Editor’s note: Friday night’s game between the Goddard Rockets and Carlsbad Cavemen was called due to lightning that was visible from the stadium in Carlsbad. The score was tied 0-0 at the time the game was stopped.
The public address announcer at Ralph Bowyer Stadium in Carlsbad issued a warning that felt like a sign of the times just prior to the kickoff of Friday night’s game between the Goddard Rockets and the Carlsbad Cavemen. He told someone operating a drone above the stadium to cease and desist.
“Get your drone out of here,” the PA announcer warned.
It was very 2018 — and very much in contrast with the old-school brand of football that got underway once the ball was kicked off.
But the contest, which could have been described as a battle in any era of the game, was a short one — it ended in a 0-0 tie at halftime when officials called the game due to lightning.
Though the game was called early, Goddard Rockets Head Coach Chris White liked what he saw from his team when they were on the field.
“I was super pleased with the effort that we had,” White said. “I sure wish we could have executed better offensively — but that was a heavyweight boxing match right there.
“I think this will speak volumes about the team we’re going to put on the field on Friday nights.”
Friday’s game was a match-up between 1-0 teams. The Rockets were coming off of a convincing 48-13 opening-week victory over St. Pius X at the Wool Bowl in Roswell. The Cavemen, meanwhile, had scored a hard-fought 28-14 victory on the road against a tough Artesia squad to begin their season. This contest offered both squads and their fan bases an early-season measuring stick.
The teams played to a scoreless tie in the first half, but the opening stanzas of play weren’t without their highlights. On the Goddard side of the ball, those came mostly on defense, as the Rockets stepped up to thwart the Cavemen each time the home team approached or entered the red zone.
After a first quarter that saw each times’ drives stall — two punts for Goddard and for Carlsbad, a fumble and a punt — the Cavemen were the first team to approach the end zone.
After a Goddard drive stalled, Carlsbad received the ensuing punt on their own 22-yard line and drove down to the Rockets’ 10-yard line.
With a first and goal on the 10, Carlsbad tried a run that went nowhere. On the next play, the Cavemen attempted a pass into the end zone — which was picked off by Goddard’s Cael Alderete and returned to the Rockets’ five. The Rockets would again have to punt, and — after a penalty against Carlsbad on the return — the Cavemen found themselves facing a long field, starting from their own 15.
Carlsbad advanced the ball to their own 28, and could have covered much more ground, if not for a shoestring tackle by Goddard’s Jonah Chavez that tripped up a possible breakaway run by Carlsbad.
The Rockets’ defense would recover a fumble with 41 seconds left in the second quarter, but couldn’t capitalize before the final seconds of the half ticked away.
Almost as soon as the halftime clock began, a lightning delay was called, and fans were asked to clear the stadium.
The half-time clock was reset multiple times, with officials adding 30 minutes with each new flash of lightning near the stadium. Finally, a little after 9:30 p.m. the game was called.
Goddard High School will go on the road to face Deming next week. Other notes: White pointed out that the Goddard Freshman Team is now 2-0 on the season, after beating Los Lunas 30-8, and Roswell 34-8.