Clovis spent this week leading up to what should be a familiar site by the end of the season — the team bus, and a road game. The young Wildcats are hoping their season gets off to a familiar start — with a win over Alamogordo.
The Wildcats have won all three times since the teams started meeting annually in 2008, and haven’t lost to the Tigers since 1985. The lead the all-time series 27-7
The Wildcats do have concerns about the Tigers and a revamped offense. But, true to form, the Wildcats are mostly concerned with their own efforts.
“We did a good job being physical (at our scrimmage against Las Cruces),” Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said. “We’ve got to get smarter, and we’ve got to get better up front.”
The 7 p.m. affair matches two teams that are relatively young, but differ in game action. Despite a squad full of sophomores and juniors — including sophomore signal caller Taylor Shumard — the Tigers return 14 starters from last year’s squad. Meanwhile, only five starters remain from the Clovis team that won the 2010 season opener 40-0 for longtime Wildcat coach Eric Roanhaus’ 300th career win.
Each offense will have a few changes.
The Clovis power-run game will still have a place, but the Wildcats spent time Thursday working on their no-huddle offense as well. Offensive coordinator Chad Roanhaus has not been specific how much passing the Wildcats will do — only noting that Clovis will lean toward whatever approach puts more points on the board.
Junior running back Jonathan Johnson said the offense just needs to take care of its job and give the defense some cushion in what will be the first of six regular-season road games.
“We just have to stay tough, play through when we’re tired,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to let the defense do what they do, and come out on offense just as hard (each possession).”
Alamogordo, meanwhile, plans on a heavy run attack from Shumard and senior fullback Nate Martin in a veer offense.
“He’s a pretty effective runner,” Kelley said of Shumard. “He’s not a speed guy, but he’s a good, hard runner. The thing we’ve got to do this week is just be disciplined and take care of responsibilities.”
Alamogordo coach Tommy Standefer, a 1982 Clovis High graduate, told the Alamogordo News the key defensively would be stopping big plays — particularly on third down, where a conversion most demoralizes a defense.
“We have to be able to shut people down on third-and-long situations,” Standefer said. “We’ve let people convert those for a long time. The people who’ve watched us for a long time well say, ‘Boy, we never stop them on third down,’ and I agree. We've got to tighten down our coverage and not give up big plays back there.”