Buffs take on No. 1-ranked Mountainair
Published: Friday, November 16th, 2007
Melrose didn’t look like a potential 8-man final four team when it lost at Mountainair 40-16 on Sept. 22. But the Buffaloes (8-3) haven’t tasted defeat since then, and tonight take a seven-game winning streak into a semifinal matchup against the top-ranked Mustangs (10-0) at Melrose. Veteran Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said his team has made considerable progress since the earlier meeting, in which they suffered six turnovers. “We are (better), but they’ve gotten a lot better too,” Roybal said. While Melrose is coming off a 56-0 shellacking of Valley Christian in the quarterfinal round, Mountainair advanced with a 56-8 drubbing of Reserve. In other area games, Fort Sumner (10-1) plays at Hagerman (5-6) at 7 p.m. today in a Class 1A semifinal matchup while Texico (8-2) travels to Tularosa (7-3) for a 2 p.m. Class 2A quarterfinal on Saturday. If Melrose wins, it would host either Animas or Floyd next weekend in the finals. Floyd travels to Animas for a 3 p.m. semifinal tilt on Saturday. “Our kids are playing at a real high level right now, and anything can happen,” Roybal said. “It’s going to be a game of clock control, whoever has the fewest turnovers, and whoever executes the best.” Roybal said the Mustangs have two of the better players in 8-man in senior quarterback Matthew Chavez and senior tailback Victor Romero. “I thought we played decent (in the first meeting),” he said. “They’ve got the senior leadership, and probably the best quarterback in the state. They’re just a big, physical team.” Fort Sumner, seeking its third consecutive 1A title, blitzed Hagerman 54-12 in the teams’ season opener at Hagerman. But the Bobcats have won four of their last five, including a 21-18 win at Ramah in the quarterfinals last week, and Foxes coach Dexter McDaniel said they’re much-improved. “The biggest thing is they have a lot of speed,” he said. “They’ve come a long ways since (the opener). We’re going to have to go down there and play football.” Tonight’s winner plays next weekend in the finals the winner of a Saturday semifinal sending Clayton to Carrizozo. McDaniel said the Foxes would have to travel if they face Clayton while there would be a coin flip for home field against Carrizozo. McDaniel said the Foxes are focused on the task at hand — trying to three-peat for the first time in school history. “That’s been our goal all year,” he said. “We’re one step away from getting there, but we can’t get there without getting past this game.” While Texico is coming off a 41-0 rout of Laguna-Acoma last weekend, the fourth-seeded Wildcats enjoyed a first-round bye. Tularosa has a relatively young squad with seven seniors on its roster. Its losses have been to 2A playoff teams Dexter and Lordsburg and 3A qualifier Hot Springs. “I don’t think we have to play above our heads,” Wolverines coach Mike Prokop said. “We just have to play well.” He said that with an open date in the final week of the regular season, the Wolverines were glad to have a game last week rather than another bye. “In the playoffs, you just play,” he said. “We just needed to play (last week).” Prokop compared the Wildcats to district rival Tucumcari in style and size, but said Tularosa may have a bit more overall speed.
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