Clovis junior free safety Stefan Mills brings down La Cueva freshman running back Ronnie Daniels in the fourth quarter after a short gain. Daniels scored later in the drive as La Cueva beat Clovis 26-21 Satuday at Wilson Stadium.
La Cueva senior running back Cameron Humphrey avoids the tackle of Clovis senior strong safety Cerron Bailey.
Clovis senior defensive end Lane Strebeck pressures La Cueva quarterback Harry Oms.
ALBUQUERQUE — It looks like Clovis handles adversity better than prosperity.
Clovis rebounded from a season-opening nightmare at Mayfield with a pair of impressive wins, but the Wildcats came out flat Saturday against La Cueva.
Gus Bowie led a punishing La Cueva ground game and the Bears took advantage of sloppy special teams play and a crucial fumble late in the first half to beat the Wildcats 26-21 at Wilson Stadium.
“As good as we played last week, we were as bad this week,” Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley. “They just physically whipped us up front.”
Harry Oms scored on a naked bootleg around from 14 yards out with a little over a minute left following a shanked Wildcats’ punt to put La Cueva up 26-14.
Clovis countered with a 31-yard pass from Jordan Mendoza to Scott McMath with 33 seconds left, but the Bears (2-2) recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
“We had a great week of practice,” La Cueva coach Fred Romero. “Some of the kids really wanted to play Clovis. We heard about them and saw them on film.”
The Bears came out — well, hungry.
Despite falling behind early when Jaden Isler returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown, the Bears kept pounding away at the Wildcats.
Justin Dugger fueled an 11-play, 67-yard drive in the second quarter that enable the Bears to tie the game at 7-7. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior battering ram picked up 35 yards on five carries in the drive.
Three plays later, Manuel Robles fumbled a pitchout and La Cueva recovered at the Clovis 21 with a little more than a minute left in the half. Oms lofted a perfect pass to Isiah Fuller in the left corner of the end zone to complete the four-play drive.
Clovis finished the first half with 37 yards and two first downs.
The Wildcats appeared to gain momentum after taking the second half kickoff 65 yards for the tying touchdown. Mendoza’s 5-yard play-action pass to a wide open Lane Strebeck tied the game.
However, La Cueva responded with an impressive drive of its own. Freshman Ronnie Daniels gained 22 yards on a pass from Oms and raced the final five yards to put the Bears up for good.
Bowie finished with 115 yards, including 82 in the first half.
“We missed Bowie,” Romero said. “He’s so good at making yards after contact, He gave us a big lift.”
After watching the Wildcats get manhandled a week after the Wildcats whipped Palo Duro 33-0 — their first shutout in 28 games — Kelley said the next move is up to the players.
“Either we’re going to have to work hard on Mondays through Thursdays in practice or we’re going to get beat on Friday nights."
La Cueva 26, Clovis 21
Wilson Stadium, Albuquerque
Clovis 7 0 7 7 — 21
La Cueva 0 14 6 6 — 26
Clo — Jaden Isler 62-yard punt return (Robert North kick), 2:57. Clovis 7, La Cueva 0.
LC — Brandon Haltom 1-yard run (Gordon Rowe kick), 2:17. Drive: 67 yards in 11 plays. Key plays: Gus Bowie 10-yard run to Clovis 33 on 3rd-and-1. Justin Dugger 8-yard run to Clovis 18, Bowie 7-yard run to Clovis 1. Clovis 7, La Cueva 7.
LC — Isiah Fuller 7-yard pass from Harry Oms (Rowe kick), :37. Drive: 21 yards in 4 plays. Key plays: La Cueva recovers fumble at Clovis 21. Bowie 11-yard run to Clovis 11. La Cueva 14, Clovis 7.
Clo — Lane Strebeck 5-yard pass from Jordan Mendoza. (North kick), 7:56. Drive: 65 yards in 9 plays. Key plays: Bryce Hill 14-yard run to La Cueva 40. Robles 13-yard run to La Cueva 20. Mendoza 8-yard run to La Cueva 3. Clovis 14, La Cueva 14.
LC — Ronnie Daniels 5-yard run (kick blocked), 2:52. Drive: 68 yards in 10 plays. Key plays: Bowie 9-yard run to Clovis 43. Daniels 22-yard pass from Oms to Clovis 21. Dugger 9-yard run to Clovis 5 on 3rd-and-3. La Cueva 20, Clovis 14.
LC — Oms 14 yard run (run failed), 1:19. Drive: 20 yards in 3 plays. Key plays. La Cueva takes over at Clovis 20 after 16-yard punt. La Cueva 26, Clovis 14.
Clo — Scott McMath 31-yard pass from Mendoza (North kick), :33. Drive: 70 yards in 6 plays. Key plays: Chase Willis 15-yard pass from Mendoza to Clovis 45. Strebeck 8-yard pass from Mendoza to La Cueva 46. 15-yard pass interference to La Cueva 31. La Cueva 26, Clovis 21.
First downs 12 14
Rushes-yards 36-128 45-231
Passing yards 71 33
Total yards 199 264
Com-att-int 7-12-0 3-5-0
Punts-avg. 6-31 4-38.7
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 6-54 5-50
Rushing — Clovis, Manuel Robles 16-68, Derrick Phillips 6-30, Jordan Mendoza 5-(-4), Scott McMath 7-14, Bryce Hill 2-20. La Cueva, Harry Oms 6-26, Justin Dugger 7-51, Ronnie Daniels 10-33, Gus Bowie 18-115, Marcus Baca 1-2, Brandon Haltom 1-1, Cameron Humphrey 2-3.
Passing — Clovis, Mendoza 7-12-71-0. La Cueva, Oms 3-5-33-0.
Receiving — Clovis, Bryce Hill 1-7, Lane Strebeck 2-13, Manuel Robles 1-(-1), Scott McMath 1-31, Chase Willis 1-15, Jaden Isler 1-6. La Cueva, Isiah Fuller 2-11, Daniel 1-22.
Records — Clovis 2-2. La Cueva 2-2.