Clovis overpowers Roswell to close out abbreviated gridiron season

 

Last updated 4/6/2021 at 4:25pm

Kevin Wilson

Clovis senior Ernesto Acuna puts pressure on Roswell quarterback Zeke Gonzales, who throws away the football to avoid the sack. The Wildcats scored a safety on the play, as Gonzales was flagged for intention grounding.

CLOVIS - There was no blue trophy to play for, no district boasting to be had and no real semblance of a rivalry Saturday at Leon Williams Stadium.

But Saturday represented a final time on the gridiron, and a double shot of unprecedented with a bowl game in April, as Clovis dealt Roswell a 26-6 setback to end the abbreviated spring season for both teams.

The Class 6A Wildcats (3-2) won most of the physical battles, outgaining the visiting Coyotes 375-258, including 196-81 on the ground behind Jeston Webskowski's 25-carry, 159-yard effort.

"We went into the game saying we weren't going to hold anything back and leave the seniors in as long as they wanted," Clovis coach Cal Fullerton said. "We tried to attack the whole time. Roswell's a well coached team, tough and physical, but I couldn't be prouder of our team - the way they got cheated out of a fall season and stuck together. The guys who stuck around had a memorable five games, something these guys will never forget."


The teams saw their fall seasons wiped out by pandemic-related public health orders that barred prep sports, and a compacted spring season did not include a playoff section for the defending 5A champ Coyotes or the 6A semifinalist Wildcats.

"It was what it was," Roswell coach Jeff Lynn said. "I'm really glad these seniors got to play. It didn't end the way we wanted to, but them getting to play was a big deal.

"It was little bit anticlimactic. We beat our crosstown rival (Goddard) last week, and the NMAA puts us up against a 6A school. Give Clovis credit. They played better than us today, and they beat us."

Junior Milo Acosta completed 9 of 13 passes, including a 51-yard bomb to C.J. Gutierrez in the third to close out the scoring seconds after Roswell ended Clovis' shutout bid with a 13-yard Talon Sanders run. Acosta also ran for a 10-yard score in the second, but the junior was shelved on offense at times as Clovis prioritized getting seniors touches through a Webskowski-driven wildcat offense.

"It's something we've had in for the last three or four weeks," Fullerton said. "We ran a little wing the week before, but we were more spread this week. I think it opened up spaces for Jeston. We also had the option to hand it off to Jaden Phillips, who had 25 yards on the first play of the game. It gave us better gaps, different options than the wing did."

Webskowski scored a pair of rushing touchdowns - a 31-yarder after a safety gave the Wildcats a short field, and a 46-yard run just three minutes into the second half to make it 20-0.

The Coyotes weren't without their big plays, including a 75-yard receiving day from Alonzo Acosta and an 11-carry, 84-yard effort from Sanders. But between the Wildcat defense, a series of untimely penalties and a fourth-quarter officiating miscue that turned the ball over to Clovis after a third-down incompletion the Coyotes could never find a consistent threat.


Fullerton credited his defense for seeing Roswell from taking advantage of four lost possessions - two by interception, two on downs

"There were a couple of times they were on the field for a long series, and then we'd give it back to Roswell pretty quick," Fullerton said. "Our defense went out there and got a stop. Hats off to (defensive coordinator Drew) Hatley and our other coaches. I'm not sure Roswell's been hit like that in a while, and it shows."

Gutierrez, who took some early-season snaps at quarterback but largely anchored the Wildcat defense, said the focus was to just be physical.

"We knew coming in they were a tough team, very physical," said Gutierrez, who called the five-game season five more than he expected. "We worked on that all week, trying to be the most physical team in town."

Kevin Wilson

Clovis senior Jaden Phillips rushes for a 25-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage in Saturday's bowl game at Leon Williams Stadium.

 
 

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