Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So far, somewhat so good on predictions; N.M. playoffs continue

  Before I totaled up and checked out how I did on my predictions of the New Mexico state football playoffs, I thought I may have butchered my picks on the opening weekend. I knew my Carlsbad pick was blown when No. 9 La Cueva beat the No. 8 Cavemen, 17-7, in Class 5A.
  But once I did all the math, so far so good for me as 13 of the 16 teams I thought would move on did with losses by Carlsbad, Class 3A No. 9 Ruidoso (to No. 8 Albuquerque Academy) and my upset pick of Class 4A No. 11 St. Pius X (it lost to Farmington, the fifth seed).
  To refresh you on my pre-playoff predictions, read here.
  As for games to keep an eye on for this weekend, I'll go classification by classification.
8-Man/Class 1A
  First, two champions will be crowned this weekend when Melrose (who edged past Tatum in overtime) takes on Gateway Christian on Saturday in Roswell for the 8-man title and Fort Sumner (who slid past Jal) takes on Mesilla Valley Christian on Saturday at Gadsden High School in Anthony, N.M., for the 1A title. The Fort Sumner/Mesilla Valley game should be entertaining with a contrast of styles with Fort Sumner's ground-pounding attack taking on Mesilla Valley's let-it-fly approach.

Class 2A
  In 2A there are only four teams left with No. 1 Eunice hosting No. 4 Tularosa 7 p.m. Friday while No. 2 Texico hosts No. 3 Santa Rosa. While inside Lea County the Eunice game is what people will be paying attention to, the rest of the state likely will have its attention toward the Texico/Santa Rosa rematch. Texico defeated Santa Rosa 21-20 earlier this season in Santa Rosa. The loss seemed to have lit a fire under Santa Rosa, however, as it has outscored its last three opponents 143-0, including wins over playoff teams Tucumcari (47-0) and Loving (49-0).
Class 3A
  I had trouble figuring out which game of the four quarterfinal matchups stood out the most. I guess I'm most interested in seeing how No. 3 Lovington bounces back after being thumped by 4A top-seed Goddard and the week before edging Ruidoso – a team that was trounced 48-21 by No. 8 Albuquerque Academy in the first round. I still think No. 5 Hope Christian pulls a minor upset and beats No. 4 Socorro, No. 1 St. Michael's again takes care of business against Academy (it beat the Chargers 28-7 earlier this season) and No. 2 Silver gets past No. 7 Robertson.
Class 4A
  The game with the most interest should be No. 4 Artesia and No. 5 Los Lunas. Los Lunas made a statement last week beating No. 12 Los Alamos 55-0. Los Lunas lost to No. 3 Valencia 13-7 earlier this season and will test a Bulldog team that is only 5-5 on the season. But with the game at the Bulldog Bowl and the tradition of Artesia, I give the Bulldogs the edge. I'll also be interested to see how No. 7 Roswell fairs against No. 2 Aztec. The Coyotes are battle tested with games against Goddard, Artesia and Carlsbad this season while Aztec's schedule hasn't been quite as tough. No. 1 Goddard rolls into the semifinals and will blast No. 8 Moriarty while No. 3 Valencia gets past No. 6 Farmington.
Class 5A
  In 5A, all four games have their own intrigue, but I'm extra interested in No. 6 Clovis heading north to play No. 3 Manzano in Albuquerque. I really liked what I saw from Clovis when they played Hobbs at Watson Stadium, but the Wildcats were less than impressive in a 20-14 win over No. 11 Sandia in the quarterfinals. Another game to watch is No. 4 Las Cruces against No. 5 Rio Rancho. The Rams showed nearly upsetting once-thought-unbeatable top-seed Cleveland they have the tools to make noise in the playoffs. I think No. 1 Cleveland and No. 2 Mayfield will win, but No. 9 La Cueva and No. 7 Eldorado will give those two better games than people think.
  Here is a link to the brackets: NMAA State Football Championships