CNJ staff photo: Rick White/Clovis senior Mark Replogle is brought down by Mayfield’s Sam Gonzales.
LAS CRUCES — Jeremy Lawson has finished his last two games against Clovis on the sidelines.
A year ago, Lawson was knocked unconscious when a pass over the middle and Clovis all-state free safety Joey Garcia arrived at the same time. Lawson laid motionless on the field for several minutes before being helped to the sidelines, where he stayed the rest of the game.
Friday night, it was the Mayfield senior who delivered the crushing blows.
Before heading to the sidelines midway through the fourth quarter, the versatile 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior rushed for 205 yards and three long touchdowns and passed for another as the Trojans beat Clovis 32-7 in the season-opener at the rain-drenched Las Cruces Sports Complex.
“I was thinking about redemption,” said Lawson, who admitted he looked at Clovis warming up just to make sure Garcia had moved onto Texas Tech. “This is the one I wanted.”
A slow-moving storm packing lightning and heavy rains made Lawson wait even a little longer, twice delaying the start of the game for a total of two hours.
“That was the worst feeling,” said Lawson, who scored on runs of 21, 49 and 85 yards. “First we had to wait, then they told us we could play, then they told us we had to wait again.”
Mayfield coach Jim Bradley was pleased with Lawson’s performance, which also included three fumbled snaps and two interceptions.
“He can make up for his mistakes real easily,” Bradley said. “I can live with his mistakes. But he won’t be making them for very long.”
While Lawson was displaying the kind of athletic ability that has Division I football recruiters interested in him as a wide receiver, Clovis showed as much spark on offense as a book of wet matches.
The Wildcats didn’t pick up a first down until midway through the third quarter and finished with 51 total yards.
Rarely given time to set his feet, Clovis senior quarterback Ryan Denton misfired on his first 10 passes and finished 4 of 16 for 32 yards. He was sacked three times in the second half as a rebuilt Clovis line had trouble with the Trojans’ speedy pass rushers.
It wasn’t much better on the ground as senior Shea Chase led Clovis with 40 yards on nine carries.
Clovis defensive coordinator Darren Kelley said the only bright spot was that it was the Wildcats’ first game and they had nine more games — four before district — to get better.
“It’s pretty simple,” Kelley said. “We’ve got to block and tackle better.
“Until we learn to play as a team and play hard every down, we’re going to struggle. It doesn’t matter what we put on the chalkboard, we’ve got to go out and perform.”
Incredibly, Clovis was still in the game after being outgained 249-19 in the first half.
The Wildcats cut a 13-0 halftime lead to six points midway through the third quarter when Chase scored on a 5-yard run one play after Jacob Jones intercepted a deflected pass deep in Mayfield territory.
After another Mayfield drive ended with a turnover — the third of the second half — Clovis took over at its own 6.
On second-and-12, defensive end Anthony Ostland batted down what was a quick screen to wide receiver John Props that turned out to be a lateral. Cornerback Sam Gonzales recovered the live ball in the end zone for a touchdown that put Mayfield ahead 19-7.
Lawson then put the game out of reach, sandwiching an 85-yard run and a 60-yard pass to Luis Villa around a pair of Clovis punts.
Jackie Ruiz added 124 yards rushing for Mayfield, which finished with six turnovers.