Clovis senior Manuel Robles scores the winning touchdown in Friday's 35-31 victory at Artesia. Robles rushed for 137 yards and scored three-second half touchdowns, helping Clovis rally from a 24-7 halftime deficit.
Clovis defensive backs Derrick Phillips, left, and Diondre Hunter hold Artesia wide receiver Alejo Cortez to a short gain.
ARTESIA — Landry Jones drew the early raves. The Clovis Wildcats stole the show.
Aided by a perfectly executed onside kick, the cardiac Cats overcame a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes to stun Jones and the Artesia Bulldogs 35-31 on Friday in front of a packed house and a national audience on ESPNU.
Manuel Robles scored the game-winner on a 2-yard run with 37 seconds left. It was the second week in a row Robles scored in the final minute to give Clovis a win.
“Coach has faith in me and I wasn’t going to let him down,” said Robles, who finished with 137 yards rushing and three second-half touchdowns. “I just kept my feet moving and made it into the end zone.”
Robles scored from a yard out with 10 seconds left last week in Clovis’ 13-12 win over Cibola.
“We refused to quit,” said senior cornerback Jaden Isler, whose interception at the Clovis 40 with 19 seconds left sealed the win. “We never think we’re out of the game.”
With Robles pounding the middle and Scott McMath working the edges of an undersized Artesia defense, Clovis (5-3) finished the second half with 296 yards after gaining 78 in the first two quarters.
Jones lived up to the hype that drew ESPN to Artesia for its Old Spice High School Showcase — at least in the first half. Displaying the strong, accurate arm and cool demeanor that landed him at No. 33 on the ESPN150 among high school recruits, Jones and the Bulldogs raced out to a 24-7 lead. With Artesia using four- and five-receiver sets, he completed his first 13 passes.
The 6-foot-4, 218-pound University of Oklahoma signee was merely mortal in the second half when he was 4-of-9 for 39 yards and was intercepted twice.
Clovis defensive coordinator Darren Kelley said the Wildcats simply executed better in the second half.
“The first half we didn’t come out ready to play,” Kelley said. “We were where we were supposed to be, we just weren’t making the plays.
“The big thing was we were getting whipped up front, especially on defense.”
Trailing 31-29, Josh Bryan recovered an onside kick to set up the winning score. The ball took a super-ball-like bounce over Artesia’s front line and Bryant cradled the ball into his arms.
“Cerron (Bailey) and Layne (Strebeck) set it up by going 100 and hitting the wall,” said Bryan, who also delivered a couple bit hits in the Wildcats’ dime package of six defensive backs. “It was a great team effort tonight.”
Clovis senior Jordan Mendoza was the more productive quarterback in the second half, completing all four of his passes for 86 yards as Clovis scored touchdowns on its final four possessions.
• Robles started the second half scoring by scoring from 4 yards out with a littler under four minutes left in the third period.
• Clovis pulled within 24-21 on McMath’s 6-yard run with 7:37 left in the game. McMath’s second touchdown of the night capped a 96-yard drive set up by Derrick Phillips’ interception. Mendoza kept the drive alive with a 26-yard pass to Chase Willis on third-and-10.
• After Artesia scored on Derek Montoya’s 2-yard run set up by a 53-yard kickoff return, Clovis answered when Robles scored from the 1 with 2:07 left. Bryce Hill’s 38-yard catch-and-run set up the score. Needing the extra-point kick to pull within a field goal, Mendoza bobbled the snap on the extra-point try. However, he redeemed himself by calmly finding Stefan Mills in the left corner of the end zone to make it 31-29.
• The Wildcats needed only a field goal to win the game after recovering the onside kick, but Robles rumbled 25 yards to the Artesia 9 against a tired and stunned Bulldogs defense, and scored the game-winner two plays later.
Isler said Jones was as good as advertised.
“He’s the real deal,” said Isler, who extended his school single-season record for interceptions to eight. “Most quarterbacks, you can be a step away and still make a play. With Jones, you almost have to break before the receiver does to make a play.”
