CHS FOOTBALL: Cats dig deep for win

Clovis High fullback Manuel Robles breaks off a long run in Saturday’s 21-13 win over Cibola in Albuquerque. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer

What happened: Clovis ended Cibola’s chances for an undefeated season with a 21-13 victory Friday night at Milne Stadium.

Why it happened: After holding Cibola scorelss in the first half, the Wildcats needed a 16-play, 82-yard drive to seal their third straight win. Brian Mead capped the seven-minute drive by scampering 17 yards for his third touchdown of the game, which put Clovis up 21-13 with a little less than two minutes left.

After being held to 29 yards and two first downs in the first half, Cibola scored twice within a seven-minute span bridging the third and fourth quarters to pull within 14-13.

“Our intensity was still up in the second half,” senior linebacker Cade Wheeler said. “Everybody makes adjustments in the second half and (Cibola) did that. Then it was our turn.”

Turning point: Clovis’ last touchdown drive was kept alive by a roughing the kicker penalty on fourth-and-20 at its 42-yard line.

Best Clovis offensive series: With 3:03 left in the first quarter, Clovis began a 14-play, 80-yard drive that led to its second score. The Wildcats converted two third downs on the drive, including Manuel Robles’ 8-yard run on third-and-six at the Cibola 19. Robles charged through the Cougars line and broke senior linebacker Kameron Beckman’s tackle attempt.

Mead scored two plays later on a 9-yard run.

Mead also had runs of 11 and 12 yards and Robles added runs of 13 and 9 yards.

Best Clovis defensive series: After Cibola recovered a fumble at the Wildcats’ 35, the Clovis defense held the Cougars on downs. After a pair of runs gained six yards, Clovis broke up two Jonathan Mader passes, including Kolt Merren jarring the ball loose from a Cougars’ receiver on fourth down.

Quotes: “We challenged them at halftime,” Cibola head coach Judge Chavez said of his Cougars. “We were somewhere we hadn’t been before. We were behind and getting dominated and hadn’t moved the ball. We talked to them at half time about scratching and fighting and playing with some heart.”

Offensive hero: Mead finished with 184 yards, which ws eight yards below his season average. Mead’s longest run was 17 yards.

“Part of it was they’re big and strong upfront,” Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley said. “Hopefully, you’re able to get into the secondary, but we just weren’t able to get there tonight.”

Generously listed at 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, Mead lowered his shoulder and plowed through the Cougars’ line time after time.

Best defensive play: On the Cougars’ last possession of the first half, Michael Cohen chased dwon a back-peddling Mader for a 16-yard loss.

Notable: With Cibola falling to the Wildcats, Mayfield is the only undefeated team in Class 5A. … Clovis has won its last three games by an average of 8.1 points. … The combined record of Clovis’ first seven opponents is 23-15 … Clovis is averaging 28 points a game.