Under pressure

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Clovis junior cornerback Scott McMath zeroes in on junior running James Howard during practice Wednesday at the high school. The Wildcats host Eldorado tonight in their home-opener.

By Rick White: CNJ managing editor

Here is what the Clovis Wildcats know after one game.

* The offense can move the ball as long as senior quarterback Jordan Mendoza and senior running back Manuel Robles stay healthy.

* The revamped offensive line is further ahead in its development than expected.

* Mayfield is a good team and senior quarterback Matt Sandoval is great player.

* And if the defense doesn’t start hitting somebody, it’s going to be a long year.

“We’ve got to turn it up a notch, and that starts with practice,” Clovis defensive coordinator Darren Kelley said Wednesday as the Wildcats prepared for tonight’s home-opener against Eldorado.

Kelley said he is concerned about the lack of execution on defense that led to Mayfield piling up 437 yards. Kelley was so frustrated with the Wildcats’ inability to execute he tore up his game plan at halftime.

He said the mistakes are correctable and there’s no need for wholesale changes — yet.

“It’s only one game,” Kelley said. “But we can’t be too patient if it becomes two games.”

Junior cornerback Scott McMath said the Wildcats need to come out more focused, especially when it comes to their assignments.

“We have to be more aggressive and wrap up,” said McMath, who led the Wildcats against Mayfield with seven tackles and added an interception.

First-year Eldorado coach Charlie Dotson said his team is anxious to play its first game after a first-week bye.

“It’s kind of tough being off, but we’ve been preparing for this for a while,” said Dotson, who replaced retired longtime Eagles coach David Williams.

“It’s a fun game for us. The kids don’t get to travel that much and we expect a good crowd.”

The Eagles are big up front with three linemen in the 6-foot-5, 220- to 250-pound range.

Senior Logan Lippert (6-0, 185) is the featured running back, while senior Austin Cantwell (5-9, 155) starts at quarterback.
Kelley said the Eagles were a power running team under Williams and expects the same under Dotson.

“That’s what we’re going to prepare for, and if they do something different we’ll adjust,” Kelley said.

Dotson said with seven players going both ways, the Eagles can’t afford to fall behind.