The turf at Leon Williams Field was ready for the Clovis Wildcats. The Alamogordo Tigers weren’t.
Stefan Mills and Scott McMath each scored twice, and junior Emery Sierra added a back-breaking 86-yard kick return to help the Wildcats post a 40-7 shellacking in the season opener for both teams.
The host Wildcats pounded the Tigers for 273 yards on the ground, and took a 20-0 lead before their defense allowed a first down on the artificial turf surface that workers finished installing Friday afternoon.
Mills scored on a pair of rushing touchdowns in the first half, and Josh Potocki found Johnny Maes with a 22-yard strike to give Clovis the early advantage.
It took a 45-minute rain delay for the Tigers to recover, as Alamogordo coach Tommy Standefer admitted was “shell-shocked” before the stoppage.
“We’re pretty young. We came out pretty wide-eyed,” said Standefer, a former Clovis lineman and Eastern New Mexico University coach. “Clovis is a pretty physical ballclub, and they knocked us around. The weather delay did us good, I can’t lie.
“It might have been 100-0 early without it.”
Alamogordo recovered, piecing together a nine-play, 80-yard with two third-down conversions and a 19-yard scoring pass on the flat route to Dwaundle Baker.
Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley said on that drive, the players lost focus after the first third-down conversion, a 49-yard reception by Torey Pinson, who led the Tigers with 94 yards receiving.
“You have to be able to leave a bad play behind you,” Kelley said. “We pouted for about three plays.”
Clovis wasted no time getting the momentum back as Sierra fielded the ensuing kickoff at the 14, hit the left side and beat the Tigers down the sideline.
“I broke one tackle,” Sierra said, “bounced out to the left, took off as hard as I could.”
In a game where the rain dominated, so did the run game. The Wildcats, historically a power-running team anyway, called five passes all night — and only one in the second-half. That was an 11-yard reception by Mills to complement an 11-play, 97-yard drive that wiped out most of the third quarter and ended on McMath’s 17-yard run, during which he broke three tackles.
“Their ballcarriers do a good job of keeping their feet moving,” Standefer said, “(you don’t finish tackles) and they break free.”
Alamogordo never got its ground game together, compiling just 36 yards on 28 carries.
McMath finished off the scoring in the fourth with a 65-yard burst up the right side, giving him a 122-yard rushing night on 10 carries.
The Wildcats will be on the road the next two weeks —against Eldorado Friday at Wilson Stadium, and Sept. 13 against Highland at Milne Stadium.