A surprise coaching change in mid-summer hardly deterred the Fort Sumner Foxes football team.
Matt Moyer, a Fort Sumner grad who had spent the previous five seasons as the team’s defensive coordinator, stepped in to fill the void left when Dexter McDaniel suddenly resigned in late June.
The Foxes didn’t miss a beat, rolling to an 11-1 record. They cruised to their fourth consecutive Class 1A title, and eighth in nine trips to the finals since 1996, with a 48-0 rout of Clayton in the title clash.
Moyer admitted the team felt some pressure to try to keep its remarkable run going.
“We did, but the kids came out ready to play every week,” he said. “When we lost to Santa Rosa (7-6 on Sept. 25), it wasn’t that we had an off-week; they were just better than we were.”
That loss may have been as pivotal as any win for the Foxes. It showed that they could play with one of the better teams in Class 2A.
They certainly dominated 1A. Fort Sumner faced each of the other five playoff qualifiers during the regular season and waxed them by an average score of 52-3, then blew out McCurdy (60-0) and Clayton in the playoffs.
“We were definitely trying to keep (focused) and dominate everybody, so there would be no question about who was No. 1,” said slotback-cornerback Laremy Simmons, one of 12 seniors on the team.
Fort Sumner was dominant on both sides of the ball, averaging 44 1/2 points a game while allowing just 41 points all season.
Of the six touchdowns the Foxes allowed, only one came before halftime — Santa Rosa’s second-quarter score.
Moyer said the bus ride to Clayton for the finals was the quietest one he’d ever seen. Simmons noticed it, too.
“It was cool,” Simmons said. “Everyone just went to their seats (on the bus), put on their headphones and thought about what they had to do.”
Moyer said the team left no doubt in the finals.
“I was really proud of the boys when we went up to Clayton,” he said. “I could tell on the bus that (the players) were really focused on winning that game.”
Can the Foxes make it five straight? Moyer said they can, but it could be tough.
He noted that numbers are a concern, saying only three eighth-graders are projected to move into the program and so many seniors are vacating.
“It’s a problem we’ve been seeing for a while,” Moyer said of a declining enrollment. “We still have a lot of participation, and we still feel we should be competitive.
“Our goal next year is to win it, but it remains to be seen.”
No. Name Pos. Yr.
7 Michael Mares WR/CB Jr.
9 Gonzalo Martinez WR/FS Jr.
13 Anthony Griffin RB/S Sr.
14 Skylar McMath QB/S Fr.
15 Reed Kenyon WR/CB So.
19 Berry Stinnett QB/OLB Sr.
21 P.J. Romo RB/OLB Jr.
23 Laremy Simmons RB/CB Sr.
25 Barrett Williamson WR/CB Sr.
41 Christian Pettigrew TE/MLB Sr.
42 Braeden Dimitroff FB/OLB Jr.
43 Blake Crenshaw RB/S So.
45 Kolter Lewis TE/OLB Sr.
50 Pacen Marez G/DE Sr.
52 Micah Lyssy G/MLB Fr.
54 Austin Lawrence T/DT Fr.
55 Cameron Simmons G/MLB Jr.
56 Garrett Andreas G/MLB Fr.
57 Dusty Luce T/DT So.
61 Chance Lopez T/DE So.
63 Adam West C/DE Fr.
64 Ryan Drake C/MLB Sr.
66 Zach Kenyon T/DE Sr.
69 Nick Lucero T/DT Sr.
72 Hector Zambrano G/DT Jr.
75 Vincent Rodriguez C/DT Sr.
78 Chris Archuleta T/DT Sr.
84 Caleb West TE/DE So.
88 Miguel Guevara K Jr.
Head coach: Matt Moyer. Assistants: John Wootton, Joel Wood, Robin Simmons.
at New Mexico Military W 26-7
Clayton W 35-0
Capitan W 58-28
at McCurdy W 55-0
Santa Rosa L 6-7
at Loving W 57-12
at Jal W 29-0
Carrizozo W 59-0
Hagerman W 54-7
at Mescalero W 47-0
Class 1A playoffs
McCurdy W 60-0
at Clayton W 48-0