The Manzano Monarchs indirectly gave the Clovis Wildcats a tough second-round matchup with top-seeded La Cueva. The Wildcats made the first-round matchup a little tougher with a loss.
At about the same time Carlsbad was ekeing out a 14-13 win over Clovis for its first district championship since 2000, the Monarchs didn’t let Ronnie Daniels singlehandledly win the District 2-5A championship.
Manzano (9-1, 3-0) overcame seven touchdowns from Daniels for a 56-55 win to lock up the state’s top seed. The Monarchs and Bears received the top two seeds, while Cleveland and Las Cruces took the third and fourth seeds, respectively.
Clovis is the 10th seed, facing No. 7 Highland. The game is 2 p.m. Saturday at Wilson Stadium in Albuquerque.
The winner faces La Cueva (9-1, 2-1) the following weekend. Had Clovis (4-6, 1-1) defeated Carlsbad, Clovis assistant Darren Kelley figures the Wildcats would be the home team in the 7-10 matchup.
“With Manzano beating La Cueva,” Kelley said. “I think the best we would have done was the seventh seed, so we would have played La Cueva (in the quarterfinals) either way.”
The top four seeds receive a first-round bye and homefield advantage in the quarterfinals. Other first-round matchups are:
• No. 9 West Mesa at No. 8 Carlsbad. Manzano hosts the winner.
• No. 11 Rio Rancho at No. 6 Mayfield. A Ram upset would create an in-city playoff matchup at No. 3 Cleveland.
• No. 12 Cibola at No. 5 Eldorado. The winner will head down to Las Cruces.
Play of the game, Carlsbad: Carlsbad sorely needed a momentum boost after going three-and-out on their opening possession. Clovis linebacker Kevin Armstrong stuffed Eric Galindo on a third and 1 run attempt on the first possession.
But Galindo would not be stopped the second time around. Clovis had just scored on a 10-play drive to take momentum from the Cavemen, but Galindon got it back by taking a short pass from Brandon Mendoza and breaking numerous tackles before sprinting down the right sideline. The two-play drive put Carlsbad back in business, and they scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on a four-play drive later in the quarter.
Play of the game, Clovis: The Wildcats had only threatened one time after their first scoring drive — a drive that reached the Carlsbad 25 in the second quarter.
That changed when Jordan Hill called his own number and went down the Carlsbad sideline for 41 yards. The play put Clovis at the 28, but the drive ended with a missed field goal nine plays later.