Clovis 35, Artesia 31
Clovis 7 0 7 21 — 35
Artesia 7 17 0 7 — 31
Art — Caylan Hutson 9-yard pass from Landry Jones (Emmanuel Larez kick), 8:58. Drive: 80 yards in 9 plays. Key plays: Derek Montoya 11-yard pass from Jones to Artesia 47. Barrett Robinson 13-yard pass from Jones to Clovis 9. Artesia 7, Clovis 0.
Clo — Scott McMath 3-yard run (Robert North kick), 5:11. Drive: 67 yards in 10 plays. Key plays: Manuel Robles 3-yard run and 15-yard facemask penalty to Artesia 28 on 3rd-and-2. Bryce Hill 12-yard run to Artesia 12 on 3rd-and-6. Artesia 7, Clovis 7.
Art — Jones 5-yard run (Larez kick), 11:20. Drive: 80 yards in 12 plays. Key plays: Coly Hokett 28-yard pass from Jones to Clovis 27. Montoya 25-yard pass from Jones to Clovis 14 on 4th-and-17. Artesia 14, Clovis 7.
Art — Jones 2-yard run (Larez kick), 3:03. Drive: 85 yards in 10 plays. Key plays: Hokett 17-yard pass from Jones to Artesia 47. Hokett 22-yard pass from Jones to Clovis 26. Hokett 13-yard pass from Jones to Clovis 2. Artesia 21, Clovis 7.
Art — Larez 27-yard FG, :02. Drive: 70 yards in 7 plays. Key plays: Robinson 13-yard pass to Artesia 33. Jacob Olivas 38-yard pass from Jones to Clovis 17. Artesia 24, Clovis 7.
Clo — Robles 4-yard run (North kick), 3:32. Drive: 59 yards in 12 plays. Key plays: Robles 5-yard run to Artesia 34 on 3rd-and-2. Hill 18-yard pass from Jordan Mendoza to Artesia 16. Artesia 24, Clovis 14.
Clo — McMath 6-yard run (North kick), 7:57. Drive: 96 yards in 10 plays. Key plays: Derrick Phillips interception at Clovis 4. Chase Willis 26-yard pass from Mendoza to Clovis 42 on 3rd-and-11. Robles 15-yard run to Artesia 18. Artesia 24, Clovis 21.
Art — Montoya 2-yard run (Larez kick), 5:35. Drive: 44 yards in 7 plays. Key plays: Hutson 53-yard kickoff return. Montoya 15-yard to Clovis 25 on 3rd-and-5. Hokett 9-yard pass from Jones to Clovis 2. Artesia 31, Clovis 21.
Clo — Robles 1-yard run (Stefan Mills pass from Mendoza), 2:07. Drive: 62 yards in 7 plays. Key plays: Hill 38-yard pass from Mendoza to Artesia 24. McMath 6-yard run to Artesia 1. Artesia 31, Clovis 29.
Clo — Robles 2-yard run (run failed), :37. Drive: 45 yards in 5 plays. Key plays: Josh Bryant recovers onside kick. Robles 25-yard run to Artesia 9. Clovis 35, Artesia 31.
First downs 19 21
Rushes-yards 51-270 23-121
Passing yards 102 291
Total yards 372 410
Comp-att-int 5-8-0 24-31-2
Punts-avg. 2-39.0 1-39.0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-20 5-35
Rushing — Clovis, Manuel Robles 23-137, McMath 21-114, Hill 3-29, Mendoza 4-minus 10. Artesia, Montoya 11-72, Jones 9-33, Robinson 3-16.
Passing — Clovis, Mendoza 5-7-0-102, Jaden Isler 0-1-0-0. Artesia, Jones 24-31-2-291.
Receiving — Clovis, Hill 3-60, Willis 1-26, Layne Strebeck 1-16. Artesia, Montoya 7-86, Hokett 6-91, Hutson 4-21, Alejo Cortez 3-13, Robinson 2-26, Olivas 1-38, team 1-16.
Records — Clovis 5-3. Artesia 5-2.