CARLSBAD — While waiting for the next chance on offense and in a 7-7 tie with their district rivals, Stefan Mills and Josh Potocki were picking apart the Carlsbad defense.
Mills told Potocki to be ready, because “Richie’s going to be open.” Four plays into the next drive, Potocki found Richie Chavez in one-on-one coverage for a 37-yard scoring pass, starting the floodgates on a 21-point second quarter and a 52-7 Wildcat route in the District 4-5A opener for both teams.
Potocki finished with five completions for 178 yards and three touchdowns, and Clovis racked up 460 yards of offense to negate a fast-starting Carlsbad squad and win their seventh-straight heading into a bye week.
“The big thing is we came out with a win and we didn’t get anybody hurt,” Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley said. the Wildcats will host Hobbs Nov. 7, where they hope to clinch the district championship and an automatic playoff bid.
Things didn’t seem so sure for the Wildcats early after the Cavemen (3-6) scored quickly with a no-back offense predicated on the arm and legs of junior quarterback Jacob Galindo. Galindo rushed twice for 17 yards, then found Robbie Arrington for a 20-yard score just 1:57 into the game.
“We didn’t do a good job the first series of being physical,” Kelley said. “We just sat back.”
Clovis answered back quickly, as Potocki found Moses Bibbs up the middle for a 53-yard score on a blown zone coverage.
“We just weren’t ready on the first drive,” Mills said. “When we scored quickly, it said, ‘we’re here to play now.’”
And play they did. the Wildcats held Carlsbad to 161 yards on the rest of their drives — not much more than the 142 yards Bibbs had on six receptions for Clovis (8-1).
The Wildcats took the lead for good on Chavez’ touchdown, as the 6-foot senior outleaped the Carlsbad secondary.
“Richie, with his size, he runs pretty well,” Mills said. “We just exploited those little weaknesses.”
Eefensive lineman Isaiah Henderson said the district opener felt different, and Carlsbad’s early score was a wake-up call.
“It made me kind of mad,” Henderson said. “I was kind of nervous at first, but everything was OK after that.”
Meanwhile, the Wildcat offense scored at will, with no turnovers and only one punt on the night.
Carlsbad coach Greg Arrington said it was a pick-your-poison kind of night for the Cavemen.
“What Clovis does to you is they put you in a bind,” said Arrington, in his second season at Carlsbad. “They’re so good at running you start playing the run. We wanted to make them throw the ball and they surely did.”
Junior Kyler Brewer rotated with Potocki throughout the evening, and found Bibbs for a 54-yard score on the second play of the third quarter.
“They had everybody in the box to top the run and that freed up the tight end. we’d get single coverage and Moses would run by them each time,” Kelley said.