CLOVIS — As junior Steven Beckum plunged into the end zone, the cannon exploded for one final time Friday night in the south end zone of Leon Williams Stadium, and the only head coach Clovis has known since 1978 ascended to the top of the New Mexico wins list.
In a game that quickly turned into a coronation of coach Eric Roanhaus, the Wildcats cruised by rebuilding Santa Fe Capital 55-0 in a game called midway through the third quarter.
“I’m glad it’s over,” said Roanhaus, who has guided Clovis to 10 state titles and moved past Jim Bradley with career win No. 311, against 116 losses and five ties. “I wish it was over a long time ago.”
For record-keeping purposes, there was a game, controlled by a Wildcat offense that scored six touchdowns on its 18 offensive plays, posted 291 of its 308 yards on the ground and got another two touchdowns on punt returns by junior Kamal Cass, who scored on returns of 42 and 67 and rushes of 36 and 37 yards.
The Wildcats also got rushing touchdowns from Shaprei Bryant for 73 yards, Jaheem Prioleau for 6, Erik Thomas for 20 and Beckum from 1 yard out nearly five minutes into the third quarter. Up 48-0 with 1:32 left in the first half, Clovis declined to attempt a 2-point conversion to reach the 50-point threshold to end the game out of respect for Capital, and so the CHS band and drill team could perform for halftime.
“We’re not that good,” Roahnaus said, “and they’re not that bad. We got what we wanted to out of the game. We let everyone play. The kid who scored the last touchdown was our fourth-string tailback; he has never even practiced with us.”
After the final touchdown, Roanhaus got no Gatorade bath. He shook hands with assistant Darrell Davis, then pointed to the 50-yard line, where the players lined up with their helmets on for a postgame handshake with the opponent.
The Jaguars, following back-to-back 1-9 seasons, predictably struggled, managing just one first down and 16 yards of offense.
Capital coach Bill Moon, hired in June for his second stint with the school, said the only two appropriate words for the game were Al Downing — the pitcher famous for giving up Hank Aaron’s 715th home run.
But the win was something special, Moon said, and one accentuated by the class the Wildcats showed even in the midst of a blowout.
“I would have paid big money to see this game tonight,” Moon said. “I would have paid a lot to see a great man, a great person and a great school administration, with more greatness ahead.”
On hand for the celebration were numerous friends and family members, including former CHS athletic director and assistant football coach Randy Adrian.
“Coach Roanhaus is beginning his 35th year here; you just don’t see that anymore,” said Adrian, who retired from the NMAA during the summer. “He still instills the discipline and the fundamentals. It’s an honor for me to say he’s my friend.
“The people of Clovis should feel lucky to have that man coaching their kids. He teaches them how to be men.”
Roanhaus, a former quarterback at West Texas A&M, is known as a boisterous leader who is roughest on his quarterbacks. Son Chad Roanhaus, offensive coordinator with the Wildcats, remembers it like it was yesterday when he got up from being gang-tackled on a run to hear his father and coach tell him, “You’re too slow to be that stupid.”
The younger Roanhaus was all smiles while watching his father field obligatory interviews and congratulations.
“It was great to be here for this,” he said. “It’s a very proud moment for the family. I’m definitely a proud son right now.”