Bulldawgs should give Cats test in scrimmage

Clovis High senior quarterback Devin Sweet pitches the ball to a running back during Thursday’s practice at the high school. The Wildcats will scrimmage Las Cruces High today in Roswell. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

It’s only the second full week of practice, but the Clovis High football team will get a good look at how far it has come when the Wildcats scrimmage Las Cruces High at 4 p.m. today at the Wool Bowl in Roswell.

The perennial Class 5A playoff contenders have met for a number of years in preseason clashes, either at Roswell or Alamogordo. The scrimmage should last around two hours, CHS defensive coordinator Darren Kelley said.

“It’ll be good for us to go against another team,” he said. “The biggest advantage is that we get to see game speed and just how fast it is.”

Both teams went out against champion La Cueva in the postseason last year, Las Cruces (9-3) losing in the semifinals and Clovis (9-4) in the title matchup.

“They’ll spread the field out and throw the ball quite a bit,” Kelley said of the Bulldawgs. “Typically they’ll have a good quarterback, and usually a good running back and wide receiver.”

Senior linebacker Jordan Moore said it will be a test of the Cats’ conditioning, noting that they were fatigued during last year’s get-together with the Bulldawgs.

“I think the scrimmage is mostly to see what kind of shape we’re in,” he said. “It’s going to be a good test for us. And once the playoffs come, it might determine a higher seed (if the teams are tied going into postseason).

“We want to show (the coaches) that we’re ready. Last year (in the scrimmage), we found out we weren’t ready. We want to start out stronger this year.”

Las Cruces coach Jim Miller said his team made a strong run down the stretch a year ago before the playoff loss to La Cueva, the Bulldawgs’ second setback of the season to the Bears.

“I thought we were playing pretty good football at the end of the season,” he said. “But (La Cueva was) a good football team, and they just wore us down.”

Miller said he’s anxious to look at senior quarterback K.B. Davies under game conditions, as well as other potential varsity prospects.

“As with any first-year quarterback, the more reps he gets the better off he’ll be,” said Miller, in his eighth season at the helm. “We want to get in game intensity. We’ve prepared this week as if it’s a Friday game.”

Kelley said the Cats have made progress in the first few days of practice, but still have some areas of concern. Of note in that regard are the offensive line and the defensive secondary.

Senior linemen Casey Chavez (ankle) and Mel Grassel (hamstring) will be held out of the scrimmage due to injury, Kelley said, along with senior wide receiver-defensive back Augie Briseno (leg).

“We’re going to be fine on defense,” Kelley said. “We’ve just got to find some kids who can step up and play.

“We’ve come a long ways on both sides of the ball. Typically the offense is behind the defense this time of year, but that’s because so much of offense is timing.”

The injuries to Chavez and Grassel could open the door for younger linemen to show their wares.

“We’re going to have to find some young guys there, anyway,” Kelley said.