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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

The second season

Three Cruces schools enter NMAA state playoffs, and all are at Home in first-round play

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Mayfield High School dropped another close one in their storied rivalry to their crosstown rivals, Las Cruces High, last weekend – but apart from bragging rights, which will admittedly carry another 12 months, that hardly mattered when the sun rose on a new day.

That’s when Trojan players, fans and families found out the Green & Gold north-siders are seeded 8th in the 6A state playoffs, good enough for home field advantage in the first round, where they’ll once again face conference foe, 9th seeded Carlsbad. The Trojans beat the Cavemen 27-14 on Sept. 21 at Field of Dreams.

Four teams earned first-round byes in the 12-team tournament: Top seed Volcano Vista, 2nd seed Clovis, 3rd seed Cleveland and 4th seed Rio Rancho.

This weekend’s contests for the other eight teams, seeded 5 through 12:

  • Sandia vs. Las Cruces, 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, Field of Dreams, Las Cruces
  • La Cueva vs. Eldorado, 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, Wilson Stadium, Albuquerque
  • Centennial vs. Cibola, 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, Field of Dreams
  • Mayfield vs. Carlsbad, 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, Field of Dreams

At No. 5, 8-2 Las Cruces is the highest LCPS seed in the tournament, having dealt previously unbeaten Centennial its only loss of the season. The Dawgs are also on a six-game winning streak – all in District 3/4 play – after sputtering out of the gate at 2-2. The Red, White & Blue have scored 391 points on the season, giving up only 174.

Sandia, seeded 12th, comes in at 3-7, having given up 124 more points than they’ve scored.

The winner of this game advances to play Rio Rancho.

Big advantage: Las Cruces

All that said, 6th seeded Centennial, 9-1, must be considered the most dominant southern New Mexico school. It’s likely they’re underrated, perhaps due to geography. The Hawks went deep into last year’s tourney, started out this year at 6-0, and now ride a three-game streak after stumbling against Las Cruces. They rolled up 439 points on the season, yielding only 129 – an average point spread of 30-plus per game.

Cibola, seeded 11th, is 5-5, but have given up 44 more points than they’ve scored.

The winner here advances to the second round against Cleveland.

Big advantage: Centennial

Mayfield, 6-3, is not a flashy squad on offense, as the Trojans rely on field position and defense. Even in their loss to the Bulldawgs, they held Las Cruces to 20 points below their season average. In fact, Carlsbad has scored 85 more points than Mayfield, and after a slow start at 3-3, their 6-4 record looks pretty good.

Also consider: It’s difficult to beat a team twice in the season. The Cavemen are no doubt making adjustments in light of their earlier loss to the Trojans, in which they trailed by only 5 in the fourth quarter.

The winner gets top-seed Volcano Vista in the second round.

Slight advantage: Mayfield

Marty Racine may be reached at editor@lascrucesbulletin.com.

 

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