Rodney Wright III looked a lot like pops Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Wright turned a pair of short passes into long touchdowns just the way his namesake dad did during a decorated career at Fresno State and scored on a 5-yard run to help lead Central Section No. 4 Clovis West to a 23-14 victory over No. 5 Buchanan in a Tri-River Athletic Conference game pitting top Division I playoff contenders.
“Rodney is a playmaker. He’s one of the guys we try to get the ball to,” Golden Eagles coach George Petrissans said. “He’s a great leader on our team. And I think Rodney has a lot more plays in him.”
Wright got the Golden Eagles (5-2, 2-0) rolling on their first possession, catching a pass from Adrian Martinez in the middle of the field, outrunning several Bears to the sideline and then turning up the field for a 41-yard touchdown.
In the second quarter, Wright caught a short swing pass from Martinez and sprinted untouched 37 yards for a score and a 16-7 Clovis West lead.
His short touchdown run with 43.9 seconds left in the third quarter broke open a two-point game.
Rodney was a star waiting to emerge.
Clovis West quarterback Adrian Martinez on Rodney Wright, who caught 10 passes and scored three TDs in a 23-14 win over Buchanan
“Rodney was a star waiting to emerge,” said Martinez, a star in his own right with scholarships offers from Cal and Fresno State among others as a junior. “He’s been killing it all offseason, putting in tons of work. His dad used to play at Fresno State. He’s a guy to watch out for and he had a big-time night tonight.”
Wright finished with 10 catches for 127 yards.
His father, Rodney Wright Jr., caught 222 passes for 3,274 yards and 22 touchdowns during a four-year career at Fresno State from 1998-2001 before launching a 13-year professional career in the NFL and Arena Football League. Wright Jr. is now an assistant with Clovis West.
“I’m just following in his footsteps,” Wright III said. “I look up to him. I want to be just like him.”
Buchanan (4-3, 0-2) scored on Nolan LeForge’s 1-yard run in the second quarter and LeForge’s 20-yard strike to Isaiah Trigler in the third quarter.
Clovis West is one of two undefeated teams – Central being the other – in TRAC play heading into an Oct. 21 game against Clovis East. The Golden Eagles and Grizzlies meet Oct. 28 at Central.
“That’s what our plan was, beat (Clovis) North, beat Buchanan and be 2-0 going in to play Clovis East,” said Martinez, who passed for 285 yards and rushed for 69. “We have a lot of momentum. We’re playing as a team and a unit. That’s something we were missing last year. This team has it, and that’s why we’re 5-2 right now.”