The Hobbs football team is known for having an offense that can score a lot of points on the board. But, with their win Friday night, the Eagles accomplished something defensively they hadn’t done since 2013, recording two shutouts in the same season as the Eagles beat visiting Roswell 14-0 at Watson Memorial Stadium.
“We are just trying to do our best and be the best defense we can be,” Hobbs free safety Jordan Chism said. “It is starting to show. We are working hard.”
“Great win. We will take them any way we can get them.” Hobbs coach Ken Stevens said. “We have been playing good defense, even going back to last spring. We have been playing good defense and the kids have bought into it. Coach Willing-ham, our defensive coordinator, does a great job (with) his staff over there. We believe defense wins championships and our kids have bough into that.”
After opening the season with a 21-0 win over Clovis and then falling to Artesia 27-14 in Week 2, the Eagles (2-1) celebrated homecoming with a 14-0 win over Roswell, despite having to wait out an hour and a half weather delay to start the game.
“The delay killed us for sure, because we were all hyped up and ready to play, especially after last week,” Hobbs quarterback Colton Graham said. “But we came out here and did our jobs and did what we needed to do. We still have things we need to work on, but we are going to fix those and comeback stronger next week.”
Dating back to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic season, the Eagles have recorded three shutouts in their last four games. Hobbs ended the spring season with a 47-0 win over Oñate.
Just how good was the Eagles’ defense? Hobbs lost more than three times as much yardage in penalties than Roswell accumulated on offense. Hobbs was flagged seven times, losing 100 yards while Roswell’s offense gained just 29 total yards. The Coyotes had 25 yards through the air on 5-of-12 passing while picking up four yards on 21 rushing attempts.
“Offensively, I don’t think we played bad,” Stevens said. “We had a lot of penalties and we had two touchdowns called back. I am going to go watch the film because sometimes those penalties are legit and we did them, sometimes it makes me wonder, but it seems like every time we got something going or
SEE EAGLES, Page 16 from PAGE 9 got a big play, there sure was a flag there at an inopportune time.
“I am proud of the offense for overcoming those penalties,” Stevens added. “Things don’t always work the way you want them to and you have to find ways to overcome things and we did.”
Aldo Argot was a thorn in the Coyotes paw all night. The Eagles linebacker was constantly coming up with big hits and tackling would-be Coyotes rushers for losses.
And even while the Coyotes had some success moving the ball through the air, the Eagles had almost as much success picking off the Coyote passer. Roswell completed five passes for 25 yards. Hobbs intercepted the Coyote quarterback three times.
Hobbs forced Roswell to turn the ball over on downs on its first possession. On the Coyotes next possession, Roswell went three-and-out, punting the ball away, but Hobbs’ return man, Hector Armendariz, muffed the return and Roswell recovered the loose ball at the Eagles’ 11. After the teams traded a pair of 15 yard penalties, Roswell had first-and-10 at the Eagles’
11. Hobbs’ Argot sacked the Coyote quarterback for a nine-yard loss, setting up a second-and-19. On the next play, Armendariz made up for his mistake when he intercepted the Coyotes’ quarterback giving Hobbs the ball at its own 11 yard-line.
“The defense bowed their necks up there and got us a stop and kept them out of the end zone,” Stevens said. “It was a great job.”
Roswell opened the second half with the ball and Nathan Cereceres intercepted the ball on the second play of the drive.
Late in the game, with Hobbs clinging to a 14-0 lead, the Coyotes took a shot at the end zone on a second-and-13 play from the Hobbs 40. Enter Chism. The junior broke the Coyotes’ hearts as he snatched the ball out of the air, giving the Eagles the ball on their own seven yard line with just under two minutes to play to preserve the shut out.
“Coach told us to sag off a little bit and play a little bit deeper just in case something like that, a long shot, happened,” Chism said. “I backed off a little bit and coach had me in the right spot to succeed. I thank him for that.
“Defense wins football games,” the Eagles free safety continued. “I was pretty excited for that. I was waiting for that shutout. I wanted it.”
“He sure did (seal it),” Stevens added. “He took any questions out of it with that interception. He played a great game. he is a dual sport guy, he plays basketball also, so I am glad he is out here helping us on defense.”
Hobbs ran the clock out as it knelt on back-to-back plays, securing the win.
The Eagles defense also helped in the scoring. While no specific player got credit, Hobbs picked up two points late in the third quarter on a safety.
After the Eagles punted the ball away, Roswell took over on its own nine yard line. On the first snap, the ball sailed back out of the end zone giving the Eagles two points for the safety.
Hobbs quarterback Colton Graham score both twice for the Eagles. The senior signal capped the Eagles’ opening drive with a 29-yard touchdown run with 8:31 left in the first quarter. Hobbs scored again in the third quarter when Graham scored on a one-yard carry with 9:40 left in the third quarter, something the Eagles had no success at doing in Artesia a week ago.
“That was a big accomplishment for us,” Graham said. “Getting into the red zone and getting the touchdown.”
Graham’s second touchdown run of the game came four plays after a 27-yard TD run by Diego Baeza was negated thanks to a holding penalty on the Eagles. Hobbs still got a first down on the initial play and eventually got into the end zone.
Graham was 8-of-17 for 64 yards through the air. He also picked up 20 yards on 15 carries on the ground, giving the Hobbs signal caller 84 total yards.
Kaden Trevino, who made his season debut Friday, hauled in five passes for 24 yards and rushed for a team-high 48 yards on nine carries, for a total of 72 yards. Jayonni Royal carried the ball nine times for 32 yards and caught two passes for 29 yards while Baeza had six carries for 44 yards. Ethan Vanlandingham also caught a pass for 11 yards.
Hobbs will now prepare to host Lea County rival Lovington. The Eagles and the Wildcats will play at Watson Memorial Stadium on Friday night with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. as Hobbs celebrates Military Appreciation Night.