CLOVIS — On a night where Jeston Webskowski had plenty of surprises, the biggest might have been going the entire third quarter without touching the football.
He did more than enough the other three quarters, accounting for five touchdowns and 366 yards of offense as the Clovis Wildcats routed the Carlsbad Cavemen 55-20 to close out the Class 6A regular season for both teams.
Webskowski ran for 298 yards on 19 carries with four scores — including three in a 2:54 stretch of the fourth quarter that turned a 30-20 nail biter into a blowout. The University of New Mexico-bound senior also threw a pass for 20 yards and caught three balls for 48 yards and the opening 44-yard scoring reception.
“They got in that tight formation, and No. 1 kind of ate our lunch,” Carlsbad coach Gary Bradley said of Webskowski, who rushed for fourth-quarter scores of 77, 27 and 11 yards. “I don’t know exactly what happened, but they were definitely overpowering us on their offense — especially in the fourth.”
The Wildcats posted a total of 603 yards on the night, and three other Wildcats contributed scoring plays of 25-plus yards — a 45-yard reception by Blake Muscato in the first quarter, an 85-yard Milo Acosta to Robert Nora connection in the third and a 27-yard fourth-quarter burst by Acosta that put the game into the running clock with 4:24 to play.
“It’s been three games since we’ve really seen anything offensively,” Clovis coach Cal Fullerton said. “The first half at Rio Rancho, we moved the ball well. Other than that, we haven’t been good offensively. It was nice to get plays on first downs and not be behind the chains.”
Turnovers, four in total, certainly didn’t help the Cavemen, and two of the turnovers in the fourth aided the Webskowski blitz. The Cavemen, who trailed 22-0 early in the second, snuck back in when Eli Asay’s 6-yard run cut it to 30-20 with 10:30 left. Just nine offensive plays later, it was 49-20 as Clovis scored three times on five plays and Carlsbad posted a lost fumble and an interception on their four plays.
Luciano Webster had both of Clovis’ interceptions in the fourth, one on a tipped pass just outside the red zone and another in the end zone to snuff out the final Cavemen scoring attempt.
Still, Carlsbad posted a 316-yard night of offense, including a 104-yard night from quarterback Dane Naylor that featured touchdown runs of 34 and 16 yards.
“We saw a lot of good things,” Bradley said. “We played three quarterbacks, and I thought they all did a good job.”
Webskowski, who added a 14-yard scoring run in the second quarter, said it was nice to just get into a groove after the back-to-back unpleasantness in Rio Rancho.
“It felt great this week to just let loose,” Webskowski said. “The energy was really high, and it was a great game to be a part of.”
Both teams are getting prepped for a bowl game, with Carlsbad drawing Centennial and Clovis drawing Roswell. Despite the loss, Bradley felt the regular season went well for the Cavemen with wins over Hobbs and Artesia.
“This is the best time of these guys’ life, and this is the funnest thing I’ve ever been a part of,” Bradley said of the compressed spring season. “Winning is great and losing sucks; we’re competitors. We’re not going to feel great walking out of here, but we aren’t going to feel sorry for ourselves.”