No matter what happens tonight in Carlsbad, the Clovis Wildcats get a bye next week.
A bye three weeks from now, however, is what the Wildcats really want.
That’s what Clovis gets if it is earns one of Class 5A’s top four seeds. To get the first-round bye, and a home game in the quarterfinals, the 7-1 Wildcats have to beat the 3-5 Cavemen, take a week off, beat the 3-5 Hobbs Eagles, and hope a 9-1 record and an eight-game winning streak is enough for the state seeding committee
But, district championships aren’t won on paper, and the road to the District 4-5A title starts at Ralph Bowyer Stadium.
“Going to Carlsbad’s always tough. We’ve always had some strange things and close games,” Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said. “They’ll do enough to beat you if you don’t take care of your business.”
Clovis took care of business last year, cruising to a 34-0 win. But Kelley said the Cavemen are a little bit stronger even if their record doesn’t show it. For instance, he said, Carlsbad could have easily been on the other side of a 28-24 loss at Artesia.
The Cavemen, Kelley said, are quite similar to Rio Rancho and Goddard. Junior quarterback Jacob Galindo can spread the offense out, but he’s most effective when he carries the ball on sweeps.
“He’s pretty elusive,” senior defensive back Denzel Pleasant said. “Our main goal is just tackle him (early). We haven’t done a good job of that in the last few weeks.”
Whatever the Wildcats aren’t doing, it hasn’t shown up in the win-loss column. While a few of the victories have been too close for comfort, Clovis isn’t in the position where it needs to take a bye week.
“When you’re playing well, the kids want to keep going and not have a bye,” Kelley said. “But if we take care of business, it could be bye, play, bye.”
But as much as two wins could help the Wildcats get a top seed, just one loss would do plenty to destroy such hopes.
“This is basically time to step it up,” Pleasant said. “It can make or break our playoffs.”
Clovis (7-1) at Carlsbad (3-5)
7 p.m. today, Ralph Bowyer Stadium
Coaches: Clovis, Eric Roanhaus, 31st season, 287-99-5. Carlsbad, Ron Arrington, second season, 6-12.
Last week: Clovis defeated Artesia 34-24. Carlsbad lost to Rio Rancho 21-3.
Last meeting: 2007, Clovis 34, Carlsbad 0.
Carlsbad players to watch: QB Jacob Galindo (5-11, 163, Jr.), RB Trevonne Latin (5-10, 161, Jr.), LB Trevor Bindel (6-0, 172, Jr.)
On the radio: KCLV 1240 AM, 99.1 FM; KTQM 99.9 FM; KWKA 680 AM; KICA 98.3 FM.
Go figure: Of Clovis’ 10 opponents this season, Carlsbad is the only one that missed the 2007 playoffs.