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Clovis faces Bear of a challenge

Clovis’ Terrance Walker looks for a hole as he breaks to the outside during practice Thursday at the high school. (Staff photo by Eric Kluth)

A midget that tripped and fell backwards would still gain 10 times as many rushing yards than La Cueva’s first two opponents — which is minus 10 yards.

That’s one of the reasons the Clovis Wildcats face a giant challenge tonight when they host top-ranked and undefeated La Cueva at Leon Williams Stadium.

Here are some other reasons:

• La Cueva has won 15 straight games since a 2002 playoff loss to Clovis;

• The Bears have outscored their first two opponents 96-0;

• Senior defensive end Aaron Lewis, who has already signed with the University of Texas, was credited with 25 sacks last season;

Clovis defensive coordinator Darren Kelley is impressed.

“They are by far the best team in the state right now,” said Kelley, who added the Bears are probably the best team he’s seen in his 13 years of coaching. “I’ve seen teams with better individual players, but the thing that makes them so good is they are good across the board.”

At least the Wildcats (1-2) take a little momentum into the game after picking up their first win, a 31-7 win over Highland Saturday in Albuquerque.

Kelley said Clovis did a better job of moving the ball and were physical on both sides of the line.

La Cueva is as good as advertised, Kelley said, but not unbeatable.

“The biggest thing we have to do this week is not give them any gifts,” Kelley said. “We’re playing at home. If we play hard and do what we’re supposed to do, good things will happen.”

La Cueva has a balanced offense led by the speedy senior Frankie Baca, who scored on a 71-yard run on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage last week.

Emotional leader Zack Arnett (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) is a load at fullback while wingback Seth Johnson adds a third running option.

But the Bears’ success starts up front with a big, physical line that averages 248 pounds per man.

“From what I’ve seen, they do a good job of getting to the outside,” said senior linebacker Nick Maes, the Wildcats’ second-leading tackler. “We just have to listen to our coaches this week and work our butts off.”

As good as they can be on offense, the Bears’ dominance starts on defense.

While Lewis, a 6-4, 265-pound manchild, is obviously a load at one end, 6-2, 195-pound senior Bryan Pullen is no pushover on the other side.

“You can’t really game plan for Lewis because they’re so solid everywhere,” Kelley said.

The Wildcats aren’t likely to lineup and knock the Bears off the ball, so the Wildcats will look to get speedy skill players such as running back Phillip Williams, quarterback John Props and wide receivers Nick Welsh and Terrance Walker in favorable matchups.

It won’t be easy against a team that hasn’t allowed a team positive rushing yards this season.

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