Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lea County football teams' Week 9 state playoff projections

News-Sun Photo
Lovington's Justin Bromley
  With just two weeks left until the end of the New Mexico prep football season (one for Class 2A and below), it's time to see where the football teams from Lea County will likely be seeded for the state playoffs – if at all.
  Record: 2-6 (0-0 district)
  Projection: Missing the cut in 5A (12 teams make playoffs)
  Outlook: The Eagles are in trouble unless they can win their two district games against Clovis (home this Friday) and Carlsbad (on the road next Friday) to claim their first outright district title since 1974 (Hobbs last shared the district title in 1982). Losses to Alamogordo and Lovington have squashed Hobbs' chances at an at-large berth. While anything is possible, Hobbs hasn't put together a strong game for four quarters all season and it's going to have to in each of the next two games if it wants to beat Clovis and Carlsbad.
  Record: 5-3 (1-0 district)
  Projection: Top seed in Class 3A (12 teams make playoffs)
  Outlook: Despite losing so much talent from a season ago, the Lovington football team just keeps on rolling behind defense and key special teams plays. Spanking Portales 37-7 in their district opener gives the top-ranked Wildcats a leg up on the top seed if they can take care of business Friday against Ruidoso. If Lovington wins there, they'll be the top seed no matter what happens in the final week of the season against Class 4A top-ranked Goddard. The two-time defending champ Wildcats have the look of a team that can possibly bring home its third straight title despite most people not being able to name one person on the team.
  Record: 8-0 (2-0 district)
  Projection: Top seed in Class 2A (Eight teams make playoffs)
  Outlook: That's right folks, in Lea County we'll probably have the top teams heading into the state playoffs in both 3A and 2A. The Cardinals have been rolling teams, and while their schedule isn't strong, they've taken care of business like a top-ranked team should. Eunice has arguably the top two players in the classification in dual-threat quarterback Tyler Almager and wide receiver/defensive back Junior Caraza to go along with a slew of strong players all over the field. Eunice will be the team to beat in 2A.
  Record: 4-4 (2-0 district)
  Projection: Third or fourth seed in Class 1A (Six teams make playoffs)
  Outlook: It's been a tale of two seasons for Jal in 2011. After starting the season with a brutal stretch of four tough opponents that resulted in an 0-4 record, the Panthers have bounced back for four straight convincing wins to even its record at 4-4. This week against top-ranked Fort Sumner will tell us a lot about Jal. If the Panthers can upset Fort Sumner, that third or fourth seed projection will jump to a No. 1 or No. 2. Whatever happens Friday, Jal will probably host in the quarterfinals.
  Record: 7-2 (1-1 district)
  Projection: Fourth in 8-Man (Six teams make playoffs)
  Outlook: The Coyotes have had a solid season but losses to Gateway Christian and Mountainair will drop Tatum a few spots in the seedings. A win over Melrose this week can possibly get the Coyotes into the top two and a bye for the first round of the playoffs. A loss and the Coyotes will be at No. 4 (which means they'll host in the quarterfinals).