ROSWELL – Opportunity knocked throughout Friday evening at the Wool Bowl. Only a defending state champion figured out how to answer.
The Goddard Rockets stayed perfect at their midway point of the season, taking advantage of three Clovis turnovers to post a 21-0 win over their Class 5A rivals.
Goddard (5-0) was outgained on the night, 255-206, thanks to a late Clovis comeback attempt. But the Rockets scored twice off the “pick six” and capitalized on another turnover with a one-play drive to stifle the Wildcats’ hopes of climbing back to .500 on the season.
“Anytime you get a win it’s a big win,” longtime Goddard coach Sam Jernigan said. “We had a lot of good things happen. Who would think you’d get two touchdowns off your defense?”
Clovis (2-4) likely didn’t, in a game it had chances to win. The visiting Wildcats had five chances inside Rocket territory, but stalled on drives of 10, 12 and 17 plays and had two turnovers on the others that quickly resulted in Goddard scores.
“We’ve got to be able to put it in the end zone when we get down there,” Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said. “We’ve got guys who aren’t finishing plays, and that goes from running backs to receivers to linemen.”
The first turnover went 78 yards the other way, as Josh Trujillo stepped in front of a Jordan Hill pass and had an army of blockers up the right sideline to put the Rockets on the board following a scoreless first quarter.
The next turnover, a fumble that traveled 23 yards backwards, came when Hill got hit on a pitch attempt. That fumble was preceded by a lost fumble from Goddard quarterback Ryan Greene.
When Greene got the ball back seconds later, he found Said Fuentes for a 37-yard score up the middle.
Clovis threatened the rest of the night, but couldn’t get any closer than the Goddard 4 as they were mired by penalties, heavy pressure on Hill in the backfield and dropped passes.
“It hurt losing (senior receiver) Corbin (Best) early in the game,” Kelley said of Best, who suffered a rib injury when he got sandwiched between a pair of Goddard defenders. “That kind of hurt, because Tucker (Martin) had to go both ways.”
The Wildcats still threw for 95 yards, but Goddard ended up posting 104 yards on interception returns. With a puncher’s chance left and five minutes to play, Josh Quiroz picked off another pass and returned it 36 yards for a score to finish off the victory. It’s the second shutout of the season for the Rockets — and coincidentally, Clovis’ second loss this season via shutout against a first-half slate that has included the top three teams in Class 5A and the back-to-back defending champion in Class 4A.
“We’ve played a heck of a schedule,” Kelley said of Clovis, which has three of its final four games at home, starting Friday night against Manzano.
Scores and highlights click here.