Two years removed from an 0-10 season, Clovis Christian is one game away from playing for a state championship.
The Eagles will try to get there today when they host Tatum (9-1) in a 1 p.m. 8-man semifinal game at Yucca Complex.
CCS (8-2) is coming off a 50-20 thumping of third-seeded Animas in the quarterfinal round, and third-year coach Jason Swann is upbeat as his team prepares for the Coyotes.
“I’m real confident, and I think the boys are too,” Swann said. “We just have to play good assignment football and make plays.”
Tatum’s only loss came in its third game of the season, a 44-0 shellacking at the hands of defending 8-man champion Melrose. After that, though, the Coyotes followed up with solid wins over Mountainair, Logan and Reserve and have scored 60 or more points in each of their last four games.
Swann said the Coyotes are the second-best team the Eagles have faced this season, behind only Melrose.
“They’re very fundamentally sound,” Swann said. “They do the things they have to do to win.”
After making the long cross-state trip to Animas, Swann said the Eagles are happy to be at home.
“The advantage we have is we’ve played our toughest competition here at the end of the season,” Swann said.
Senior quarterback-linebacker Logan Medlin is the Coyotes’ best player, Swann said, but they also get a lot out of senior running back-defensive back Hunter Ray and sophomore defensive lineman Colter Smith.
Two years ago, in Swann’s first season, the Eagles absorbed a 62-34 regular-season loss at Tatum. That was the last time the teams met.
Swann said the Eagles should gain the services of sophomore guard-defensive tackle Mike Root for the first time this season, at least on defense. Root sustained a broken collarbone in a preseason practice.