Two weeks ago, it looked like tonight’s Clovis Christian-Melrose clash was going to be like a heavyweight prize fight.
It still may be, but CCS (5-1) appears to face a tougher task at this point after losing its most recent outing to Mountainair 20-6 on Oct. 3.
While the Eagles were off last week, defending state 8-man champion Melrose (7-0) went to Mountainair and laid a 66-8 whipping on the Mustangs. But Clovis Christian coach Jason Swann thinks his team is up to the task.
“I think our kids are excited for the opportunity,” he said. “We really have to get after them. We’re going to have to bring the game to them.”
The contest is the 8-man District 4 opener for both teams. The race for the two playoff spots appears to be between these two teams and Logan (6-1), which visits Floyd (2-5) on Saturday.
Buffs coach Dickie Roybal said his team can’t take anything for granted.
“The biggest thing we talked about all week is we have to contain their speed,” he said, referring to CCS sophomore quarterback Kevin Naceanceno and junior running back Mike Urioste. “We’ve got to stay disciplined and do the job on defense.”
Roybal said overconfidence is not likely to be a problem for the Buffs, who’ve won 20 in a row since the start of last season.
“We haven’t had a problem with that all year,” he said. “Our kids haven’t really looked at scores. Like I’ve told them, ‘What you’ve done to this point really doesn’t matter.’”
Swann said the Eagles’ first concern with Melrose is senior quarterback Clint Barnard.
“Clint is a stud,” Swann said. “He’s very important to everything they do — offense, defense, special teams.
“If we have any chance to beat them, it’s going to be because we shut him down.”