ALAMOGORDO — For the fourth year in a row, the Clovis Wildcats are 1-0 at the expense of the Alamogordo Tigers.
And that’s about all the Wildcats would like to remember from Friday night, after escaping from Tiger Stadium 20-19 when Eddie Trevizo pulled down a tipped pass for the go-ahead score with 1:10 left.
“We won, that’s the one positive,” Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said. “We didn’t play very well.”
The Wildcats dominated the offensive categories against the young Tigers, but triumphed through what might arguably be the worst game-winning drive in the storied history of the Wildcats.
After senior quarterback Tre Orozco gave the Wildcats first and goal at the Tiger 4-yard line with a second-effort, 17-yard run down the left sidelines, the Clovis offense sputtered. A 1-yard loss on a slow-developing run, followed by a delay of game penalty, a 12-yard loss on sack and an illegal substitution penalty, and the Wildcats were soon staring at a third-and 27.
Orozco underthrew Trevizo, and it looked as if the Tigers, who rode big plays to take a 19-14 lead late in the third quarter, would hold on and snap a 13-game losing streak to the Wildcats dating back to 1985.
But Alamogordo defender Michael Luna, who had four catches for 102 yards and two scores, mishandled the throw and Trevizo snatched it on a fortuitous bounce.
“I was just hoping he wouldn’t pick it,” Trevizo said. “He tipped it, and there wasn’t anybody else getting it.”
The win is the 305th for Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus, who is now five behind Jim Bradley for all-time New Mexico prep wins.
Clovis outgained Alamogordo 378-197, including a 290-61 advantage on the ground. But a big plays — or, depending on the perspective, Clovis mistakes — factored in all three Tigers scores.
The Tigers opened their scoring with a 21-yard touchdown reception by A.J. Jones — ironically, on a pass tipped by Clovis senior Justin Graham, who had one of Clovis’ two rushing touchdowns on offense.
Alamogordo inched closer in the second half, when sophomore quarterback Tyler Shumard lofted a deep ball to Michael Luna, who beat the Clovis secondary for a 66-yard strike. He gave the Tigers their first lead seven minutes later, pulling in a 30-yard score on a fourth-and-20.
Those three plays accounted for 121 of Alamogordo’s 136 passing yards.
“Defensively, we did a good job,” Kelley said. “We hold them, and we do a good job up front, and then we don’t have a clue what we’re doing on fourth-and-20. That’s something we’ve got to know how to do. There’s no excuse for that.”
Alamogordo had one more chance following Trevizo’s unlikely grab, but more bad luck fell upon them when Nathan Hernandez fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, allowing Clovis to run out the clock.
Tiger coach Tommy Standefer was upset with the finish, but satisfied that the Tigers — double-digit losers in the previous three Clovis games since Standefer took over in 2007 — had a chance to come out with the win.
“Coach Roanhaus is probably upset about everything except the score,” Standefer said. “I’m happy about just about everything in the game except the end.”
Orozco finished with 18 carries for 135 yards and 88 yards passing.
Taylor Lee scored Clovis’ second touchdown, a 1-yard burst midway through the second quarter.