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Cats' season ends with setback at Hobbs

HOBBS – After falling a game short of a postseason berth in 2022, Clovis High’s football team took the next step through District 5-6A this season and earned a postseason berth, capped by a come-from-behind, 30-29 win over Los Lunas in the regular-season finale.

Rival Hobbs, though, made sure it would be a short stay for the Wildcats on Friday night.

Leading 8-0, the Eagles scored three touchdowns in the final seven minutes of the second quarter and handed the Cats a 50-13 shellacking in a Class 6A first-round matchup.

Hobbs (6-5) will take a four-game winning streak into this weekend’s quarterfinals at top-seeded and defending champion Rio Rancho Cleveland (7-3), which had a first-round bye.

Clovis (5-6) moved inside the Hobbs 10 early in the second quarter, but settled for a 23-yard field goal attempt that went wide right.

“I’m just disappointed – in myself, mostly,” CHS coach Andrew McCraw said of the team’s failure to get on the board then. “We had like a 20-play, 10-minute drive and we didn’t score.”

Senior running back Saul Armendariz scored on runs of 44 and 8 yards in the second quarter, the latter coming inside the final minute of the half to push Hobbs in front 29-7. That came right after the Cats had gotten on the board on a 64-yard run by senior quarterback Jett Stone.

When play resumed, the Eagles tacked on two more scores in the first five minutes of the third quarter to erase any doubt about the outcome.

Clovis’ other tally came on a 71-yard fumble return by sophomore linebacker John Royal in the final minute of the third stanza.

Hobbs, which beat the Cats 41-13 in the season opener at Leon Williams Stadium, got its final tally early in the final canto. CHS made a late bid to score again, but time ran out with the Cats inside the Eagles’ 20.

“We didn’t make plays on defense like we did (against Los Lunas),” McCraw said. “Hobbs was just a lot more physical than we were.”

Clovis was in virtually the same position last season, matching 3-0 district records with Los Lunas in the regular-season finale before the homestanding Tigers posted a 54-0 win.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” McCraw said. “I think we’ve got a good foundation.

“We’ve still got a ways to go, and we’ve got to replace a lot of good kids, but we have high expectations in Clovis. Now we have to make that next step and win a couple of playoff games.”

McCraw said the team had no illusions about what it was facing in the playoffs. Still, it was a bit disappointing.

“It sucks to go out this way, but our kids really, really worked hard this year,” McCraw said. “It was really a fun year for me to be a part of.”

Rams to host Bernalillo – Portales High, which as a No. 4 seed in Class 4A had a first-round bye this weekend, will face a fellow District 4-4A member in Friday’s 7 p.m. quarterfinal round tilt against Bernalillo (8-3) at Greyhound Stadium.

The Spartans (8-3) advanced on Friday night with a 52-0 first-round win at home over Valencia (4-7). They led 46-0 at halftime and ended the game on the 50-point rule with a touchdown pass midway through the third quarter.

Bernalillo won its first six games, then went on a three-game losing streak capped by a 38-0 setback to the Rams (9-1) at Bernalillo on Oct. 20. They routed Albuquerque Academy 50-14 in their district and regular-season finale before dispatching Valencia.