By Jesse Wolfersberger: Freedom Newspapers
RIO RANCHO — Clovis rolled the dice twice in the final minutes and came out winners of its fourth straight game.
In what turned out to the winning drive, senior quarterback Devin Sweet kept the drive on a short fourth-down run and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Rishard Matthews with 10 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 20-14 win Friday at Rio Rancho High School.
“The worst thing that would happen is we go to overtime,” Clovis coach Darren Kelly said. “We said, ‘Lets see if we can get a first down and then get it in the end zone. Devin’s a big kid to try and bring down, surely he can get a yard.’”
The 6-foot-4, 203-pound quarterback got the yard Clovis needed, but he gave all the credit to his offensive line.
“I’ve got a big offensive line, so the sneak is always there.” Sweet said. “It’s always scary to think you might not get it. But I felt pretty comfortable with it because we have a pretty good line.”
Rio Rancho coach Phil Lopez said he was surprised by Clovis’ decision.
“I thought they might set up for the field goal,” Lopez said. “They’ve got a great field goal kicker, and he made the difference for them last week. So you have to think about that late in the ballgame.”
Robert North kicked a 48-yard field goal last week against La Cueva.
After the first down, it looked like the Wildcats would try a couple runs and hand it over to North’s powerful foot as time expired. Instead, the Clovis coaching staff took one last shot at the end zone.
“We decided to run a pass play to Rishard,” Kelly said, “and if it was covered, we would throw it out of bounds, then line up and kick it.”
“We work on those routes a lot,” Sweet said. “I haven’t played that well at quarterback this year, so I knew I was going to have to step it up sooner or later. We had the wide side of the field, and with Rishard, you can throw it anywhere and he’ll go up and get it. That’s what I did, I threw it to the back corner and he went and got it.”
Lopez said he was impressed with the pass.
“Gosh, it was just a great throw and catch,” Lopez said. “He couldn’t have put in a better spot. Our DB goes up right with him, but he makes the great catch.”
Sweet and Matthews gave Clovis a potent aerial attack to counter balance Brian Mead and his 182 rushing yards. Sweet was 6 of 9 for 100 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. All six passes were caught by Matthews.
“He’s getting better each week,” Kelly said.
Mike Love rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns for Rio Rancho (3-2).