ROSWELL — The Clovis Wildcats were still upset about their second half against Rio Rancho last week. With the Rams long gone, Clovis took its frustrations out on the Goddard Rockets.
Stefan Mills scored three of his four touchdowns to give Clovis a 21-0 lead, and led the Wildcat rushing attack with 179 yards as the Wildcats handed Class 4A’s top-ranked squad its first defeat, 35-14 at the Wool Bowl in Roswell.
Josh Bryan scored the other touchdown on a 9-yard fade route, and got his sixth interception of the season in helping the Wildcats force four second-half turnovers to keep Goddard (4-1) at bay.
“We did play good on defense,” said senior defensive tackle Jared Burns. “We could do a little better on the offensive side, but we played pretty well.”
Goddard coach Sam Jernigan thought the Wildcats were plenty good on offense.
“I think they ran the ball really well,” said Jernigan, who had little comment otherwise.
The Wildcats finished with 316 yards — 246 on the ground.
The Wildcats had plenty of reasons to be motivated.
Clovis managed just six yards in the fourth quarter of last week’s 21-18 win over Rio Rancho. They also lost 14-9 to Goddard last season, and many in the state picked the Rockets to beat the Wildcats.
Justifiably so, Clovis assistant Darren Kelley said.
“Last week’s game was hanging over their heads more than 14-9 was the year before,” Kelley said. “Not playing the second half motivated us this week. Maybe we can capitalize on it and not be satisfied.”
Mills broke early tackles on touchdown runs of 30, 8 and 51 yards in the first half, and waltzed into the end zone on a 14-yard run in the third quarter behind a block from tight end Richie Chavez.
“It feels pretty good,,” Chavez said, “but I’m just doing what I can to help the team win.”
Mills’ fourth touchdown gave the Wildcats some breathing room after the Rockets put up two late scores going into halftime. Quarterback David Vega, who completed 21-of-31 passes for 294 yards, used his elusiveness to buy him extra time to find Jeromy Bullora for an 18-yard scoring reception with 3:19 left in the second. On the next drive, he evaded a pair of tackles in the backfield and turned a broken play into a 9-yard scoring burst as he beat three Clovis defenders in the center of the field.
“The quarterback was running around like he was at Potter Park on Sunday,” Kelley said. “When we let him run around, it was harder to cover him.”
For most of the night, though, the Wildcats stuffed the running game, holding Vega to minus-36 yards and the Rockets to 18 rushing yards overall.
The Wildcats stay on the road next week, visiting Cibola at Milne Stadium for their third and final regular-season trip to Albuquerque.