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Cats host Alamo in district opener

Staff writer

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The Alamogordo Tigers and the Clovis Wildcats have both won by blowout, and lost by blowout, won by close game and lost by close game.

link Staff photo: Kevin Wilson

Clovis senior Matt Lanier forces a fumble by Grants quarterback Brandon Hernandez during a 50-0 win on Oct. 10 at Grants. The Wildcats open District 4-6A play tonight against Alamogordo.

The biggest difference heading into their District 4-6A opener for both teams tonight at Leon Williams Stadium is that the visiting Tigers have won more and lost fewer than the host Wildcats.

“They haven’t played as tough a schedule as we have,” Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus said, “but they’ve managed to win five games.”

A win tonight for the Tigers (5-2) would match the team’s best start since 2006, when Alamogordo went 10-3 and finished as the Class 5A runnerup to Mayfield. It would also be quite a springboard for the Tigers’ introduction to the former three-team district, against a Wildcats team that has won 15 straight in the series dating back to the 1985 Class 4A title game and leads all-time 32-7.

But none of that puts anybody in the driver’s seat or, as Roanhaus said, “Everybody’s 0-0, last time I checked.

“It’s a new season, quote. Alamo’s visiting us, and Carlsbad (0-7) goes to Hobbs (3-4).”

The Tigers, in their second season under former Grants standout Dale Hooper, are probably the only team that could make the 12-team Class 6A playoff field without the district championship.

Under Hooper, the Tigers pretty much run everything out of the shotgun, with sophomore Kyle Hooper — the coach’s son — throwing for 1,887 yards and 24 touchdowns. He’s 92 yards shy of the school record.

“I don’t think anybody runs the spread as good as Rio Rancho,” Roanhaus said, “but they’ve got kids who can catch the ball and they’ve got a good running back (Hunter Graham, converted from tight end).”

Senior Kaine Bender, who was sidelined with injury until Clovis’ game against Rio Rancho, said he thinks Alamogordo has been just as impressive in his mind.

“For us, we have to stop the run first,” Bender said. “Second, we’ve got to get three-and-outs.”

Attempts to contact Hooper were unsuccessful, but he told the Alamogordo News during the Tigers’ bye week that they’re confident but cautious.

“They’re a pretty good team,” Hooper said of the Wildcats. “They’ve lost to some schools, but they lost to some pretty darn good schools, and in those games they competed. I know our kids are not going to overlook Clovis, that’s for sure.”

The Wildcats, meanwhile, are taking motivation in the fact that majority of NMPreps.com analysts have picked Alamogordo to leave Leon Williams Stadium with a win.

“I think we’re confident going into the game, but we can’t have big heads just because we won a game against Grants,” Bender said. “They’re picked to beat us, so we’ve got to prove them wrong.”

GAMEDAY

Alamogordo at Clovis

7 p.m. today

Leon Williams Stadium

Records: Alamogordo 5-2 (0-0 District 6-4A), Clovis 2-5 (0-0).

On the air: KCLV-AM 1240, KCLV-FM 99.1, KTQM-FM 99.9, streaming online at kclvsports.com at ktqmclovis.com.

Coaches: Alamogordo, Dale Hooper, 2nd season, 6-11. Clovis, Eric Roanhaus, 37th season, 324-133-5.

Last week: Both teams are coming off a bye. Twoi weeks agao, the Tigers lost 48-41 to Artesia, while Clovis routed Grants 50-0.

Common opponents: None.

Last meeting: 2011, Clovis edged the Tigers 20-19. The Wildcats lead the overall series 32-7 and have won 15 straight, dating back to the 1985 Class 4A state title game.

Alamogordo players to watch: Kyle Hooper, 6-3, 165, So., QB; Julian Segura, 6-1, 180, Jr., WR; Hunter Graham, 5-11, 190, Jr., RB.

Clovis leaders: Senior Juan San Juan leads Clovis with 701 yards on 131 carries with five touchdowns, while sophomore Micah Gray has a team-high eight rushing touchdowns to go with 461 yards on 75 rushes. … Junior Daulton Hatley has completed 47-of-103 passes for 636 yards, with six touchdowns and eight picks. Senior Christian Caldwell leads Clovis with 164 yards receiving on 11 catches and two scores. … Jordan Holguin leads the team with 60 tackles, while Brian McCormick has two sacks.

— Compiled by Kevin Wilson

 
 
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