, really talented group.”
The talent was on display early and often against Antioch, and on both sides of the ball.
The Ugly Eagles took the game’s opening drive 80 yards on eight plays, taking a 7-0 lead on the first of three touchdown runs by sophomore Makhi Gervais. Gervais rushed in from 18 yards out after junior Thomas Alatini had runs of 17 and 24 on the drive.
Clayton Valley then forced the first of four turnovers when safety Garret Ganguet intercepted Willem Karnthong’s pass on the Panthers’ third play from scrimmage. Ganguet would notch a second interception on the third play of the second half. Both picks led to scoring drives capped by James Teofilo.
“It was good,” Murphy said. “We kind of went back to pounding the ball a little bit and they responded real well — that’s kind of what our kids do best.”
Antioch (3-1) entered the game ranked No. 14 in the Chronicle Top 25, but managed only 52 total yards of first-half offense. The Panthers finally found some offense late in the third quarter, getting on the board with a 1-yard run by Omari Harris. They then cut the lead to 49-16 on an 18-yard score by Jaysn Wade with 10:58 left.
Gervais’ third touchdown run was a 21-yard bolt with 4:20 left in the game. His other touchdown run was also for 21 yards and he finished with 103 yards on nine carries.
“He’s a tough runner,” Murphy said of Gervais. “The first carry of the season, he fumbled in the end zone against the team up in Reno and I haven’t given him the ball much since. He made up for that tonight.”
Alatini finished with 15 carries for 182 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback KJ Gardner completed 3 of 5 passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
Clayton Valley’s Makhi Gervais (21) vaults over Antioch’s Dejuan Butler for a touchdown during the first quarter. The Ugly Eagles beat the previously undefeated Panthers.