Clovis fans gather around TVs

CNJ Staff Photo: Gabriel Monte Kelley’s Bar and Grill was packed with Clovis football supporters Friday night. Kelley’s was one of two Clovis restaurants Friday night that played the Clovis-Artesia football game that aired on ESPNU.

By Gabriel Monte: Freedom New Mexico

The tables at Kelley’s Bar and Grill were filled Friday night with football fans and at every fumble, interception and touchdown, the crowd groaned and/or cheered.

Kelley’s Manager Lisa Heenan said the bar is usually full Mondays for Monday Night Football, but this game hit closer to home.

The Clovis-Artesia high school football game aired on national TV Friday night on ESPN’s college channel, ESPNU — and all of Kelley’s televisions were tuned in for Clovis’ 35-31 win over Artesia.

“It’s a good crowd tonight,” Heenan said. “There are a lot of Clovis (Wildcat supporters) out here.”

Clovis alumna Janie Trujillo sat with her family who sported Clovis’ colors.

“We’re excited because we’re seeing our home team on national TV,” said Trujillo, who called her friends from out of town and told them to watch the game.

“It’s a great feeling to be on TV,” said Trujillo’s son-in-law, Manuel Black, also a Clovis alumnus.

Only two restaurants had the game on their screens, Applebee’s and Kelley’s.

Pizza Hut, which made plans to put the game on its television sets. could not get the game on because of technical difficulties with their cable equipment, said a Pizza Hut employee.

Applebee’s manager Kevin O’Brien said Clovis football team supporters took about 15 tables at kickoff.

“A lot of people were upset because the game didn’t start until the college game ended,” he said.

“We’ve been everywhere in town,” said Clovis alumna Niki Lard, who sat with a group of friends that cheered when Clovis got its first touchdown.

Lard said she and her friend went to Applebee’s and waited 30 minutes for a table to watch the game.

“We’re very excited,” said Toby Roybal, a Clovis High alumnus who was watching the game to support Clovis running back Manuel Robles.

“We go to all the games,” said Clovis alumna Kimberly Romero.

Lard said she had a bet with a co-worker, who is an Artesia Bulldogs fan, that Clovis would win. Because of the bet, her friend will be wearing Clovis purple on Monday.