Mayfield’s Yanni Suter, left, and Isaiah Dominguez tackle Clovis tight end Layne Strebeck on Friday in Las Cruces.
LAS CRUCES — The Clovis Wildcats, by their own admission, were slow getting started in the first quarter Friday night. Two-time defending Class 5A state champion Mayfield wasn’t about to wait around for them.
The Trojans ran 15 plays in the first quarter, garnering eight first downs and three touchdowns to build an insurmountable lead and extend their winning streak to 28 games with a 38-20 victory.
Diminutive senior quarterback Matt Sandoval ran for 108 yards and a score. He also threw a touchdown pass to senior slotback Nathan Enriquez, and for good measure booted five extra points and a 27-yard field goal.
“It’s good to get off to a good start,” second-year coach Michael Bradley said of his team, ranked No. 1 in the Albuquerque Journal’s Class 5A preseason poll. “You never know what to expect in the first game.”
Enriquez caught four passes for 89 yards and also ran twice for 83, including a 51-yard run out of the slot position that made it 28-0 late in the half. Junior running back Jacob Ceniceros added 12 carries for 81 yards and scored on first-quarter runs of 7 and 2 yards.
Mayfield piled up 437 total yards, all but 100 coming before halftime.
“We were not physical,” CHS assistant coach Darren Kelley said. “We don’t block and we don’t tackle. We didn’t show up in the first half.
“You can’t do that against a good team — you can’t do that against a bad team.”
The Cats — ranked third in the preseason poll — did mount a better effort in the second half. Senior quarterback Jordan Mendoza completed 15-of-25 passes for 168 yards and three TDs, hitting 10 passes in a row in one stretch, while senior running back Manuel Robles rushed for 110 yards and caught a pair of scoring tosses.
“We got better as the game went on,” Kelley said. “But we’ve got to do a better job of getting prepared.
“There’s no more excuses. There’s no more, ‘This is my first varsity game.’”
Mayfield elected to receive the opening kickoff, and it took Sandoval and Co. only six plays to get into the end zone. The Trojans forced three-and-outs on the Cats’ first two series, and the 5-foot-6, 170-pound Sandoval needed just nine combined plays to help Mayfield push the score to 21-0.
“Most teams elect (to defer the choice),” said Bradley, who replaced his legendary father, Jim, last season at the helm. “But it’s a Bradley plan to take the dadgummed ball first.
“We had a real good first half. We played good defense the first half, except for the end of it.”
Robles got the Cats on the board in the final minute of the half, taking a pass in the right flat and snaking his way into the corner of the end zone. Senior Layne Strebeck caught a third-quarter TD pass from Mendoza, and Robles capped a long drive with a 14-yard scoring catch on the game’s final play.
“I was hoping we’d do better,” said Clovis senior running back Derrick Phillips, who gained 39 yards on 12 carries in his first start with the offense after moving over from cornerback. “We started picking it up a little bit in the second half.
“Layne Strebeck kept the offense up big time, and the line starting giving Jordan more time.”
Phillips said it’s on the players to improve.
“The coaches do everything they can to get us prepared,” he said. “All we’ve got to do is execute.”