By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer
The Clovis Wildcats will have to wait a little longer to find out their seeding in the Class 5A state football playoffs.
The parents of 19 Las Cruces High players have filed a lawsuit against the New Mexico Activities Association, according to a press release by the NMAA.
Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley said the situation involves a Las Cruces player who was declared ineligible, thus forcing Las Cruces to forfeit the two games he played in and hurting the Bulldawgs’ chances of an at-large playoff bid.
According to the press release, a Las Cruces judge issued a restraining order against the selection committee’s meeting. The NMAA said it “strongly believes” the request and ruling for the restraining order were improper.
The NMAA said it is trying to obtain a hearing with the U.S. District Court, with the earliest possible times being Monday or Tuesday.
“It’s not fair to everyone elset that they played an ineligible kid,” Kelley said. “While I don’t know the whole situation, it’s not fair if we’re going to wait for a ruling on one kid.”
Despite the controversy, Kelley said he expects the Cats to earn at least a No. 3 seed, but believes the team deserves the No. 2 seed over a team like Highland.
“The worst thing,” Kelley said about the selection committee system, “is you let it become political.”
Chasing history: Clovis senior running back Brian Mead inched closer to Doug Cavanaugh’s single-season rushing record, and now has 2,048 yards on the ground. Mead needs 150 yards in the Cats’ next game to top Cavanaugh’s 11-year-old record.
Ball control: While Carlsbad senior wide receiver Bubba Forrest and junior quarterback Nathan Clark accounted for 278 yards of total offense, both committed costly turnovers for the Cavemen.
The first came in the final minute of the first quarter with Carlsbad facing a third-and-8 on the Cats’ 23-yard line. Clark found Forrest down the middle, but he fumbled the ball near the 10-yard line. Clovis recovered, but was forced to punt.
Clark later fumbled with 50 seconds left in the third quarter after running for 11 yards and a first down. Junior free safety Jaden Isler fell on the ball for Clovis, his third fumble recovery of the season.
Blindsided: In a game with several controversial calls, a pass interference call on senior cornerback Kolt Merren caused the Clovis bench to erupt.
Clark fired a pass to junior wide receiver Chris Rodriguez on the left sideline. Merren appeared to make a play for the ball, but was called for interference, giving the Cavemen possession at Cats 40-yard line.
“They (referees) were equally bad both ways,” Kelley said. “I think it seemed a little more bias towards us.
“(The referee) said Kolt backed into him and that was his justification. That’s just part of playing on the road.”
Exit music: Friday was the last game as head coach for Carlsbad’s Shaun Standard. He expressed how proud he was of his players for leaving it all on the field, and how his life will not stop because his tenure is over.
“These kids, I’m so proud of them,” Standard said. “I’m going to leave Carlsbad and move forward in life. I’m not going to regret my time here. I’ve enjoyed these kids and we’ve had a good life here, but we’ll move on and have a better life.”