Before they were exposed as lip-syncers, Milli Vanilli hit it big with “Blame It on the Rain.” Two decades later, a pair of New Mexico football teams disregarded said advice.
The rain was a factor in Clovis’ 40-7 thrashing of the Alamogordo Tigers, no doubt, as the Wildcats were able to concentrate on the ground attack. But it wasn’t to blame for either of the teams’ ills.
Alamogordo coach Tommy Standefer chose to credit the rain. The former Clovis lineman and Eastern New Mexico University coach said the 45-minute weather delay offered much-needed respite. By the time the thunder rolled with 9:42 to play in the second quarter, Alamogordo had compiled a trio of three-and-outs and minus-4 yards, while falling behind 20-0.
“I don’t know if the rain hurt us any more than Clovis knocking the crap out of us,” said Standefer.
The Tigers returned from the weather break with a nine-play, 80-yard drive through the air, capped by a 19-yard reception by Dwaundle Baker.
Clovis assistant Darren Kelley felt the Wildcats lost focus.
“We’ve got to be able to not worry about stuff we can’t control,” Kelly said.
If anything, Kelly said on the sidelines, the rain may have helped the new surface at Leon Williams Stadium. The rain, Kelley said, helped pushed down the rubber inlay placed on the turf earlier Friday afternoon.
A reference to Milli Vanilli probably would have fallen on deaf ears, anyway. Every Wildcat on the field Friday was born long after the “singers” peaked and crashed in 1988.
Best offensive series
Other drives may have been flashier, but the easy winner is the Cats’ drive to open the second half.
After a botched kick return pinned Clovis at its 3-yard line, the Wildcats pleased the purists with an 11-play series — eight runs, followed by an 11-yard reception by Stefan Mills, then two more runs to set up a 17-yard run when Scott McMath refused to go down in the backfield and bounced out to an empty left side.
Clovis went 2-for-2 on third down — the first on Mills’ reception, the second on McMath’s score — and wiped out 6:19 to further dim the Tigers’ comeback hopes.
Worst offensive series
Clovis’ second-to-last drive of the first half. A 3-yard run for McMath, a 2-yard loss by Mills and an incomplete pass equaled a quick three-and-out.
Best defensive series
Easily the first. The Tigers dug themselves a hole with a false start, and a high snap on the opening play. The Wildcats pushed the Tigers back 10 yards on the three-and-out.
Worst defensive series
The Tigers’ only scoring drive. The Wildcats allowed a 19-yard reception from Torey Pinson to open the drive and twice failed to hold the Tigers on third-and-long plays.
Welcome back, Calbert
Arthur Calbert isn’t hard to miss with his 6-foot-5 frame, but he found another way to make people take notice.
The senior free safety, who was sidelined most of last season with a broken leg, put the brakes on a Tiger drive when his perfectly timed hit on Pinson jarred loose a pass over the middle.
“I just love getting big hits,” Calbert said. “It gets the crowd into it, it gets my team into it.”
With just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, McMath put the punctuation on the night with a 65-yard sprint down the right sideline. It was his second score of the night, and the last for either side.
The run put Clovis up 40-7, meaning a successful 2-point try would have sent the game into a running clock via the state’s 35-point mercy rule in the second half. It might have been welcome news to the fans who had stayed — to say 20 percent of the crowd remained would be generous.
Nobody could accuse Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus of running up the score, as he opted to kick the extra point. The snap for the kick was high, and holder Kyler Brewer threw slightly behind Stefan Mills on an attempt to salvage a broken play.
The Wildcats travel to Wilson Stadium in Albuquerque — the first of back-to-back weekends in the Duke City — for a matchup with Eldorado.
Eldorado beat Valley 42-14 Saturday night.