By Greg Price: Freedom Newspapers
After going scoreless in the first half, the Clovis Wildcats exploded in the final two periods en route to a 31-13 victory over La Cueva Friday night at Leon Williams Stadium.
Senior running back Brian Mead scored all four of Clovis’ touchdowns and finished with 26 carries for 165 yards — including 105 yards in the second half.
“He’s tough to tackle, period,” Clovis assitant coach Darren Kelley said. “Coach (Eric) Roanhaus says (Brian) can get loose in phone booth.”
Down 7-0 late in the third quarter, Mead capped a 57-yard drive by Clovis with an 8-yard cutback through the Bears’ defense for the touchdown.
Senior linebacker Cade Wheeler recovered a La Cueva fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Bears’ 18. At fourth-and-4 at the La Cueva 12, CHS faked a field goal and junior quarterback Jordan Mendoza hit Wheeler for a 10-yard gain and a first down on the Bears’ 2.
“We had a lack of communication,” La Cueva coach Fred Romero said of the fake field goal. “Half of the side knew about the fake and the other side didn’t.”
Mead followed the trick play with a 2-yard touchdown run to put the Wildcats in the lead for good at 14-7.
CHS’ defense created four La Cueva turnovers, including two fumbles and two interceptions.
“Tonight we got together as a team,” said Wheeler, who also picked off a pass by La Cueva junior quarterback Harry Oms. “The defensive ends were holding up the tight ends, so that allowed me to drop back.”
In the first half, the Clovis offense failed to generate any momentum. On their five possessions in the half, the Wildcats punted twice, missed two field goals and coughed up a fumble.
That all changed after the intermission.
“The whole team got fired up when the defense got some stops,” Mead said. “They (Bears) were overpursuing, and that allowed the offensive line and the running backs to open it up for me.”
Kelley said La Cueva’s defense stunted the entire game, and he told his players to stay on their paths and wholes would come.
“When they’re stunting its a situation where its a feast or a famine,” he said.