Clovis senior Manuel Robles sidesteps the tackle of attempt of Cibola’s Mycah Huitron during a fourth-quarter run. Robles scored on a 1-yard run with 10 seconds left, lifting Clovis to a 13-12 win Friday at Leon Williams Stadium.
Clovis assistant coach Darrell Davis and the Wildcats celebrate Manuel Robles' 1-yard TD in the final seconds.
Junior linebacker Lane Ward (left) and senior cornerback Derrick Phillips listen to Clovis defensive coordinator Darren Kelley's instructions during a fourth-quarter timeout.
Doubled-over in the huddle like a jack knife, Manuel Robles was saving his strength for one last assault on the end zone.
With the Wildcats facing fourth-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line and the clock running down, Robles swept left, bounced off a pair of Cibola defenders, and slithered into the end zone. His second-effort score with 10 seconds left lifted the Wildcats to a 13-12 win over previously unbeaten Cibola and sent a large homecoming crowd home happy Friday at Leon Williams Stadium.
“I was catching my breath for one last run,” said Robles, who carried the ball seven time for 45 yards in the game-winning drive. “I wasn’t going to be stopped.”
It was the second straight year Cibola (6-1) came into the game unbeaten and lost.
Robles finished with 96 yards on 23 carries.
The Cougars outgained Clovis by more than 100 yards, but hurt themselves with miscues, including an interception that Diondre Hunter returned 60 yards for a touchdown to help the Wildcats (4-3) take a 7-6 lead into halftime.
Clovis defensive coordinator Darren Kelley said during film study before the game the Wildcats watched Cibola run the same play in last year’s game.
“I could tell it was going to be a deep comeback,” Hunter said of Cibola quarterback Jonathan Mader. "I read his eyes; that's what did it, He had no other choice but to throw it to me. He was going there the whole time."
Hunter picked up blocks from Phillips and defensive end Aaron Boydston as he raced down the left sideline.
Cibola coach Judge Chavez said he hopes the tough loss will instill an understanding what it takes to win on the road.
“You try to convince the kids that every little mistake will come back to haunt you,” Chavez said. ‘We dominated the first half and yet we’re down by a point.
“It’s frustrating to come down and play so well and walk away with a loss. Hopefully, this will help us down the road.”
Clovis looked in trouble early, giving up huge chunks of yards on the ground on Cibola’s first two drives. Already leading 6-0, the Cougars reached the Clovis 7 on its second drive, but penalties forced Cibola to settle for a 40-yard field goal try, which sailed wide left.
“We just kept our heads up,” Clovis junior Stefan Mills said about the Cougars’ early onslaught. “We could have got our heads down and could have got beaten who knows how bad, but we regrouped and went out and did our jobs.”
Cibola drove 79 yards in eight plays to take a 12-7 lead with a little under three minutes to go. But Derrick Phillips stopped quarter Jonathan Mader on the two-point conversion.
The Wildcats’ game-winning drive featured a 17-yard pass from Jordan Mendoza to Bryce Hill and the tough running of Robles, who lugged the ball seven times for 45 yards on the 71-yard drive.
Clovis senior center Nathan Carver said it was a matter of executing.
“We knew we couldn’t quit,” said the 6-foot-3, 268-pound Carver, who saw his first action of the season on defense in an attempt to combat the Cougars’ massive offensive line. “We just did what we do in practice every day.”
Mader finished with 123 yards on 14 carries.
Clovis 13, Cibola 12
Cibola 6 0 0 6 — 12
Clovis 0 7 0 6 — 13
Cib — Jonathan Mader 22-yard run (kick failed), 9:21. Drive: 80 yards in 10 plays. Key plays: Chase Bennison 14-yard run to Cibola 34. Bennison 18-yard run to Clovis 22. Cibola 6, Clovis 0.
Clo — Diondre Hunter 60-yard interception return (Robert North kick), 6:54. Clovis 7, Cibola 6.
Cib — Daniel Fiaseau 1-yard run (run failed), 2:54. Drive: 79 yards in 8 plays. Key plays: Mader 23-yard run to Clovis 40. Mader 15-yard run to Clovis 27. Fiaseau 11-yard run and 5-yard fascemask penalty to Clovis 9. Cibola 12, Clovis 7.
Clo — Manuel Robles 1-yard run (run failed), :10. Drive: 71 yards in 10 plays. Key plays: Bryce Hill 17-yard pass from Jordan Mendoza to Clovis 46. Robles 17-yard run to Cibola 37. Robles 11-yard run to Cibola 20. Clovis 13, Cibola 12.
First downs 16 10
Rushes-yards 44-177 42-139
Passing yards 45 65
Total yards 322 204
Com-att-int. 3-9-1 4-10-0
Penalties-yards 9-82 7-37
Punts-avg. 2-36 4-37.5
Fumbles 2-1 2-2
Rushing — Cibola, Chase Bennison 10-73, Daniel Fiaseau 12-53, Jonathan Mader 14-123, Marcus Berry 3-16, Michael Mascarenas 3-13, Zach Bennison 1-4, David Vargas 1-5. Clovis, Manuel Robles 23-96, Derrick Phillips 8-20, Scott McMath 8-22, Jordan Mendoza 2-(-3), Bryce Hill 1-4.
Passing — Mader 3-9-45-1. Clovis, Mendoza 4-10-65-0, Hill 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — Cibola, Brandon Simpson 2-34, Mycah Huitron 1-11. Clovis, Isaac Edwards 2-29, Hill 1-17, Chase Willis 1-9.
Records: Cibola 6-1, Clovis 4-3.