After today’s 7 p.m. clash at Leon Williams Stadium, the Clovis Wildcats will have a sub-.500 record no matter what.
And the visiting Artesia Bulldogs will have a winning record, no matter what. The hope for both teams is that no matter what, they get better with district play fast approaching.
“The people they’ve played have been the best in the state,” Artesia coach Cooper Henderson said. “They’re getting better every week.”
That would sometimes be tough to convince the Wildcats, who have yet to win two in a row this season — and thus earn the C’s on their helmets. Clovis (2-4) recovered from a three-game slide with a home win over Rio Rancho, but took a 21-0 loss at Roswell Goddard last week that was frustrating because it was winnable.
The Wildcats limited Goddard — the two-time defending Class 4A champions — to one offensive touchdown, but couldn’t capitalize on three drives of at least 10 plays. Meantime, all three of their turnovers turned into Goddard touchdowns — including a pair of interception returns.
“We definitely had our chances last week,” Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said. “We’ve got to start taking care of ourselves, just take care of our responsibilities and not worry about other people.”
Of course, the Bulldogs (4-2) give the Wildcats concerns, with an offense that has put plenty of points on the board. The Bulldogs are averaging more than 47 a game and haven’t scored less than 38 in a game all season — a mark the Wildcats’ run-focused attack has only reached once.
“They’ve got a great running back,” Kelley said of Bulldogs senior Koby Caton. “That’s the thing they haven’t had the last two years. He can get a touchdown any time he touches it.”
The Wildcats also have to be aware of senior Dacotah Watts in the backfield, Kelley said. Henderson said Clovis is a threat, because it can beat you with either size or speed.
“I think you’re concerned when you watch Clovis anytime,” Henderson said. “Clovis is always going to be a team that plays physical.”
The Wildcats start the a two-game homestand Friday before a week off to prepare for District 4-5A. After Artesia, they’ll host 4-1 Manzano (on a bye this week) and then visit Carlsbad Oct. 29.
Artesia (4-2) at Clovis (2-4)
7 p.m. today, Leon Williams Stadium
Radio: KCLV 1240 AM, 99.1 FM; KTQM 99.9 FM; KWKA 680 AM; KICA 98.3 FM.
TV: KFCL, UHF channel 41, Suddenlink channel 128 (98-128) or Comcast channel 98. 6 p.m. Saturday airing.
Coaches: Artesia, Cooper Henderson, 22nd season, 246-85-1 career. Clovis, Eric Roanhaus, 33rd season, 301-106-5.
Last week: Clovis lost to Goddard 21-0. Arteisa beat Las Cruces High 42-21.
Last meeting: 2009. Clovis dominated with 422 rushing yards in a 48-10 victory.
Artesia players to watch: Victor Dana, LB/DE, 5-10, 185, Sr.; Koby Caton, RB, 5-10, 182, Sr.; Dacotah Watts, RB, 6-0, 164, Sr.