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

Cats seek big district win

 

October 17, 2018

Kevin Wilson

Clovis line coach Chuck Jordan uses senior tackle D'Angelo Green to demonstrate getting leverage while blocking during Monday's Wildcat football practice.

CLOVIS — The cold air is a signal, indicating high school football games are getting scarce, playoff implications are everywhere.

Clovis High goes into its ninth game with pretty much everything on the line. The Wildcats emerged from last weekend’s 19-0 loss at Manzano with a 1-1 record in District 2/5-6A play, a 3-5 mark overall.

This Friday at 7 p.m., the ’Cats host district foe Eldorado at Leon Williams Stadium, with a bye week after that and one more regular-season game against La Cueva to follow. Clovis, a team with postseason ambitions, needs to get a win. Eldorado (5-2, 0-1 district) is looking for that and more.

“They’ll be hungry for a high playoff seed coming to Leon Williams,” Clovis head coach Cal Fullerton said. “So they’ll be looking to come and play.”

The Eagles may have to do that without senior quarterback Gabe Smith, suffering from an injured shoulder. Smith started against Clovis last year when the teams met at Albuquerque’s Wilson Stadium and Eldorado won 35-26.

“He’s probably one of the best football players in the state,” Fullerton said. “He’s kind of a question mark whether he plays or not.”

If Smith can’t go, sophomore quarterback Nick Petty will be the man under center. There may be some dropoff from Smith, but Petty is still dangerous.

“Gabe Smith, he’s a dynamic player; when he touches the ball he can score from anywhere,” Fullerton said. “This (Petty) kid isn’t as seasoned a passer, but he does a good job filling in.”

Clovis will look to pressure either quarterback, but Eldorado’s offensive line will have something to say about that.

“Eldorado’s big, they’re physical, athletic,” Fullerton said. “They do a really good job. ... They protect that sophomore quarterback. They’ll be really tough.”

Pressuring the quarterback is a two-way street. Clovis has its own sophomore passer, Chance Harris, who hopes to have some time in the pocket.

“We’re going to have to figure out how to protect on our passing plays,” Fullerton said. “They’ve seen us against Manzano; Manzano brought a lot of pressure. That’s somewhere where we haven’t been good all year. We’re going to have to get our running game going so people can’t pin their ears back and blitz us.

“And defensively, we’re going to have to get some stops on third down, get them off the field.”

Fortunately, Clovis will be trying to meet those challenges in friendly confines. The Wildcats are playing their first home game of the month, having last run through their balloon tunnel at Leon Williams Stadium on Sept. 28 against Lubbock Cooper.

“It’s been a while,” Fullerton said. “We’ll get back home and try to get back on track. We’re still trying to get into the playoffs. We need to win this next football game, no doubt about it.”

 

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