By Arnie leshin
Artesia is at home, but its football season is over. The Bulldogs have won state 20 times. They have been in 28 finals. Now it’s an unusual time for them. Their gear has already been stored away, and all they can say is wait until next year.
As the 4th seed, Artesia went back and forth with top seeded Roswell in a tight clash to get to the 5A finals. There were six lead changes, a pair of ties, the final score was 48-42, and Roswell is home again when it plays 4th seeded Los Lunas Saturday afternoon.
If ‘almost’ counts, Artesia almost went home with a victory. With the game clock ticking down, Roswell took the lead at 35-28. Back came the Bulldogs (8-5) to deadlock things at 35-35, but Roswell responded by getting to the end zone again, but missed the point-after and held a 41-35 advantage.
No quit in Artesia, though, even on the road So back came the Bulldogs, scoring with 2:54 left and kicking the point-after to go up 42-41.
Now it was the home team that settled matters, scoring with 37 seconds remaining, booting the PAT, and the Bulldogs’ bus was backing up.
Now it could again be a tough go for Roswell as it carries a 10-2 record against the Tigers (11-2), who turned back 2nd seeded Goddard, 41-20, on the road. Goddard concluded at 9-2-1, and now Los Lunas, which lost in last year’s final, gets another shot, but on the road this time.’
In 3A, 5th seeded Robertson heads for 2nd seeded Dexter, with both sporting 11-2 records. Dexter is in its first season in 3A as its current enrollment moved it up from 2A. The Demons have done well, although they did have some 2A schools on their schedule. But having home field is a big advantage versus the Cards.
Red-hot Taos (11-1) the 3rd seed in 4A, is back at home after downing 7th seeded Grants and will welcome 5th seeded Bloomfield (9-4), which comes off a 21-7 impressive win over top seed Albuquerque St. Pius X, and it should be its defense dealing with the Tigers offense that ran all over Lovington, 43-0.
In 6A are the two remaining unbeatens, top seeded Rio Rancho Cleveland and 2nd seeded Albuquerque La Cueva, and that’s the way its been all season. The Storm rushes and passes equally well, and has a stout defense. La Cueva is also right up there and it sounds like a tug-of-war, with Clevelandhaving home field giving it the edge.
Here are my final football picks of the season
CLEVELAND 24 LA CUEVA 17——- for the Storm
DEXTER 20 ROBERTSON 16 —– Tough test for Dexter
ROSWELL 30 L0S LUNAS 27 —— Roswell tames Tigers at home
TAOS 28 BLOOMFIELD 14 —–– These Tigers roar at home