Clovis junior Phillip Williams rushed for 120 yards in Saturday’s 31-0 win against Eldorado. Photo by Rick White.
By Rick White
ALBUQUERQUE — A 37-yard extra point.
Nearly 100 yards in penalties — including an assistant coach flagged for being in the way of a referee on a kickoff.
And a running back throwing a touchdown pass.
It was that kind of night for the Clovis Wildcats, who opened District 4-5A play with a 31-0 win over Eldorado on Saturday at Wilson Stadium on a night when the only thing missing was a full moon.
“What a wacky night,” Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley said.
With a Clovis offense that averaged nearly 40 points in a three-game winning streak out of sync, an improved Wildcats’ defense came to the rescue.
The Wildcats held Eldorado (1-6) to 113 yards and forced three turnovers, including an interception junior free safety Elliott Hita returned 21 yards for the game’s first touchdown. That came a minute into the second half, giving Clovis a 10-0 lead.
“The defense did a great job,” Kelley said. They kept us in the game until the offense could get going.”
Jason Seefeld was forced to kick the long-distance extra point when Clovis was flagged for taunting following Hita’s score.
The Wildcats (5-2) were coming off a week layoff, which Kelley said might explain a lethargic offensive effort through three quarters.
“The layoff had something to do with us taking so long to get going,” Kelley said. “And part of that’s our inexperience.”
Clovis didn’t score its first offensive touchdown until the first play of the fourth quarter when senior Mark Replogle hooked up with a wide-open Mark Young for a 44-yard score on a halfback option.
“I saw him wide open and I was just trying not to overthrow him,” said Replogle, who added a fourth-quarter interception in his first varsity start at cornerback. “I knew if I got it out there, Mark would go get it.”
The trick play, a staple in Clovis’ offense for decades, came on the first play of the fourth quarter.
“It was a situation where we wanted to make sure we put them away,” Kelley said. “We’ve had success with that over the years because we run the sweep so well.”
Junior backup running back Chris Phillips capped a 21-point fourth quarter with a 60-yard run, adding a little extra excitement by juggling the ball just as he cleared the line of scrimmage.
Sophomore quarterback Chris Roberts led the Eldorado offense, completing 13-of-21 passes for 115 yards, but couldn’t get the Eagles in the end zone.
The normally pedestrian Eagles surprised Clovis by throwing the ball as much as they did.
“I really thought they’d try to line up and run over us,” Kelley said. “But once we got the first touchdown, it allowed us to go after the quarterback a little bit.”
Roberts was sacked three times for 27 yards in losses in the second half.
Junior Phillip Williams led Clovis with 112 yards on 17 carries. The Wildcats gained more than half of their 335 yards in the fourth quarter.