CNJ Staff Photo: Rick White Clovis student manager Dominique Smalls consoles Clovis senior Derrick Phillips after Mayfield beat Clovis 49-48 in double overtime Friday in the Class 5A state championship game at Leon Williams Stadium.
By Karl Terry: Freedom New Mexico
In a game with more drama and twists than a murder mystery, someone had to take a fall.
For the Clovis High School Wildcats, the ending was bittersweet as they lost by an extra point to the Mayfield Trojans 49-48 Friday in the Class 5A state football championship game in Clovis.
After four regular quarters and two overtimes it came down to a missed extra point by Wildcat kicker Robert North that determined a game that gave fans their money’s worth and then some.
“There was a lot of emotion tonight,” Clovis junior linebacker Parker Wood said through tears. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s going to hurt more tomorrow, but it’ll feel better next week.”
The adrenaline was so high to start the game that Mayfield quarterback Matthew Sandoval slammed into his running back at full speed on the first play from scrimmage knocking both players to the ground. Mayfield quickly redirected the adrenaline toward the Cat defense though as Nathan Enriquez took off on a 45-yard gallop for the first of 14 touchdowns in the game.
Wildcat senior Manuel Robles scored a team-record six touchdowns in his final game for Clovis High School. He said despite the loss it felt good to be on the field with his teammates one last time and to go out fighting.
“It felt great, I’m happy with what we’ve accomplished,” Robles said. “I’m not sorry for all the work we’ve put in. I love all these guys out here.”
Jim Cox found his seat early on his walker on the track about the 30-yard line. Wildcat football has a special place in his heart and he was pleased to see them in a championship at home.
“I’ve had a special seat here (on the sidelines) since 1959,” Cox said. “I’ve been to nearly all of their playoff games except some of the out of town games in recent years due to my health.
Cox said he had driven the activity bus for years and had even coached some of the Wildcat coaches and former players in youth football.
Trailing 21-19 at the half the Wildcat offense ignited their fans and their defense with a 29-yard touchdown from Jordan Mendoza to Bryce Hill and a 32-yard field goal by North. Mayfield didn’t answer the call until the 11:12 mark of the fourth when Sandoval ran a 35-yard keeper around the right side to tie the game at 28-28. From there the two teams took turns scoring in an epic ending.
“I’ve been watching state championships for a long time,” said Wildcat fan James Wilkerson. “This was one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Wilkerson, who graduated from CHS in 1979, said he could tell both teams played with great emotion.
“They (the Wildcats) have nothing to be ashamed about. That’s a good team on the other side of the field. You can’t ask the kids to do anything more than that. They played a great ballgame.”
Clovis finishes its season at 9-3 with trips to the state championship in three out of the last four years.
Mayfield runs its championship streak to three in a row and finishes with a 12-1 mark.