Clovis defenders Michael Cohen, right, and Richard Alvarez combine to stop Hobbs quarterback Teron Bolton in the Wildcats’ 14-7 win over the Eagles on Friday night. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer
HOBBS COACH PHILLIP ROYBAL said his Eagles may be overcoming their purple phobia. Clovis beat Hobbs 14-7 on Friday. It was Clovis’ fifth-straght win in the heated but often lopsided rivalry.
“We know we have a good football team,” the fourth-year Hobbs coach said. “I’ll be honest with you, the problem with our kids here — you know the history of Hobbs football, then you take Clovis, you take Carlsbad, Artesia, Goddard — our kids are mentally whipped before they step out on the field.”
The Eagles have not been to a state title game since 1981.
The Hobbs coach said he told his team to use their imagination before Friday’s game.
“If we were to put red on Clovis, or green, or whatever color, and tell you they were from some other town, you’d probably play your tails off,” he said. “And we finally got them to buy into that a little bit and got them to understand that, (the tradition) is all we’re lacking at this point.”
A TRICK PLAY ALMOST turned the tide for the Eagles in the second half.
After Clovis (8-1) tied the game at 7 on Brian Mead’s 17-yard run on the first drive of the third quarter, Hobbs used a play called the “Texas A&M bounce pass” and came within a few inches of putting the Eagles back on top.
The Eagles lined up with four receivers to the right, and one receiver to the left. Quarterback Teron Bolton took the snap and fired the ball to the right on what looked like a wide receiver screen pass.
The pass bounced to receiver Garrett Bertola. Although it looked like an incompletion, the ball was thrown backward, so it was technically a lateral and a live ball.
Bertola picked up the ball and tossed it deep to a wide-open Paul Elkins. The ball bounced off Elkins’ outstretched fingertips and fell incomplete.
“What we do is every week we put in some kind of trick play,” Roybal said. “We had been saving it for sometime that we thought we would need it, and this was the week. And it worked almost to perfection. We had exactly what we wanted.”
JUNIOR WR RISHARD MATTHEWS had a big hand in setting up both Clovis scores.
On the first scoring drive, Matthews’ 44-yard run put the Cats on the 25-yard line. Three plays later, Mead was in the end zone.
Matthews’ 34-yard run in the fourth quarter set up Clovis at the Hobbs 28-yard line. Five plays later, Tanner Fickling put the Cats on top.
Matthews finished with a season-high 81 yards on three carries. He is averaging more than 9 yards per carry.
Fickling thought overconfidence was a factor in the Wildcats’ trailing 7-0 at halftime.
“We came in saying, ‘this is just Hobbs, we can win, and this and that,’” Fickling said. “They are a lot better team than we thought they were. They impressed me tonight. They are a good, tough-nosed team.”
MEAD BARELY MISSED RUSHING for 200 yards in his third straight game. Mead finished with 192 yards on the ground, giving him 1,367 this season.
“I owe it all to the linemen,” he said.
Mead is averaging 151.8 yards per game and 6.8 yards per carry this year.