Clovis senior Tanner Fickling scored the game-winning touchdown. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer
HOBBS — Never underestimate the power of a halftime speech.
Trailing at halftime for just the second time this season, Clovis rallied to beat Hobbs 14-7 win in a District 4-5A game Friday at Watson Memorial Stadium.
“We have a thing up on the door that says, ‘there ain’t nothing tougher than a Clovis Wildcat,’” Clovis senior quarterback Devin Sweet said. “When one of the coaches comes in and rips it off the wall and throws it in the trash, that means something.”
Junior Brian Mead, who rushed 28 times for 192 yards, said the locker room was somber after the first half.
“It was quiet in here — dead quiet,” Mead said. “A couple of the seniors stood up and got us fired up.”
With their eighth-straight win, the Wildcats (8-1, 1-0 district) are guaranteed a spot in the 16-team state playoffs with one regular-season game to go.
Mead said Devin Hanson was one of the seniors who got vocal during the break.
“I told the guys that ever since we were little all we dreamed about was going to state,” Hanson said. “We can’t let a team like this keep us from our dream.”
In the first possession of the second half, the Cats tied the game on a four-minute, seven-play drive capped of by a 17-yard run by Mead.
Clovis took the lead four minutes into the fourth quarter on a 13-yard run by Tanner Fickling, who finished with 51 yards on 11 carries.
After giving up nine first downs in the first half, the Wildcat defense shut down Hobbs after halftime, yielding only two first downs.
“One of the goals we made at halftime, as a team, was that we were going to shut them out in the second half,” Hanson said. “We accomplished our goal, and that allowed us to win.”
Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said the Hobbs coaching staff did a great job preparing the Eagles.
“They had a good game plan.” Kelley said. “They came out ready to play. They spread the ball out. Their idea was to shorten the game — take three yards and four yards, and they did a good job.”
The Clovis secondary gave up 85 yards in the air in the first half, but shut down the Eagles passing game in the second half — two completions for 32 yards.
The Wildcats failed to convert three key fourth-down opportunities in the game, two in Hobbs territory in the first half, and one that could have iced the game with under a minute to play in the fourth quarter.
Hobbs (4-5, 0-2) in the district, and now needs an at-large berth to get into the state playoffs.
Hobbs coach Phillip Roybal said he hope his team’s showing against the second-ranked Wildcats will help his team’s playoff chances, but was not happy with the game’s result.
“We’re not into the moral victory business,” Roybal said. “Did it feel good to be ahead of them? Absolutely. But it doesn’t feel good to end up behind them.”
Clovis 14, Hobbs 7
Clovis 0 0 7 7 — 14
Hobbs 7 0 0 0 — 7
H — Eddie Jackson 1-yard run (Adam Richards kick), 9:44
C — Brian Mead 17-yard run 8:19 (Robert North kick), 8:19
C — Tanner Fickling 13-yard run 7:57 (North kick), 7:57
First downs 16 11
Rushes-yards 48-349 26-138
Passing yards 22 117
Total yards 371 255
Comp-att-int 2-4-0 8-18-0
Punting 1-31.0 4-50.3
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 6-62 7-55
Rushing — Clovis, Mead 28-192, Rishard Matthews 3-81, Fickling, 11-51, Devin Sweet 6-25. Hobbs, Eddie Jackson 18-91, Teron Bolton 8-47.
Passing — Clovis, Sweet 2-4-0-22. Hobbs, Bolton 8-18-0-117, Garrett Bertola 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — Clovis, Matthews 2-22. Hobbs, Jackson 4-30, Daniel Lopez 2-64, Ty House 1-7, Brett Kernell 1-16.
Records — Clovis 8-1, 1-0; Hobbs 4-5, 0-2.