GRANTS — As Jordan Holguin dodged his way down the field, it looked like he was in line for a pick-six. A pick-5.99 was the end result.
On a night where the Clovis defense dominated, the senior captain was more than happy to let the offense finish the job.
Holguin just barely got caught at the 2-yard line, invoking a mixture of cheers and laughter on the Wildcats’ sidelines. Micah Gray plunged in for the score on the ensuing play, one of three touchdowns in a 50-0 win at Grants.
While Holguin took some sideline ribbing for not getting Clovis’ first defensive touchdown of the season, he was happy the team fulfilled its primary goal of a shutout.
The play showed Grants, despite a rough season, won’t just lay down.
Rio Thompson, hired as head coach just weeks before the season opener, said his players have been a saving grace of a frustrating campaign.
“I can’t speak enough about the effort,” Thompson said. “You can’t coach effort, you can’t teach effort. It’s something that’s innate and I know the kids understand it. A year in the weight room, playing in some speed camps, and we’ll be a lot better.”
Dylan Smith also had an interception for Clovis (2-5), and there were four opportunities for others. Junior Tucker Dobbs was ruled out of bounds on a Grants pass he pulled down, and he ball bounced off of the fingertips for senior Brody Edwards, junior Kurt Kelley, sophomore Sebastian Roanhaus.
Random math: The 50-point win over the Pirates was the 18th time a Wildcat game has been decided by 50 or more since 1950, considered the modern era of prep football. Clovis is 17-1 in those games, with the lone loss a 52-0 drubbing by Carlsbad in 1957.
There are three teams with multiple 50-point losses to Clovis. Hobbs and Cibola are each on the list twice, and Santa Fe is on the list six times. The biggest win is a 75-0 win in 1991. Longtime Clovis coach Erick Roanhaus was the coach for 15 of the wins, with the biggest loss under his tenure a 49-0 defeat to La Cueva in 2009.
Since the New Mexico Activities Association implemented the 50-point mercy rule in the 2010 season, Clovis has ended four games early. All three previous early endings happened during the 2012 season. That Wildcats team averaged 39.8 points per game, and never scored less than 20. This year’s squad is averaging 26.7 points per game, and has topped the 20-point mark three times.
Around the district: A quick look around District 4-6A, which went 2-2 on Friday.
Alamogordo (at Clovis Oct. 24): The Tigers continued to put up the big offense, but Artesia was a little bit bigger in a 48-41 win.
In their second year under Dale Hooper, a Grants native and former Pirates coach, the Tigers (5-2) have averaged 42.2 points with sophomore Kyle Hooper behind center.
Carlsbad (hosts Clovis Oct. 31): It’s a good thing Goddard isn’t a member of District 4-6A, as the Rockets are 3-0 against Clovis, Hobbs and Carlsbad. But the Cavemen (0-7) nearly pulled the shocker in an 18-13 loss.
Hobbs (at Clovis Nov. 7): The Eagles (3-4) cruised in the battle of Lea County foes, with the visiting Eagles taking a 23-7 win on the blue turf of the Wildcats.
Everybody’s 0-0: As the Wildcats celebrated, senior Antonio Hicks was reminding everybody, “Alamogordo’s next.” While everybody may have a bye week in 4-6A, Hicks said the second season starts now.
Roanhaus said he isn’t sure if all four district teams having a bye on the same week will have much impact on the games, but he likes the format much better than when Clovis was in a three-team district.
“We don’t have an off week in the middle of district,” Roanhaus said. “That’s great. All four of us play each other three weeks in a row. That’s the way it should be.”