Clovis’ Rishard Matthews, right, celebrates his third quarter touchdown with teammate Brian Hudson during their 51-12 win over Sandia Friday at Leon Williams Stadium. CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth
It all starts up front for the Clovis Wildcats.
Junior Brian Mead rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns and junior Rishard Matthews added two scores as Clovis defeated Sandia 51-12 Friday at Leon Williams Stadium.
Mead and Matthews gave all the credit to their offensive line.
“The linemen opened up some big, great holes,” Mead said.
Senior center Aaron Simon said it feels good for the offensive line to get “props”.
“It means a lot, it means they are giving us, what we call, props,” Simon said. “We start it, and when we block, they can get all of those yards.”
The Wildcats rushed for 335 yards.
Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said the emergence of Matthews has opened up the running game.
“They were worried about Rishard a couple times,” Kelley said, “and they rolled their coverage and it left the seam for Mead to hit.”
Sandia coach Kevin Barker said Clovis won the battle up front.
“I thought their offensive and defensive lines controlled the line of scrimmage the whole night,” Sandia coach Kevin Barker said. “I think our line grew up tonight. I think they learned some valuable lessons. You have to play at a high level continuously when you are playing against a quality opponent.”
The Matadors (3-3) looked the most dangerous in the second quarter Derris Jackson picked off a Devin Sweet pass and Sandia scored on the ensuing play when Michael Scarlett caught a 14-yard pass from Matthias Patzold.
“I was disappointed in our offense in the last part of the second quarter,” Kelley said. “But we did a good job in the second half coming out and moving the ball.”
Clovis (6-1) received the kickoff to start the second quarter and had a six-play scoring drive capped off by a 34-yard run from Mead.
“The momentum changed to their side when we allowed it to change,” Kelley said. “Sometimes that’s a hard thing to do, when you jump up on a team, is to keep that momentum going. You have the tendency to sit back and relax. We talked about that at halftime, and that was one of our biggest goals was to get that momentum back.”
The Wildcats had four plays of 34 yards or longer — the longest a 58-yard touchdown run by Mead in the second quarter.
Matthews’ 53-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter gave him seven touchdown receptions on the year, which ties tied the school’s single-season record.
“It means a lot to me,” Matthews said. “Because this isn’t a passing school. I’m just having fun doing it.”
Matthews also had a 40-yard touchdown run on a reverse in the fourth quarter.
“The best thing about Rishard is that he’s only going to get better every week,” Kelley said. “He’s just a 16-year-old kid who is just starting to figure it out. He’s a great athlete. We have to keep getting him the football.”
Barker was impressed.
“Matthews is probably the best wide receiver in the state,” Barker said. “He runs by people, he runs over people, and he’s just a junior, right? So is Scarlett, hopefully they’ll be all-state together next year.”
Scarlett caught three passes for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Clovis 51, Sandia 12
Sandia 0 6 6 0 — 0
Clovis 10 14 14 13 — 51
C — Brian Mead 4-yard run (Kiko Velez kick) 8:13
C — Robert North 28-yard field goal 2:20
C — Tanner Fickling 4-yard run (Velez kick) 10:39
C — Mead 58-yard run (Velez kick) 7:40
S — Michael Scarlett 14-yard reception from Matthias Petzold (kick blocked) 3:58
C — Mead 34-yard run (Velez kick) 8:51
S — Derris Jackson 2-yard run (pass failed) 5:03
C — Rishard Matthews 53-yard reception from Devin Sweet (Velez kick) 3:08
C — Matthews 40-yard run (kick blocked) 11:06
C — Fickling 27-yard run (Velez kick) 7:16
First downs 9 9
Rushes-yards 39-90 35-335
Passing yards 77 113
Total yards 167 448
Att-comp-int 4-15-0 4-8-2
Penalties-yards 1-18 2-19
Punts-avg 6-29.5 1-30
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1
Rushing — Sandia, Jackson 18-78, Jared Brown 10-23, Petzold 5-minus 17, Anthony Pacheco 3-2, Troy Barnes 2-4, Jeffrey Hugaboom 1-0. Clovis, Mead 21-206, Fickling 7-69, Cade Wheeler 2-9, Sweet 2-8, Matthews 2-39, Emanuel Robles 1-4.
Recieving — Sandia, Scarlett 3-71, Brown 1-minus 4. Clovis, Matthews 3-98, Mead 1-15.
Passing — Sandia, Petzold 4-15-0. Clovis, Sweet 4-8-2.