By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ sports writer
Manzano coach Aaron Ocampo knows first-hand how explosive the Clovis Wildcats’ offense can be.
The Wildcats beat Manzano 49-14 two weeks ago in the second round of the playoffs.
“You have to contain (Rishard) Matthews,” Ocampo said. “And I don’t know if you can stop him without double covering him and taking a man out of the box, but when you do that, they can run the ball.”
Matthews, Clovis’ junior wide receiver, scored four times against Manzano, including on passes of 4 and 38 yards and a 91-yard kickoff return.
Junior running back Brian Mead added 108 yards and a touchdown on the ground and also scored on a 33-yard pass.
The Wildcats go up against Mayfield today in the Class 5A championship game.
If he had to play Clovis this weekend, Ocampo said he would go with pretty much the same game plan he used three weeks ago.
“We were thinking we could run it, and we did,” Ocampo said. “We were successful until we started missing blocks and making mistakes.”
He said Clovis’ offense is superior to Mayfield’s.
Mayfield beat Manzano 31-7 in Week 4.
“Clovis has much better talent,” Ocampo said. “For Mayfield, other than the receiver (Chris Hernandez), they don’t have a lot of talent at the skilled positions.”
Las Cruces coach Jim Miller knows a little bit about both state title contenders too, his team lost 40-21 to Mayfield and 42-6 to Clovis.
Miller said if he could play Mayfield again, he would focus his defense on Hernandez.
“That Hernandez kid killed us,” he said. “I would try to double him a little bit more.”
Hernandez racked up 147 yards and two scores against Miller’s Bulldawgs.
Miller said he expects Clovis to throw the ball as little as possible in the championship game.
“When you get to this stage you’re gonna go with your bread and butter,” Miller said. “We would have stacked the line a little bit more, in hindsight.”
The Wildcats racked up 409 yards rushing on 17 carries against the Bulldawgs.
Las Cruces scrimmages Clovis every preseason, and Miller said this year’s team improved dramatically between the preseason and the first round of the playoffs.
Miller said Mayfield’s defense is good, but not impossible to score on.
“They are gonna run up on you and press your receivers,” he said. “We put up 21 points and it very easily could have put up 35 if we had made some throws.”