By Kevin Wilson
CNJ staff writer
Given the one-sided nature of Clovis and Hobbs on the football field in the last decade-plus, “rivalry” wasn’t the best way to put it. “Annual game” may have sufficed, with the Wildcats winning the last 12 and only two of them by less than three touchdowns since the streak started with a 51-7 Clovis victory in 2001.
Whether Hobbs’ 30-28 victory Friday night at Watson Stadium is a blip on the radar or a turning of the tides, Eagles coach Charles Gleghorn said the game is big for Hobbs’ future in the series. The win, the second-year Hobbs coach and four-time state champion said, is something Eagles players can point to in recent memory so bad things don’t snowball into blowouts.
Recent history with Carlsbad shows the same dynamic. Before the Cavemen pulled a 14-13 upset in the 2010 season, the Wildcats had won seven in a row by an average margin of 28 points. In the two contests since, Clovis has won by just 12 total points.
Go … Cavemen???: The Wildcats are idle this week, with two weeks to prepare for Carlsbad. They’ll be rooting for the Cavemen to beat Hobbs at Ralph Bowyer Stadium, which would set up a possible three-team tiebreaker should Clovis then knock off Carlsbad at home.
In a three-way tie, teams receive a plus or minus score for point differential, with each game capped at 13 points to de-emphasize blowouts. The current standings have Hobbs at plus-2 and Clovis at minus-2. Depending on the margin of a Carlsbad win, Clovis would need to beat the Cavemen by as little as 3 points (assuming a 1-point Carlsbad win over Hobbs) or as many as eight (in the event of a Carlsbad blowout).
“If Carlsbad beats them, we’re right back in it,” Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus said. “We’re not completely out of it yet. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, it’s an oncoming train, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Amid a raucous celebration for Hobbs after the final horn sounded, Gleghorn said he didn’t feel the need to remind the Eagles they haven’t won the district yet. While they know and respect the Cavemen, Gleghorn said the Eagles definitely understand the importance of following up big wins. He said the team confirmed that when, following a season-opening win against Gadsden, the Eagles went into Artesia and took care of business with a 33-12 win.
“We found out later that Artesia wouldn’t have a great record,” Gleghorn said, “but it was big for us at that time.”
Where Clovis stands: Even if the Cavemen lose, a win over Carlsbad on Nov. 8 might just sneak the Wildcats into the playoffs. At 4-5, Clovis currently sits at 13th among Class 5A teams.
The No. 12 team is Manzano, which Clovis is unlikely to jump given the Monarchs’ 14-13 win at Leon Williams Stadium earlier this season. Higher up the list, though, are the Cavemen, and a head-to-head win is likely to leap-frog Clovis into the top 12 conversation.
The Wildcats do have wins over Sandia and Goddard to their credit, and Clovis needs quality wins to get in with a 5-5 mark. But those wins, to Roanhaus, are “the furthest thing from my mind” as the focus will be on preparing for the Cavemen for the next two weeks.
Help on the rush: Kamal Cass broke off his biggest runs, 43 and 68 yards, in a monster fourth quarter. But while the Eagles were limiting Cass, other players were finding the holes and making big plays.
Traivon Sopila scored on a reverse for the second time in three weeks, this time from 15 yards out, and David Vela showed a burst of speed and his own knack for eluding tacklers when he broke loose for a 31-yard rushing score.
Up the Creek: This is a weekly feature on Cherry Creek, Clovis’ first opponent of the season.
Since its 42-6 opening win at Clovis, there have been few bumps for the Bruins, ranked third in Colorado Class 5A and 8-1 on the season. The Bruins’ most recent victories have been 21-0 over Grandview and 41-34 over Eaglecrest.