Clovis’ Rishard Matthews follows the block of teammate Brian Mead during Saturday’s Class 5A semi-final game against Onate in Las Cruces. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer
Running back Brian Mead and wide receiver Rishard Matthews are the one-two punch for a Clovis offense that’s helped the Wildcats to a 12-1 record and a berth in the state-title game.
Matthews said it’s Mead.
“I think Brian is better than me,” Matthews said. “He’s so fast. When you see him on the field, he moves so quick. I don’t know how he catches his balance when he gets hit. He’s pretty good.”
Mead said it’s Matthews.
“The way he catches the ball, he makes it look so easy,” Mead said. “He’s running down the field, just jogging, and the ball just falls into his hands. I don’t know how he does it.”
Mead, listed generously at 5-foot-8-inches and 168 pounds, has scampered between and around defenders for more than 1,800 yards rushing and scored 21 touchdowns.
Matthews looks like he was made in a wide-receiver lab with a 6-foot, 182-pound frame, baby-bottom soft hands, and Ferrari-like wheels — fast and smooth. He has 20 touchdowns, including a school-record 12 receiving as well as one kick return and one punt return for scores.
Mead has almost 800 more yards from scrimmage than Matthews (1,947 to 1,154), but Matthews is averaging almost 10 more yards per touch (17.0 to 7.3).
Both had two touchdowns in the 5A semifinals against Onate.
Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus said Matthews and Mead complement each other well.
“They block for each other, they both catch the ball, they both run with the ball, and they are both pretty smart,” Roanhaus said. “They don’t make many mental mistakes.”
They also compliment each other.
“I learned a juke move from Brian,” Matthews said. “They way he side-steps, I didn’t do that before. Me and him played together at seven-on-seven in Roswell and he always did the little side-step thing and I just noticed it. I tried it and it worked.”
Matthews said he used Mead’s move to spring his 91-yard kickoff return touchdown against Manzano.
Mead said he has improved his receiving game this season by watching Matthews.
“The way he runs his routes,” Mead said. “You watch him and do the same thing and it works, the way he gets open.”
Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley said the duo make each other better.
“They make you defend the whole field,” Kelley said. “Rishard opens it up so much for Brian’s style of running. He’s got great feet and an ability to see holes. He doesn’t have great breakaway speed, but he’s able to see holes and get through the holes. That’s what Rishard helps do, he spreads it out. You can score fast with both of them.”