Clovis senior defenisve end Layne Strebeck pressures Goddard quarterback David Vega.
While Clovis defensive coordinator Darren Kelley said one player will never be the difference in winning or losing a game, he did admitted the Wildcats missed leading rusher Manuel Robles more then he thought they would.
Without the injured Robles to soften the middle of the Goddard Rockets’ aggressive defense, Clovis struggled to move the ball in Friday’s 14-9 loss.
It was the first time the Wildcats (3-3) were under 20 points this season.
Robles, who sat out the game with a shoulder injury, rarely goes down on first contact and it often takes three or four tacklers to bring him down, which wears on a defense.
He excels at running the quick trap and the bounce plays, two staples of the Wildcats’ offense that were missing Friday night.
“Our backs can’t get arm-tackled,” Kelley said. “We should have been able to move the ball, but we didn’t hit the right hole and we didn’t get the right block.”
Goddard coach Sam Jernigan said Robles being out was the biggest factor in the Rockets (5-1) ending a six-game losing streak against the Wildcats.
Robles, who has rushed for 630 yards, is expected to return this week against Cibola, Kelley said.
Standing tall: Clovis senior quarterback Jordan Mendoza withstood a strong rush and several big hits in completing 8-of-17 passes for 75 yards in the second half.
Wasted opportunities: Clovis managed only North’s 31-yard field goal after starting its first two drives at Goddard 35 and 22 following a short punt and a fumble respectively.
Best offensive series: The Wildcats drove 63 yards in eight plays midway through the third quarter for its only touchdown. Mendoza completed passes of 17 yards to Willis and 18 yards to Bryce Hill. Junior running back Scott McMath traversed the final 34 yards on four straight carries, including a seven-yard scamper that pulled Clovis within 14-9.
Worst offensive series: The Wildcats had a chance to put points on the board late in the first half after moving 40 yards to the Goddard 10, but went backwards. Hill was tackled for a five-yard loss on first down. After eight-yard quarterback sack, Mendoza threw incomplete on third-and-23. Robert North’s 37-yard field attempt into the wind clunked off the right post with a minute left in the first half.
Best defensive series: The Wildcats held Goddard to its only three-and-out series early in the second half. Three runs resulted in six yards and the Rockets were forced to punt for the first time since its opening series of the game.
Worst defensive series: Even though it didn’t produce points, the Rockets put together a 15-play drive spanning the third and fourth quarters that chewed nearly seven minutes off the clock. The Rockets converted four-of-four third down conversions, three on David Vega passes.
Quotable: “We’ve can still got a chance to have a good season. We still have a chance to be playing in November. We’ve just got to go back to work.” — Kelley
Up next: Cibola was 4-0 and ranked third in this week’s Albuquerque Journal Coaches’ Class 5A poll heading into Saturday’s game against Sandia.
Goddard 14, Clovis 9
Goddard 0 14 0 0 — 14
Clovis 3 0 6 0 — 9
Clo — Robert North 31-yard field goal, 6:45. Drive: 10 yards in five plays. Key plays: Layne Strebeck fumble recovery. Pass interference penalty moves the ball to the Goddard 12. Clovis 3, Goddard 0.
Godd — David Vega 2-yard run (Jarred Martin kick), 11:55. Drive: 5 yards in 2 plays. Key plays: Desmond Anaya interception and 38-yard return to the Clovis 5. Goddard 7, Clovis 3.
Godd — Ruben Coronado 12-yard pass from Vega (Martin kick), 8:16. Drive: 28 yards in seven plays. Key plays: Anaya recovers Clovis fumble. Vega 9-yard run to Clovis 18 on third-and-9. Goddard 14, Clovis 3.
Clo — Scott McMath 7-yard run (pass failed), 3:40. Drive 63 yards in 8 plays: Key plays: Chase Willis 17-yard pass from Jordan Mendoza to Clovis 48. Bryce Hill 16-yard pass from Mendoza to the Goddard 33. McMath 12-yard run to Goddard 7. Goddard 14, Clovis 9.
First downs 12 13
Rushes-yards 36-154 27-129
Passing 77 113
Total yards 231 242
Com-att-int 8-11-0 9-25-2
Punts-avg 2-26.5 2-19.5
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 7-48 2-10
Rushing — Goddard, Ruben Coronado 22-103, David Vega 11-40, Bryce Taylor 2-6, Chase Kyser 1-5. Clovis, Stefan Mills 8-43, Derrick Phillips 6-40, Scott McMath 5-46, Jaden Isler 3-minus 6, Jordan Mendoza 3-minus 5, Bryce Hill 2-11.
Passing — Goddard, Vega 8-11-77-0. Clovis, Mendoza 9-25-113-2.
Receiving — Goddard, Hobie McClain 2-19, Coronado 3-27, Idriese Lytle-Harris 2-23, Gregory Ramirez 1-14. Clovis, Hill 5-73, Chase Willis 1-14, Isaac Edwards 1-17.
Records — Goddard 5-1, Clovis 3-3.