Clovis’ Isaac Herman, left, battles Hobbs’ Leonel Rodriguez for possession of the ball during the first half of Saturday’s District 4-5A match at Yucca Soccer Complex. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Scott Bouley was the right man in the right place at the right time on Saturday.
Finding himself on the left wing in overtime, Bouley left-footed a rebound into the net to give Clovis High boys soccer team a 2-1 District 4-5A victory over rival Hobbs at Yucca Soccer Complex — the first win in district play in CHS coach Shaun Gill’s four years at the helm.
The win puts the Cats (7-8, 1-1 district) in good position for a postseason berth out of the three-team district.
“That was huge,” Gill said of the win. “The guys really stepped it up. This was a game we pretty much had to win.”
The Eagles, meantime, controlled play for much of the first half, but were fighting off the Cats the rest of the way.
“We stepped it up in the second half,” Bouley said. “We knew we had to take this opportunity to get a district win.”
First-year Hobbs coach Heath Weeks said he didn’t feel that comfortable at halftime, despite having a 1-0 lead and the Cats having only one shot on goal.
“We knew we had to do something to get the momentum back,” said Weeks, like Gill a Hobbs High graduate and previously an assistant under longtime Eagles coach Joe Ford. “Clovis definitely came out at the higher level.”
The Cats had several scoring opportunities in the second half, but didn’t get the game tied until sophomore Luis Esparza, assisted by Eric Barela, scored on a play that came off Barron Fillpot’s corner kick about midway through the half.
Most of the 10-minute, sudden-death overtime was played on Hobbs’ end. Bouley, normally a defender moved to a midfield position for the match due to an injury to teammate Scott Elliott, ended it with about three minutes remaining, punching the ball past goalkeeper Kenneth Mayes.
A second OT period would have been played, if needed.
“(The ball) bounced off a defender and I’m the trail man,” Bouley said. “I usually stay outside the group and just wait for something like that to happen.
“We totally dominated the second half. I’m surprised one didn’t go in before that.”
So, too, was Weeks.
“Clovis is the faster team, and they definitely used that to their advantage,” he said. “I thought (Mayes) played really well in the second half — Clovis was a little unlucky not to get two or three goals.”
Hobbs (9-7, 0-1) scored less than six minutes into the game when freshman forward Jacob Ray chipped a shot past Cats starting goalkeeper Patrick Adams.
“We’re about equal in talent,” Gill said. “It came down to our guys wanting it more today. I told them, ‘This is the reason we’ve been working for this for the last two months.’”
Hobbs took the junior varsity preliminary 3-1, with sophomore Juan Macias scoring the Cats’ only goal.
Clovis 2, Hobbs 1
Hobbs 1 0 0 — 1
Clovis 0 1 1 — 2
H — Jacob Ray (Diego Orona), 5:40
C — Luis Esparza (Eric Barela), 59:53
C — Scott Bouley, 87:08
Shots on goal — Hobbs 7, Clovis 5. Corner kicks — Hobbs none, Clovis 4. Saves — Hobbs 2 (Kenneth Mayes 2), Clovis 6 (Patrick Adams 4, Josh Bussen 2). Fouls — Hobbs 11, Clovis 14. Records — Hobbs 9-7 (0-1), Clovis 7-8 (1-1). Junior varsity — Hobbs 3, Clovis 1.