La Cueva beat Highland 35-6, Clovis beat the Hornets 41-6. It doesn’t mean the Wildcats will be six points better than the Bears when the two teams meet Friday, but there’s a justified feeling Leon Williams Stadium will host a pretty even matchup.
The Bears (2-1) are coming off a 28-7 loss to top-ranked Las Cruces at Wilson Stadium, while the Wildcats (2-1) made easy work of the Hornets downtown at Milne Stadium — despite two lost fumbles inside the Highland 20 and two interceptions.
“We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the football,” Clovis coach Darren Kelley said.
Highland coach Gary Sanchez, who saw the teams combine for 76 points against his Hornets in the last two weeks, doesn’t expect high scores from either squad Friday night.
In fact, he’d be surprised if the teams combine for 30 points and more than a few passes.
“La Cueva, they’re pretty tough defensively,” Sanchez said, while adding the same qualifier for a Wildcat team that held Highland to 149 yards. “I think Clovis passes well, though (Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus) doesn’t like to pass.”
Picking and grinning
Josh Bryan made it two straight games with an interception, and upped his season total to three.
“I would have an interception over a catch any day,” said Bryan, a 6-foot, 175-pound senior. “It’s a turnover, and it gives us another chance to score.”
He’s six interceptions away from Jaden Isler’s season record of nine, set last year. If Bryan continues the pace, he said it would be an odd feeling and an honor to break the record.
Scott McMath had Clovis’ other pick.
Best offensive series
The second series of the third quarter. Nine plays, 80 yards, with senior wideout Moses Bibbs getting 16 yards on a misdirection run, Stefan Mills adding a 29-yard pass from Josh Potocki and James Howard sharing the running load that led to Mills’ 1-yard scoring run.
Worst offensive series
Third series in the second quarter. One play, one interception.
Best defensive series
Highland’s first offensive series of the second quarter. Denzel Pleasant stopped Brennan Howell for a loss of 2, Jared Burns sacked Dylan Chavez for a loss of 7 and the defense forced an incompletion on third down.
Worst defensive series
Highland’s scoring drive at the end of the second quarter. The Hornets drove 56 yards in 58 seconds, came up twice on third down and were aided by a late hit penalty on the Wildcats.
And the band played on
The Wildcats had plenty to be excited about, but two plays in the fourth had the players cheering the loudest.
The first was a 49-yard touchdown for Richie Chavez. After a Highland turnover on downs put the Wildcats at the Hornets 49, Kyler Brewer flipped the ball to Chavez, who streaked up the middle of the field for a five-second touchdown.
Roanhaus joked on the sideline, “That’s the fastest he’s ever run in his life.”
The second cheer-inducer was the final play, and the appearance of senior defensive tackle Ryan Credle. The first-year footballer got his name chanted when he went out for the game’s final eight seconds.
Credle, who decided to play football in May after he got tired of band, said it was flattering but awkward to be the team’s “Rudy” character.
“I like it,” said Credle, the former drummer, “but at the same time, I’m like, ‘Why are you cheering? It’s the last play.’”
The play was a 6-yard run for Howell.