Las Cruces topples Clovis in 6A quarterfinals

By David Norton
LAS CRUCES — Clovis High’s football team ended its season Friday night, falling in the Class 6A state playoff quarterfinals to Las Cruces High in a lopsided affair, 35-14.

With their first several drives going nowhere, the Wildcats fought an uphill battle all night, trailing early in the contest and playing from behind all game.

While Clovis had struggled in the first half all season, this matchup wasn’t quite that, with the team being outmatched at the line of scrimmage from the get-go.

“We were outmanned tackle to tackle,” Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus said. “As the first half progressed, you could really tell we couldn’t block well enough to run the ball at all.

“Defensively, we did some good things here and there, but as much time as they spent on the field, you could tell they were getting worn out.”

With its offense only picking up several first downs in the entire first half, Clovis’ defense did indeed spend a large amount of time on the field, struggling to keep up with a fast-paced Bulldawgs offense.

On the other hand, Las Cruces (10-1) found big chunks of yardage early and often, attacking the Wildcats on the ground and through the air.

Besides struggling to move the ball, Clovis’ Sebastian Roanhaus was under duress throughout the contest, getting sacked five times for a total loss of 35 yards.

Clovis, down 14-0 at the half, did not score until the final three minutes of the third quarter, where Sebastian Roanhaus connected with Lane Kelley for a 16-yard touchdown. Both teams added one more touchdown each in the fourth stanza, but long after the contest was decided.

The Bulldawgs move on to Rio Rancho to face second-seeded Cleveland in a 7 p.m. semifinal next Friday. The Storm defeated Mayfield 38-14 on Friday.

On the other side of the bracket, top-seeded Rio Rancho defeated Onate 48-0 and awaits the winner of today’s Manzano-Centennial game, set for 1 p.m. at the Field of Dreams.

The Wildcats end their season at 8-4, following last year’s 7-4 campaign that snapped a streak of four consecutive 6-6 seasons.

“These kids have been on a great journey together,” coach Roanhaus said of his team. “It’s been an encouraging journey for me because these kids worked so hard to get here.

“It’s disappointing (to lose), but only one team in 6A ends the season the way they want to.”