After playing from behind on the scoreboard for much of September, Quran Wiggins said it felt a lot better to see Clovis with the bigger number in lights.
“You could feel the guys bonding,” Wiggins said. “That’s what football’s all about. It’s no fun when you’re losing.”
If that’s the case, Wiggins had a lot of fun Friday night, with 221 yards rushing and all four Wildcat touchdowns in a 28-7 win over Rio Rancho.
The win snapped a three-game skid for Clovis, which hadn’t won since the opening week of the season.
“The good thing is we can get better,” Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said. “It’s a lot more fun to learn from a win than to learn from a loss.”
Sitting next to Wiggins in the locker room was Boone Wheeler, one of the defenders who helped make the night fun. The Wildcats gave up a 40-yard scoring run to Ram quarterback Tim Foley early in the second quarter, but held the visiting Rams (1-4) to 185 yards of offense and had a pair of goal-line stands in the fourth.
“We just came together as a team, and everyone played as one,” said Wheeler, a junior linebacker who noted that fellow juniors Kaven Creamer and Kenny Betts had a great game on the line.
Rio Rancho coach David Howes agreed.
“I thought they played well defensively,” Howes said. “They did a good job of containing Tim Foley. Their front five did a heck of a job.”
The Wildcats allowed 81 yards on the ground — one less than the 82 yards on Wiggins’ third scoring run. The play was originally a trap play in the middle, but Wiggins couldn’t find daylight there.
“I saw Morgan Gomez, he got a good block,” Wiggins said on his bounce-out to the left sideline, “and I can’t forget Raymond Beachum.”
The play stung the Rams particularly because it came right after Rio Rancho failed to knot things up. They received the ball to open the second half only trailing 14-7.
“That’s exactly what we wanted, to have that chance,” Howes said. “We didn’t drive it down, and they get the broken play.”
The next time Wiggins touched the ball came less than six minutes later, and it was a similar result up the right sideline for 58 yards and the final score before the Wildcat defense handled the rest.
Wiggins also had touchdowns of 7 and 4 yards in the first quarter, and Beachum rushed 14 times for 96 yards on the night.
Placed on the locker of each Wildcat was a sign that said, “Tough times never last, but tough people do,” However, the tough times are far from over with two-time defending 4A champ Goddard coming up.
The Rockets, who will host the Wildcats Friday at the Wool Bowl, cruised past Portales 42-0.
“We’ve got to get ready,” Kelley said. “Goddard’s going to run it right at us, and we’ve got to be able to stop it.”