The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

What the deuce?

Cooper beats Clovis 40-2, dropping Wildcats to 2-4 on season


September 29, 2018

Kevin Wilson

Clovis running back Montez Wright tries to shake Lubbock Cooper defender Jordan Kirkpatrick in the second quarter of Friday's game at Leon Williams Stadium. The visiting Pirates won 40-2.

CLOVIS — The Clovis High football team knew exactly what it was facing in Lubbock Cooper Friday night — a solid Texas program, a team that does everything well most of the time.

Cooper did a lot well a lot of the time Friday, getting its offense churning right away and displaying a defense that didn’t allow Clovis to do much. The result was a 40-2 victory for the Pirates on a cold, blustery Homecoming night at Leon Williams Stadium.

“They got it rolling early on offense and got some things going, got it in the end zone and jumped up on us quick,” Clovis head coach Cal Fullerton said. “And we couldn’t answer, went three-and-out two, three times in a row, and you can’t do that against a good football team. We had problems with snaps, dropped snaps. You go up against a good team like that and make those kind of mental mistakes and you’re going to be in trouble, be in for a long night. And we sure were.”

While losing its fourth straight after a 2-0 start, Clovis suffered its worst defeat since falling 38-0 to Mayfield in the 2009 state 5A semifinals. It was the first time ever that the Wildcats scored two total points, though they did allow that much once, beating Los Alamos 41-2 to open Eric Roanhaus’ first season as head coach in 1978.

The Pirates, meanwhile, improved to 5-0, winning by 38 despite a fumble and interception in Clovis’ end zone, and a fumble in their own that resulted in a safety.

“The only thing I’m disappointed in is we didn’t take care of the football very well,” Cooper head coach Paul Page said. “Other than that, I’m really pleased. I thought the kids played really hard.”

And did so beginning with their game-opening drive that carried them 71 yards in just six plays, the biggest of which was a 41-yard run by Isaiah Johnson to the Wildcat 2. That was followed by a pair of Johnson one-yard runs, the second of which put Cooper on the board with just 2:43 gone by in the game. Brock Thompson’s extra point made it 7-0.

Clovis’ first series was a three-and-out, and on the Cooper possession that followed, Tyler Hairston bolted 45 yards for a score. Thompson’s extra point gave the Pirates a 14-0 lead with 5:41 still to play in the first quarter.

Another Clovis three-and-out was followed by yet another Cooper scoring drive, this one covering 59 yards and resulting in a 22-yard Thompson field goal with 31.8 seconds left in the first.

Clovis’ third consecutive three-and-out that ended on fourth-and-20 from the Wildcat 10 was followed by Cooper taking over at its own 45 after Montez Wright’s punt. The drive reached Clovis’ 8 before Jaylen Mason ended it with an interception he returned to the Wildcat 9.

Unfortunately, that encouraging play quickly transformed into disaster when on first down, Clovis quarterback Chance Harris was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety that made it 19-0 with 10:16 left in the second quarter.

The safety was followed by Wright’s free kick, setting up another scoring drive for Cooper, this one traveling 69 yards and ending in six plays with Brenden Mehl’s 45-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Ben Marcinkowski. Another Thompson kick gave the Pirates a 26-0 advantage.

Clovis’ next series resulted in another punt, but during the possession, the Wildcats did pick up their initial first down of the night — an 11-yard run by Demarco Fitch with 8:08 left before halftime.

Cooper’s next possession was the one ending in a safety. The Pirates were backed up inside their own 2 when they fumbled into the end zone and Mehl recovered, preventing a touchdown and saving five points.

Kevin Wilson

Lubbock Cooper wide receiver Zyketh Campbell shakes off the tackle attempt of Clovis' Jeremiah Lucero in the first quarter of Friday's game.

Cooper was close to making it more than a 30-point difference late in the half, but on third-and-three from the Clovis 9, Johnson ran toward the end zone, then fumbled into it just before breaking the plane, and Clovis’ A.J. Silva recovered the ball for a touchback.

Cooper’s first drive of the second half looked promising until Jeston Webskowski intercepted Mehl in the end zone to bring the series to an abrupt halt.

But the Pirates scored the second half’s only points — on a four-yard touchdown pass from Mehl to Johnson in the third quarter and a 33-yard run by Nick Caro.

Soon, Cooper ended its visit to the Land of Enchantment still undefeated.

“I thought we had the opportunity to (be unbeaten),” Page said, “but we had to have some things go right and some people step in, and they did.”

Fullerton, meanwhile, saw a positive to the Wildcats’ three-game stretch against Lubbock teams, even though they were 0-3 in it.

“I think when we move into districts,” he said, “we’re going to be battle-tested.”


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