Josh Potocki stumbled as he took the snap from center, which nearly resulted in a fourth-quarter sack.
“My great athletic ability, I tripped on myself,” the Clovis quarterback joked.
Instead of a sack, he found his balance, and running back Stefan Mills for a 56-yard scoring toss.
That’s the way it went for the Clovis Wildcats, who posted big play after big play and outpaced Artesia for a 34-24 victory Friday night at Leon Williams Stadium.
In collecting their sixth-straight victory, the Wildcats (7-1)
racked up 286 yards of offense in the first half, and kept a double-digit lead over the pass-happy Bulldogs the rest of the night.
“When we got a little bit of movement on defense and held them, their defense didn’t let us move the ball,” Artesia coach Cooper Henderson said. “We weren’t with them from the start.”
Potocki and junior Kyler Brewer — who were rotated at quarterback — combined for 202 yards passing and three long touchdowns. Potocki also found Mills for a 67-yard score in the second quarter and Brewer hit Moses Bibbs on a 33-yard rollout.
“Me and Kyler were going back and forth,” Potocki said. “We caught them off guard a couple of plays.”
Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said the Wildcats will likely rotate quarterbacks in next week’s District 4-5A opener at Carlsbad.
“It’s a situation where both have a chance to play and both of them are going to get a chance,” Kelley said. “Then, hopefully, one will come out on top.”
Mills, who also had a 73-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter, finished with 302 of Clovis’ 391 yards of offense. James Howard had Clovis’ other touchdown, an 8-yard rush to punctuate Clovis’ opening drive.
Meanwhile, the Wildcat defense never let Artesia (4-3) gain momentum, despite several flashes on offense and 301 yards passing, and got the stops when it needed them.
“That’s all it comes down to,” said junior linebacker Emery Sierra, who had an interception to set up Clovis’ second scoring drive, the Brewer-to-Bibbs toss. “We’ve just got to be tough and do our job.”
Kelley said Sierra and Clovis’ other defenders did a good job of playing physical against Artesia’s spread offense.
It wasn’t much of a surprise to Henderson.
“They’re just a really tough football team,” said Henderson, whose team faces Moriarty in a non-district tussle next week. “Every year, they’ll going to be physical, they’re going to be fundamentally sound.”