Cats rout Roswell

CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth/Clovis cornerback Angelo Sandoval tackles Roswell’s receiver Derrick Evans during the second quarter of Saturday’s game in Roswell. Clovis won 43-0.

Dave Wagner

ROSWELL — John Props made quite a splash in his first varsity start for the Clovis High Wildcats. So did Alex Everett.
Props, filling in at quarterback for the injured Ryan Denton, rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns and threw for two more scores in the Wildcats’ 43-0 rout of Roswell High Saturday night at the Wool Bowl.
Meantime, Everett got his first start at defensive tackle and had two of CHS’ four first-half sacks as the Cats (1-1) rebounded from last week’s 32-7 loss at Las Cruces Mayfield.
“We played better tonight,” Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley said. “We worked hard in the scrimmage (against Las Cruces High in preseason), then we didn’t get better at Mayfield, but we got better this week. The kids played hard.”
Props, a junior who started at free safety against Mayfield, played quarterback on the junior varsity last season.
“I felt pretty good going into the game,” Props said. “I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be. I was more excited than nervous.”
The Cats had the wind to start the game, and Jason Seefeld booted the ball into the end zone to make the Coyotes start from their own 20. Roswell went three-and-out, and A.J. Palmer’s short punt was downed at midfield.
Clovis went the distance in 11 plays, picking up three first downs, including one on a third-down Roswell offsides penalty. On the next play, Props kept left on the option and sprinted in from 9 yards out for a 7-0 lead with four minutes left in the quarter.
Roswell was again pinned deep following the kickoff, and on fourth down the snap sailed over Palmer’s head and out of the end zone for a safety. A short free-kick kickoff then gave the Cats possession at the Roswell 40, and on second and 10 Props unloaded a deep pass to a wide-open Ben Teconchuk for a touchdown.
Props hit Mark Young for a 11-yard touchdown in the second quarter following a Coyote turnover, making it 23-0 at halftime. Senior halfback Shea Chase scored from 3 yards out and Props carried the ball in from 49 yards on an option keeper in the third period, making it 36-0 and invoking a running clock the rest of the way under NMAA rules.
A blocked punt set the Cats up at the Roswell 1 midway through the final stanza, and backup Devin Hanson went in for the final touchdown on the next play.
“A lot of it was our (offensive) line,” Props said after Clovis piled up more than 200 yards rushing and a 5.5 average per tote. “They gave me time in the pocket, and they created holes for me.”
Kelley said Props, who went 3 for 4 through the air for 73 yards, keeps defenses honest as a runner from the quarterback position.
“He’s a different type of quarterback than we’ve had,” Kelley said. “He’s going to run and he’s going to make people miss.
“John did a great job. He stepped into a tough situation, but he’s a great competitor.”
Denton, a senior who has suffered multiple concussions, is not expected to return this season.
“I feel really bad about what happened (to Denton), going out like that in his senior year,” Props said. “I really wish he could finish out this year.”
Meantime, the defense was determined to keep the Coyotes (0-2) off the scoreboard.
“Our goal (at halftime) was to shut them out,” Kelley said. “I think it was important for the kids. We have to play hard for four quarters, just to make us believe in what we were doing.”
Everett had sacks of eight and 16 yards as the Cats held Roswell to just one first down on its first five possessions.
“I wasn’t expecting 43-0, but I’m really happy we came together as a team,” Everett said. “We really busted it this week in practice.”
He said the sacks were a result of the whole unit doing their jobs.
“It may be one person making a tackle, but all 11 people have to do their jobs,” Everett said. “Last week, we had a lot of new people on defense, but we were excited in practice all this week.”
Roswell finished the game with just six first downs and 65 total yards, including only eight net yards in the first half.