By Kevin Wilson
CNJ staff writer
Pierce Hoyer realizes there’s nothing to be taken for granted on the football field, and the young Clovis Wildcats season has only reinforced that.
“Obviously, we didn’t play as a team at all against Cherry Creek,” the senior defensive back said. “We kind of realized we weren’t as good as we thought we were. After (an easy scrimmage against) Alamogordo, we thought we were going to roll over everyone. It was a rude awakening.”
Now, wide awake and 1-1 on the season, Hoyer said the rest of the Wildcats’ season looks challenging, and he doesn’t want to do it with a plain purple helmet. The helmet will stay that way until the team earns its “Cs” by winning consecutive games, and tonight’s game against Manzano at Leon Williams Stadium is either a chance to get the letters or worry if that day will ever come this season.
“They’re a good team, and they’ve beaten us the last three times we’ve played them,” Hoyer said. “We’ve got to get our Cs.”
Part of the concern lies not only with the letter, but that a loss to the Monarchs wouldn’t be the best start to a stretch that includes three of the next five on the road with Cleveland, Rio Rancho, Goddard, Artesia and Sandia.
“We play four quality teams (in a row) that are undefeated,” Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus said, including the Monarchs in the mix. “We’re heading into what I call the meat of the schedule.”
Manzano coach Chad Adcox feels tonight is when the Monarchs’ schedule toughens up, too. After rallying for a last-second 15-14 win against Volcano Vista, Manzano whipped West Mesa 48-0.
Going into his second season as coach after years as an assistant, Adcox said he’s not sure how far the team has progressed this season.
“Who knows? I thought we didn’t play well in the first game, but found a way to win,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to win ugly. The second game wasn’t a test. I don’t know transition wise (where we are) yet. Maybe we’ll find out Friday night, going into a hostile environment.
“I’ve been there twice, 2005 in the playoffs and 2010 when we were there. It’s always a cool environment, that ‘Friday Night Lights’ environment we don’t get in Albuquerque. I hope a lot of the kids aren’t shocked.”
The 2010 game, a 66-48 victory that set a combined points record at Leon Williams Stadium, was the start of a four-game winning streak. But the last three have been within a touchdown, and Adcox expects another tough affair.
“They look like Clovis,” Adcox said. “Big guys up front, good running back, good quarterback. Last time when we faced them, (starting quarterback) Dakotah (Yandell) was out. I think any time your starting quarterback is out, you’re not going to be as dynamic.
“They look good. They played very well against Highland, and I think Cherry Creek beats the heck out of anybody in New Mexico.”
The Monarchs have been impressive so far, but have no major weapon on offense. There’s nobody to key on, but there’s nobody Clovis can ignore, either.
“They run an offense without a tight end,” Roanhaus said. “They run spread and pistol, and they do a good job of running it. There are a lot of option responsibilities.”
Manzano (2-0) at Clovis (1-1)
7 p.m. today
Leon Williams Stadium
On the radio: KCLV-AM 1240, KCLV-FM 99.1, KTQM-FM 99.9 FM.
Coaches: Manzano, Chad Adcox, 2nd season, 8-5. Clovis, Eric Roanhaus, 36th season, 317-123-5.
Last week: Both teams posted easy victories in Albuquerque. The Wildcats defeated Highland 68-25, while Manzano cruised by West Mesa 48-0.
Last meeting: 2012, Manzano beat the Wildcats 28-20. Clovis leads the series 11-8, but Manzano has won the last four.
Monarchs players to watch: RB Corey Morrow, RB, 5-8, 171, Sr., 273 yards rushing on 44 carries, 3 TDs; RB/WR Charles Countee, RB/WR, 5-8, 165, Jr., 5 catches, 109 yards, 2 TDs; WR Josh Alvarez, WR, 5-6, 173, Sr., 7 catches, 88 yards, 2 TDs.
Wildcats leaders: Senior Kamal Cass has 251 yards on 34 carries and four rushing touchdowns. He needs 653 yards and four rushing touchdowns to pass Brian Mead for the Clovis career marks in each. Cass also leads the Wildcats in receiving with 37 yards on five catches, but four other players have double-digit receiving totals. Junior Jordan Holguin leads the team with 15 tackles. Adrian Chavez and Jaquan Franklin each have one sack.
— Compiled by Kevin Wilson