If the Clovis Wildcats run the table — still a possibility with three of four games at home — they’ll finish the regular season at 6-4.
With a schedule that’s included three of Class 5A’s top teams, that should be more enough to get the Wildcats into the 5A playoffs — even though all three of those games ended in defeat.
But Clovis counted on losing the first-round bye afforded to the top four teams before Friday’s 21-0 loss in Roswell to an opportunistic Goddard squad.
“We kissed that (top four seed) goodbye a long time ago,” Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said, referring to the Wildcats’ 28-17 loss at Rio Rancho Cleveland two weeks prior. “But that’s no big deal.
“We’ll still go to the playoffs, we’ll line up and be ready to go.”
Challenges still remain. Next week’s opponent, Artesia, has won three straight and defeated Las Curces High 42-21 on Friday, and 5-1 Manzano will be coming to Clovis Oct. 15 on a bye week.
Play of the game: Long drives produced nothing for either team. The Wildcats had marches of 10, 12 and 17 plays end up in no points. Same story for Goddard, which came up empty on a 10-play effort to open the game.
So a short drive was key. The Rockets’ only offensive touchdown came on a one-play drive after a lost Clovis fumble at the Wildcats’ 37.
Quarterback Ryan Greene, who hadn’t thrown a pass through the first 18 minutes of the game, went for the jugular with a strike to Said Fuentes 20 yards downfield. Fuentes shielded himself from safety Tre Orozco, broke a tackle and rumbled the remaining yards untouched for a two-score lead.
The tally helped Goddard survive a night where it rushed for 78 yards on its opening drive, and 60 the rest of the night.
Rockets coach Sam Jernigan was asked if it was a surprise that his pound-it-out running game produced no touchdowns and the team still won comfortably. “Obviously,” a relaxed Jernigan said.
“That was a good job defensively on both teams,” Jernigan said. “Both of us had some opportunities.”
Opportunities lost: Goddard had its share of misfortune, thanks to the Clovis defense. The Wildcats dodged an early bullet when Goddard took the opening drive to the Clovis 4. But Fred Kelley forced a fumble, and Boone Wheeler pounced on the loose ball.
Goddard’s other turnover came when Kenny Betts picked up a ball stripped from Greene at the Clovis 42.
Clovis missed a long drive opportunity in the third quarter when Jordan Hill, under heavy pressure from sophomore Josh Quiroz, threw a fourth and 6 pass high.
Hill kept a fourth-quarter drive going with a 15-yard run on a fourth-and-15, but wasn’t as fortunate four plays later — he was stopped a yard short on the fourth-and-10 play.
Clovis’ final drive went to fourth down twice — one conversion with an eight-yard toss to Dalton Britt, and one stopped short when an out to Tucker Martin landed out of bounds.