Fort Sumner senior Cass Dimitroff (with ball) said the Foxes’ longtime rivalry with Santa Rosa is a friendly one, adding that he’s known a lot of the Lions’ players for a long time.
Off to a 3-0 start, two-time defending Class 1A state champion Fort Sumner expects to get a true measure of its situation tonight when the Foxes play at rival Santa Rosa.
The Lions (3-0) have finished second in Class 2A in two of the last three years, so Fort Sumner coach Dexter McDaniel is anxious to see how his team fares against that caliber of opponent.
“They’re always a tough football team,” McDaniel said. “(Lions coach) Frank Ortiz always has a good program. It’s going to be quite a challenge for us.”
Separated by about 50 miles, the schools have played in football every year since 1953. But Foxes senior running back-linebacker Cass Dimitroff said there’s no bad blood.
“It’s always been a pretty big rivalry,” said Dimitroff, who has rushed for 555 yards and eight touchdowns this season. “I’ve known (their players) since we were little kids, and we’re all good friends.”
Santa Rosa presents a challenge with its single-wing attack. The Lions are one of the few teams to run the rush-based offense, which relies on deception.
Santa Rosa’s wins have come against large-school junior varsities from Clovis (38-7), Eldorado (14-7) and Roswell Goddard (44-0).
McDaniel hopes his team is ready for the challenge.
“It comes down to blocking and tackling,” he said. “Whoever does that the best is probably going to win.”
Fort Sumner is coming off its closest game so far, a 27-14 win Friday at Capitan.
Dimitroff said the Lions will provide a measuring stick for the Foxes.
“Usually if we do good against them, we’ll probably do pretty good the rest of the season,” he said. “It’s always disappointing to lose, but you always look forward to playing this game.”
The Foxes are playing at less than full strength, with senior defensive tackle Chase Longo and senior center-defensive tackle Derrick Terrell out with knee injuries. Neither has played so far this season, but McDaniel said both could be back as early as next week.
Always concerned about injuries and his team’s relative lack of depth, McDaniel said things have gone reasonably well to this point in the season.
“I’m proud of the team,” he said. “So far we’ve gotten better each week.
“Any time you can (compete) with Santa Rosa, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The biggest things are to have our heads up when it’s over and have no injuries.”
McCurdy at Texico, 7 p.m.
* Notable: Wolverines have two posted consecutive shutouts after a season-opening loss.
Fort Sumner at Santa Rosa, 7 p.m.
* Notable: The rivalry has been played every year since 1953. Foxes lead series 29-25, but Santa Rosa has won last five.
Springer at Clovis Christian, 7 p.m.
* Notable: Both teams looking for first victories.
Morton at Farwell, 6:30 p.m.
* Notable: Steers seeking first win of season.
Bovina at Friona, 6:30 p.m.
* Notable: Mustangs coming off 10-0 loss at home to New Deal.
Muleshoe at Idalou, 6:30 p.m.
* Notable: Mules trying for 4-0 start.
Raton at Portales, 7 p.m.
* Notable: Rams beat the Tigers last year in Raton.