Second-half shutout propels Wildcats
August 26, 2016
HOBBS — Not only picking up, but improving from where he left off last season, Micah Gray turned in a career performance to lead the Clovis Wildcats to a 46-10 win over Hobbs Friday in their season opener for both teams at Watson Memorial Stadium.
Despite spectacular first- and second-half firework displays from the Hobbs parking lot, there were no fireworks to be found on the field for the Eagles (0-1). For the Wildcats (1-0), however, there were plenty of flashes and bangs on offense and defense en route to keeping their grasp on Rebel — the model cannon traveling trophy between the former district opponents.
“It was pretty fun,” Gray said. “It was just playing hard and playing like it was my last game. Went out there and played for my teammates. We flew around with the ball defensively getting stops and our offense blocked well. I just got the ball and ran.”
With Gray leading the charge, Clovis’ offense looked in mid-season form, grinding out big chunks of yardage on the ground drive after drive. Seth Lopez and quarterback Sebastian Roanhaus both had good outings as well, often times picking up double-digit yards after contact and putting the Wildcats in scoring position several times.
“He’s (Gray) everything he’s cracked up to be,” said Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus, now 27-12 in season openers with Clovis. “We’ve been fortunate enough at Clovis High School to have a lot of good, I mean great running backs. He’s a great team player, blocks well, runs well and he is one of our leaders.”
Yet it was Gray who ran all over, and sometimes just through, the Eagles. With a score in the first quarter, followed by a 30-plus-yard rushing touchdown in the second, his performance continued into the second half and to the final whistle, finishing with a career best six touchdowns and close to 300 yards rushing.
If there were any concerns about the offensive line heading into this matchup, they were quickly dispelled as the Wildcats seemingly ran whenever and where ever they wanted from the opening kickoff. This was emphasized with a 60-plus touchdown run by Jonathan Avila in the fourth, the Wildcats’ seventh rushing score of the night.
“We protected pretty well,” Roanhaus said. “But the big thing is, our big thing still, is our defense. You know, when you hold a team like Hobbs to 10 points in a game, as high-powered as their offense is, then your defense is doing a lot of good things. We had a lot of kids play real hard on defense tonight and they deserve a lot of credit.”
On par with Gray’s rushing performance was the Wildcat defense, who not only held a pass-heavy Eagles offense to 10 points, but recorded two turnovers. An interception on the goal line by Austin Contreras prevented a Hobbs score heading into halftime and a fumble recovery by Taitt Kuchta in the third quarter were just two of the highlights on defense for Clovis.
With its quarterback hounded throughout the night, Hobbs found little success on the ground or through the air at any point throughout the matchup. What yardage they did pick up mostly came from their quarterback Gavin Hardison making throws while scrambling towards the sideline away from the Wildcats pressure.
Next up, the Wildcats will head to Carlsbad Friday for a 7 p.m. contest at Ralph Bowyer Stadium.