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Cats post win at Carlsbad

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CARLSBAD -- Micah Gray had made the right play, even if he wasn’t so sure of it.

The sophomore running back carried 40 times for 218 yards for two touchdowns, including a 66-yard exclamation point on Clovis’ 24-10 District 4-6A win at Carlsbad.

With the win, its third straight and second in district play, Clovis (4-5, 2-0) will wrap up its fourth consecutive district title with a win over Hobbs on Friday.

Should the Wildcats falter against Hobbs, Clovis could still claim the district via tiebreaker with a Carlsbad win over Alamogordo and a loss by 11 or fewer.

Wildcats junior quarterback Daulton Hatley, who had an efficient game with 9-of-14 passing for 144 yards and what turned out to be the game-clinching 31-yard touchdown pass to Roland Chavez, felt the team is peaking at the right time.

“The guys got open,” said Hatley. “The last two games, our line has picking things up and played really well. We’re not looking to lose by (the safe margin); we’re looking to win.”

And with the way the defense is playing, it’s hard to blame them. Clovis’ defense has given up just two field goals in the last 14 quarters of play, and allowed just 156 yards to a Cavemen squad that was hoping to steal a playoff berth after starting the season 0-7.

“I’m proud of our kids,” Carlsbad coach Ron Arrington said. “We hung on to the very end. We still had a chance with two minutes to go, to get it into the end zone and tie the game up.”

But the Wildcats held in the fourth quarter, stuffing quarterback Kaleb Stevens on a fourth-and-2 from the Clovis 13 with nine minutes to play and again on an incomplete pass with 1:40 left.

Up 17-10, the Wildcats needed just a first down to ice the game, but Gray broke away from the defenders and turned on the speed.

“The kid who played great was our sophomore running back, and our offensive line,” Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus said. “After he scored that touchdown, Micah asked me if he should have just slid at the 5 so we could take a knee three times to end it.”

Had Gray done that, the Wildcats would have had less margin of error in a potential tiebreaker.

Clovis never trailed, scoring on their first possession with Gray hauling in a 39-yard pass and finishing off the drive five plays later with a 2-yard burst up the middle. The Cavemen tied the game late in the second when Teague Runner scooped up a Clovis fumble and went 50 yards the other way, but after Hatley’s third-quarter bomb to Chavez, the teams traded field goals before Gray’s big run.

While Clovis has some cushion in a possible three-way tie, Roanhaus is hopeful it won’t come to that with rival Hobbs visiting Leon Williams Stadium. The Eagles (4-5, 1-1), who upset Clovis last season, stayed in contention with a 24-14 win over Alamogordo.

“It’s always good for us to be home for a district championship game at our place, because we have a great crowd,” Roanhaus said. “The dog pound will be out. We talked as coaches that Carlsbad was the game we needed to get our kids up to play. We don’t have to do anything to get them up to play Hobbs.”

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