Clovis senior Manuel Robles outruns Rio Rancho defensive back Victor Riveles on a 26-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of Friday’s game in Rio Rancho. Robles had three TDs in a 38-8 win.
Forget what Allen Iverson said. It’s all about practice for the Clovis Wildcats, according to Clovis players and coaches.
“It’s all about Monday through Thursday,” Clovis senior defensive back Diondre Hunter said minutes after Clovis ripped Rio Rancho 38-8 on Friday. “If you practice hard, then you play hard.”
Senior running back Manuel Robles said the Wildcats (3-2) had a bad week of practice leading up to the La Cueva game two weeks ago and it showed in the 26-21 loss.
“We got pretty big heads after we beat Palo Duro (Texas) a couple weeks ago, then coach let us know how bad we were against La Cueva,” said Robles, who finished with a career-high 224 yards and three touchdowns against Rio Rancho. “We needed this game tonight.”
Clovis defensive coordinator Darren Kelley said the key is consistency.
“They showed up and played hard,” Kelley said. “Now we have to see if we can do it every week. Maybe winning a road game will get us started.”
Breaking one: Robles’ 68-yard run near the end of the third quarter was the longest of his team-high nine TDs this season.
Taking the handoff on a quick trap, Robles rocketed into the secondary untouched, split the final two defenders and raced the final 40 yards to the end zone.
“The line did a great job,” said Robles, who has rushed for 630 yards on the season. “I think the (defensive backs) were looking into the backfield and I just ran between them.”
Robles also scored on runs of 14 and 26 yards in the first quarter.
Stepping in: Clovis finished with a season-high 343 yards rushing behind a line rearranged because of an ankle injury to senior all-district guard Dominique Chairez.
Senior Chris Roper was inserted at left tackle, with senior Mathew Martinez sliding to left guard.
Junior Scott McMath added 69 yards and a TD for the Wildcats.
Busy night: With the help of a strong wind, senior Robert North unloaded punts of 65 and 66 yards. He averaged 50.8 yards on four punts for the game. North added a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter, his second of the season, and five extra points. He is 14-of-15 on PAT kicks this season.
Passing grade: Quarterback Jordon Mendoza was 3-for-4 on the Wildcats’ 73-yard scoring drive late in the first half.
Mendoza’s 14-yard pass to Robles to the Rio Rancho 28 on third-and-4 kept the drive alive. Mendoza, who finished the game 3-of-6 for 44 yards, found tight end Lane Strebeck over the middle for a 15-yard gain to the 15, and after spiking the ball to stop the clock, hit senior wide receiver Chase Willis over the middle to put Clovis up 21-0 with 33 seconds left in the half.
Mendoza is completing 65 percent of his passes this season and has six TDs and three interceptions.
It was Willis’ first TD catch of the season.
Notes: Senior cornerback Jaden Isler added two more interceptions Friday, bringing his season total to seven. He also blocked a first-quarter field goal attempt. Last week, he blocked an extra-point try ... Junior Morris Sharp made several big hits on special teams.
Up next: The Wildcats host Goddard in the first of back-to-back home games. The Rockets (4-1) are coming off a 35-0 win over Portales.