By Arnie Leshin
It’s the state high school football playoffs down the stretch as it kicks off this weekend.
The lone final is 2A tonight, with undefeated, top-seeded Jal (12-0) heading to 3rd-seeded Texico (9-3) ftior a scheduled 7 o’clock kickoff. The teams played earlier and it was a back-and-forth tight one won 41-35 by Jal at the Wolverines.
For a quick look at what transferred before a huge turnout that night (and you can expect another one again), Jal led 7-0 after one quarter, Texico went up 14-7 at the half. After three quarters, it tied at 21-all, and the final quarter had the visitors outscore the home side by six.
Now the Wolverines have won four straight. They have turned in 459 runs and allowed 244, Jal, with six shutouts, has pieced together a whooping 643 runs and given up 78. It has been a 1-2-3-4 2A Final Four.
In 3A, 4th-seeded St. Michael’s (11-1) travels south down I-25 to play at No. 1 seed, undefeated Socorro, which has won all its 11 starts, and this is slated for a 6 p.m. kickoff.
In the other 3A semifinals that’s scheduled for 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon, it’s 2nd-seeded Ruidoso (11-1)
traveling up to 6th-seeded Raton (10-3), which eliminated defending state champion Robertson in Las Vegas last week, and gets home field advantage because they last time the Tigers played Ruidoso in the playoffs, it was at Ruidoso.
In 4A, it’s a pair of Saturday 1 p.m. tilts. No. 1 seed Silver is 10-1 with its lone loss to visiting Deming, and it now has won its last five and has scored 365 runs and yielded a measly 48. Lovington is the 4th seed, lost its first four, and comes in at 5-6. It has put together only 323 points and has given up 395, but has won its last five to be more representative as the program second only to Artesia in state football championships.
The other 4A semis finds red-hot Taos, with its only setback coming at 20-8 in the opener at St. Michael’s, heading to 2nd-seeded Bloomfield. Although its schedule after that hasn’t been all that strong, the Tigers have scored 417 times and given up 114. They own a pair of shutouts. Bloomfield (10-1) has also been kind of up-and-down, with its lone loss in 11 starts 45-6 against visiting Silver, but there was also a very close clash won over mediocre Albuquerque Academy.
So this sounds like a toss-up, as in guessing game, but Silver does remain the favorite in 4A.
In 5A, it’s a pair of Saturday 1 p.m.contests.
No. 1 seed Artesia (8-2), a tough opponent at home, has to travel to up-set minded Deming, whose 8-4 record is deceiving. Deming did stun Silver, has won five in a row, and has turned in 344 points while giving up 188, just no shutouts but some close outings.
So the Bulldogs have to hit the road and have their fans follow. Their losses were 64-58 at Hobbs and 61-33 at Cleveland. They have pitched four shutouts while scoring 502 points and allowing 227.
in the other 5A semis, 2nd-seeded Roswell (8-2) takes on 3rd-seeded Piedra Vista (10-1), with the Panthers playing host at Hutchinson Stadium in Farmington. They have accounted for 416 runs and have given up 152 to go with three shutouts. As for Roswell, it has scored 461 and yielded 190 while winning it last four starts, including two straight over Goddard in the playoffs.
In 6A, both semifinals are set for Friday night at 7. Top-seeded Rio Rancho Cleveland (9-2), which
outplayed 5th-seedeed Albuquerque Volcano Vista, 56-21, previously, will now take on Volcano Vista, which is the host this time at Albuquerque Nuehada Stadium. The Storm has tallied 577 runs and has been reached for 233. For VV, it’s 490-260, and its been kind of an up-and-down campaign. Both have won five in a row.
The other semis has 2nd-seeded Albuquerque La Cueva (9-1) taking the trip to Las Cruces to face 3rd-seeded host Centennial at Field of Dreams. The Bears have come away with 533 runs and given up 242, just no shutouts. Centennial (9-1) has been 395-182 and has won its last seven outings.
To sign off with the other classes, in 2A it should be another thriller and maybe a 27-21 Texico surprise.
In 3A, take Socorro in a pick-em and Raton on its home field.
In 4A, Bloomfield slows down Taos, and Silver ends the late Lovington run.
In 5A, can Artesia take care of business on the road, why not, and although Piedra Vista is the home team at this neutral side, it sounds like a close one won by Roswell.
In 6A, Cleveland again has the advantage, and at the Field of Dreams, perhaps the upset will come from La Cueva.