Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quick hits: Tatum volleyball title, state playoff football

Kimberly Ryan/News-Sun
Eunice's Juan Zamora stretches out to try and make a catch Friday.
  I apologize for the delay in writing my latest blog. It was a busy weekend and trying to get everything stuffed in the newspaper was time consuming – and for good reason.
  A lot happened this weekend in Lea County athletics.
  – To start things off, I have to congratulate the Tatum volleyball team for winning its third straight Class 1A state volleyball title. The Lady Coyotes have proven throughout the season they're the best team in the classification (and probably in 2A and 3A as well) and showed it at state tournament time.
  Behind the hitting of Devanne Sours (still a junior) and Monica Ramirez, the presence at the net of Angela Rebolledo and the quick defensive play of twins Jessica and Sandy Ramirez, Karina Cardenas and Maria Mendoza – Tatum defeated Melrose in the state championship match in four games.
  What is scary is every player I just named other than Monica Ramirez returns next season – including the two-time (probably going to be three-time here shortly) Class 1A Player of the Year Sours.
  – In football, I was at the Eunice football game Friday, and after a slow start, the top-seeded Cardinals went on to beat No. 8 Tucumcari 49-20. Give the Rattlers credit, they limited Eunice – a team that scored 30 points in the first quarter against them earlier in the season – to four first-half possession with Eunice scoring twice, turning the ball over twice and holding just a 13-7 lead at the half.
  But the Cardinals got rolling in the second half and took advantage of Tucumcari mistakes to outscore the Rattlers 36-13 in the second half.
  It was one of those games where Eunice probably didn't play its best, but good enough for the win. The mistakes such as penalties and execution issues are all fixable. I expect Eunice to come out with a little more fire in the semifinals against No. 4 Tularosa 7 p.m. Friday at Cardinal Stadium.
  Though, I have to say quarterback Tyler Almager looked great Friday. He was 21-for-28 for 281 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 114 yards and two more scores. I knew he had a good arm, but his accuracy and ability to check down when his main options weren't available (Tucumcari had safeties over the top of Dylan Frank and Junior Caraza for much of the night) while also showing the ability to scramble showed why he's the top small-school quarterback in the state.
  – In other football games Friday, Class 1A No. 4 Jal led top-seeded Fort Sumner 6-0 at half but ran out of gas and eventually lost 19-6. It was a good effort by the Panthers, but with not very much depth it was hard to keep up with the powerhouse Foxes.
  No. 4 Tatum gave top-seeded Melrose an even bigger scare, taking the Buffaloes to overtime before losing 26-18. Another great effort by a Lea County team just falling short.
  Across the border in Texas, Seminole showed why it will be a contender in Class 3A Division I as it whipped Fabens 61-0 in Pecos, Texas. The Indians put 42 points on the board in the first half and let off the gas the rest of the way. Quarterback Jacob Burtch went an efficient 15-for-18 for 362 yards and three TDs. Seminole takes on Lubbock Cooper (a team it beat 20-7 earlier this season) on Friday.
  – I went to the Hobbs boys basketball scrimmage at Tasker Arena on Saturday morning and I'll post a separate blog probably later Sunday. Don't want to make this post go on too long.