Clovis Christian football coach Jason Swann said the Eagles are excited about their first-round 8-man playoff game against Animas.
They’re not that thrilled about the long trip to the southwestern corner of the state, but they hope to have enough to overcome it.
CCS (7-2), seeded sixth, faces the No. 3 Panthers (6-3) at 1:30 p.m. today in a quarterfinal matchup. Meantime, four-time defending Class 1A champion Fort Sumner opens its playoff bid at home in a 1 p.m. kickoff today against Escalante.
Swann said Animas’ best player is probably quarterback Gerardo Reyes, but he has missed several games with a broken arm and his status this week isn’t known.
“They’re a very talented team,” Swann said. “They’re going to run a fairly unique defense, (but) it’s not a lot different than some of the defenses we’ve seen.”
He said Animas will put its linebackers outside the defensive ends and try to use its size to press the Eagles, who should have a significant advantage in team speed.
On offense, the Panthers run a spread option, Swann said, but they’ll mix up their sets.
Swann said he was hoping for a No. 4 or 5 seed, but said he thinks the state tried to keep the Eagles out of top-seeded Melrose’s bracket.
“We’re excited,” Swann said. “I think we match up really well with this team. It’ll be interesting; the first quarter will tell us a lot.
“From there, it’ll be a matter of which team makes the adjustments.
Fort Sumner vs. Escalante — The Lobos are enjoying an above-average season and hope to spring an upset on the Foxes.
“They outsize us, like most everybody we’ve played,” Fort Sumner coach Matt Moyer said. “I think they’re a lot better than they’ve been in the past.”
Moyer said the key players for Escalante (7-3) are senior quarterback-free safety Justin Atencio and junior tailback-linebacker Isaiah Maldonado. They will have the ball most of the time for the Lobos.
The Foxes (7-3) are getting some of their injured players back, including senior guard-middle linebacker Cameron Simmons and sophomore center-defensive end Micah Lyssy. Both have been out for several games.
“We’re really glad to get those guys back,” Moyer said. “When our numbers were down as much as they’ve been, it was getting hard.”
The winner advances to a semifinal contest at second-seeded Hagerman. Fort Sumner lost to the Bobcats 56-0 two weeks ago with five two-way starters out with injuries.