By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
The Grady/San Jon Coyotes have earned a bye week after being seeded first Saturday in the six-man state tournament.
The Coyotes, (7-0, 4-0), won their final District 1 game 60 -32 Friday against the Floyd Broncos at San Jon.
“We knew coming in that the Broncos were going to be one of the toughest teams we would face this season,” said Bobby Gomez, Coyotes head coach.
As the seeding would have it, the Coyotes may play the Broncos in a semifinal game at San Jon. The No. 5 seed Broncos will play at 11 a.m., Saturday at No. 4 seed Reserve.
“The main thing we have to do is not come out of the bye week sluggish,” said Coyotes running back Joseph Benavidez, who said the team had two bye weeks during the season and after coming out of them they had a slow start in the field. He said it is crucial at the state tournament for the Coyotes to come out with intensity.
The Broncos (3-3, 2-2) lived up to coach Gomez’s expectations by scoring first in the game with a 15-yard rushing touchdown by running back Mark McDonald.
The Coyotes’ offense got off to a slow start and had to punt after their first series. However, the Coyotes were able to find their rhythm as they moved the ball the length of the field and scored on their second and third possessions — 1-yard rush by Benavidez and 2-yard run by Ryan Bone.
The defense scored the next two for the Coyotes on two returned fumbles, one of 60 yard by Gunnar Burrage and a 38-yard return by Benavidez.
“On defense we know that we don’t stop until we hear a whistle,” Burrage said. “We have to keep playing with intensity no matter what even if we have a lead or are trailing.”
However, the Broncos did not hang their heads and quit after back-to-back scores off of fumbles. On the following possession, they marched down the field and capped off the drive with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Adrian Alvarez.
Coyotes quarterback DC Lee passed for the Coyotes’ final two scores: a 20-yard pass to Jacob Thurman in the second and a 42-yard scoring pass to Benavidez in the final quarter.
McDonald closed out the game with a 15 yard rushing touchdown for the Broncos.
6-man semifinals: TBD
The Longhorns (5-2, 2-0) will play Friday against the Springer/Maxwell Devils for the District 2 championship at Logan.
The Longhorns won 54-0 Friday night against the Mescalero Apaches at Logan.
During the game, two Longhorns had multiple touchdowns: running back Brinton Roach had three and Jared Lubera had two. On defense, Jerome Earl had two fumble recoveries for the Longhorns.
The Longhorns’ defense pressured the Chiefs quarterback throughout the three quarters of play. The Chiefs had several drives into the Longhorns territory end with a lose ball turnover or turnover on downs.
“The Devils have a lot of speed and some very skilled players,” said Kene Terry, Longhorns head coach.
Terry said the Longhorns are not about to look past the Devils, they will ready to play the in front of them come Friday. He said the key will be to continue their physical play.
Game time: 7 p.m., Friday.
The Tucumcari Rattlers (2-5, 0-1) will be looking for their first District 5 win Friday when they play host to the Santa Rosa Lions.
Santa Rosa continues to run the same single-wing offense it has used since 1984, said Wayne Ferguson, Rattlers head coach.
Ferguson said the Lions are a young team that has been improving throughout the season. He said the key to winning for the Rattlers will be to limit — if not eliminate — turnovers entirely.
The Rattlers had six turnovers during their 34-7 district loss Friday night at Clayton.
Ferguson said four of the six turnovers gave the Yellowjackets a short field, resulting in touchdowns. He said the Rattlers were able to match up with Clayton on defense and only one of the Yellowjackets’ touchdowns was from a long offensive series.
“We will just have to play as physical as we did against Clayton and not make those mistakes that put the other team in a short field advantage,” Ferguson said.
Game time: 7 p.m., Friday at Rattler Stadium.
The San Jon Lady Coyotes (5-12, 5-3) are in third place in District 4 1A standings and will play fourth-place Grady Lady Bronchos Thursday at San Jon.
Game time: 5:30 p.m., Thursday at San Jon.
The Tucumcari Lady Rattlers (5-12, 2-2) are second in the District 5 3A standings and will play Raton at 6 p.m., Saturday.
Game time: 6 p.m., Saturday at the Snake Pit.
The Logan Lady Longhorns (16-3, 4-1) will play the Melrose Lady Buffaloes on Thursday for a potential first place in the District 6 2A Thursday at Melrose.
The Lady Buffaloes lead the Lady Longhorns 2-1 in their previous three match ups this season.
Game time: 5:30 p.m., Thursday at Melrose.
The Tucumcari Rattlers and Lady Rattlers Cross Country teams will compete at 3 p.m., Friday in the District 5-6 3A meet at Cuba.