ALBUQUERQUE — If you can’t move the ball 5 feet, Charles Dotson said, you don’t deserve to win.
The Clovis Wildcats discovered if you can’t protect a lead for five minutes, you’re not going to win.
The Eagles rallied for two touchdowns in the final 3:52, then gambled on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime for a 22-21 win over the Clovis Wildcats on Friday night at Wilson Stadium.
The Eagles (2-0) got touchdown receptions from Jami Abdullah and Ross Williams to tie Clovis, then got a roughing the kicker call on their overtime conversion attempt, set up by Abdullah’s 10-yard reverse to the right.
The penalty moved the ball to the 1 1/2-yard line, and there was no doubt in Dotson’s mind.
“If you can’t get the ball a yard and a half, you don’t deserve to win,” Dotson said.
Meanwhile, Clovis assistant Darren Kelley felt the Wildcats might have thought they’d already secured the win after a 14-point flurry in the third and a fourth-down stop on their 14 with six minutes to play.
“We didn’t finish the game,” Kelley said. “We were 14 points up and we thought we had finished the game. We quit blocking, we quit tackling.”
The teams played a scoreless first half, with each team rarely threatening. The Wildcats got to the Eldorado 25 late in the second, but penalties drove them back and a fourth-down jump ball throw from Josh Potocki was intercepted by Nick Schnedar. The Eagles got to the Wildcat 15 on a fumble recovery, but Josh Bryan intercepted a fade pass from Arvin Day on the ensuing play.
Clovis drove 10 plays to open the third quarter, with Scott McMath scoring from 1 yard out.
The Wildcats struck again quickly, as Denzel Pleasant picked off a Day pass on the right sideline, and Potocki found Moses Bibbs on a crossing route for a 30-yard scoring reception on third down.
Eldorado was stopped on a 19-play drive that bridged the third and fourth quarters, but capitalized on a pair of short fields in the fourth quarter.
A Clovis punt of 11 yards went out of bounds to give Eldorado a 30-yard field, and Abdullah caught a crossing pattern and beat the Wildcat defenders in a 30-yard footrace on second down.
Evan Mount returned the ensuing Clovis punt 30 yards to set up the game-tying drive, and Abdullah got an 18-yard reception on a fourth down to set up Williams’ 5-yard catch with 44 seconds to play.
Clovis scored on its only play in overtime, a 10-yard McMath power sweep to the right. The Eagles scored on Abdullah’s reverse, and Clovis was called for roughing the kicker on the extra point kick.
“You knew they were going to go for it,” Kelley said. “We’ve got to be able to line up right and stop them.”
The Wildcats couldn’t, and Maestas found a hole off tackle to the left to complete the comeback
There’s little time to celebrate, Dotson said.
“We’ve got Cibola next week; it doesn’t get any easier,” Dotson said. “We’ve got La Cueva after that, then Mayfield. We’ve got to be steadfast in the way we do things.”
It doesn’t get much easier for Clovis, either. The Wildcats return to Albuquerque next week to face Highland at Milne Stadium, then return home Sept. 19 against La Cueva.