The Hobbs football team got to celebrate at home Friday night and boy was it long overdue. After not winning at Watson Memorial Stadium last year, the Eagles finally got a home win, beating Roswell 42-15. The Homecoming victory ended a streak of 672 days since the Eagles’ last win at home.
“Our home schedule last year was very difficult,” Hobbs coach Charles Gleghorn said. “It was Clovis, Artesia, Mayfield, Las Cruces High, golly, a lot of those games we actually played well in, but it was a very tough schedule. But, it is nice (to win) and to have the first home game be Homecoming with just a great crowd, it is unbelievable to see that thing (the stands) filled up. Football in Hobbs is a big deal.”
Alec Finney, one of the Eagles top pass-catching threats, spoke about the win and the team’s attitude this year.
“The win is good,” Finney said. “This is a new year and we are starting the revenge tour. This is just the beginning.”
The Eagles’ offense started off slow. Hobbs scored the game’s first touchdown when Nick Condarco recovered a Roswell fumble and returned the ball 53 yards for a touchdown with 3:56 left in the first quarter.
“I couldn’t do it without my team, but the feeling was great,” Condarco said of his defensive touchdown. “It was exciting and got us fired up.”
While the Eagles’ coach did not get to see Condarco’s fumble recovery, Gleghorn mentioned how much that touchdown helped his team.
“We had two possessions in the first quarter and we don’t do anything with it, but the defense scores,” Gleghorn said. “Yeah, that was a big deal for us because we struggled even after that offensively. But to have that seven points on the board instead of a zero really helped us out mentally.”
Thanks to a few Eagle offensive errors, Roswell was able to take a lead in the second quarter.
Following Hobbs’ defensive touchdown, Roswell tied the game at 7-7 on its next drive. Hobbs fumbled the ensuring kick, giving the ball back to Roswell. The Coyotes eventually turned the ball over on downs, but on the very first play after getting the ball back, Hobbs quarterback Gavin Hardison threw an interception. Seven plays later the Coyotes scored to put the Eagles in a 15-7 deficit with 5:58 left in the first half.
“The thing was, and it was one of our keys to the game, was handling our emotions,” Gleghorn said. “We didn’t do that at the beginning. We had a lot of things where we were being too quick or not patient enough and overrunning some things.”
With 0:09 left in the half, Hobbs was facing a first and 10 from its own 40 yard line. But as has been the case in the first two games this year, Hardison found Finney near the end zone and the receiver battled his way in for a touchdown as time expired.
“The ball was just in the air and my job is to catch it and run,” Finney said. “That is exactly what I did and that is what I have to do to help my team. We got the job done in the second half.”
In the second half, the Eagles got the ball and needed just four plays to retake the lead. Semaj Cotton scored on a 25-yard catch from Hardison. Hobbs forced Roswell to punt and scored again on its ensuing drive. This time was Dylan Condarco scoring on a 17-yard catch from Hardison. After forcing Roswell to turn the ball over on downs, the Eagles scored again, this time doing so on just two plays. Once again it was Cotton getting into the end zone. The junior caught a 37-yard pass for his second score of the game.
“After we both scored touchdowns, we bet each other who was going to get the next one,” Condarco said of scoring in the same game as his cousin Dylan. “It was exciting. Just playing with my family for the first time like that, it is a blessing.”
By the time the third quarter came to an end, the Eagles had gone from trailing by one point to leading by 20. Hobbs scored one more touchdown in the fourth quarter when Tristan Kemp found the end zone on a seven-yard run.
One week after setting an NMAA record for passing, Hardison finished the game with 381 yards through the air. The Eagles’ QB threw four touchdowns passes while also being intercepted twice.
“I made a lot of bad decisions on my part,” Hardison said. “But, at the same time, our defense played great tonight. Our offensive line and our receivers helped me out big time so it made my job a lot easier to bounce back.”
Cotton and Finney each had over 100 yards receiving. Cotton had nine catches for 150 yards while Finney hauled in seven passes for 114 yards. Five other recievers also caught passes for the Eagles.
“I just found the open spots,” Cotton said. “He (Hardison) just threw a perfect ball and I just caught it.”
With the win, Hobbs improves to 2-1 on the season. The Eagles will continue their non-district slate against District 4-5A next week when Hobbs hosts Lovington.