The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Melrose routs Mountainair to claim four-peat in eight-man

 

November 26, 2017



MOUNTAINAIR — The Mountainair Mustangs scored on their first drive, the Melrose Buffaloes fell short on their 2-point conversion on their opening drive and it looked like the Mustangs would be the first team to challenge the Buffaloes this eight-man season.

And then the first quarter ended.

Nearly everything went the Buffaloes’ way after that, as they posted a 32-0 second quarter as part of a 56-0 run en route to a 76-24 victory Saturday afternoon.

The Buffaloes (11-0), who got seven touchdowns from quarterback Sterling Sena and six from running back Carson Fraze, took their fourth consecutive, eight-man title and their 12th football title in school history. The team has seven titles in the 12 seasons eight-man has existed in New Mexico, along with five won as a six-man school.

Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said the team stayed calm throughout, though there was undoubtedly some trepidation when the Buffs fell behind 16-6 on Amador Brazil’s 42-yard pass to Andrew Lopez.

“With their experience being in the title game, that helps," Roybal said. "I’m sure there was a concern. We didn’t get off the bus until midway through the first quarter.”

A key drive came in the second quarter, with the Buffs still trailing 22-16. Melrose started at their own 35, and on the same series had penalties negate two touchdowns and a first down. Undaunted, Melrose scored on a 64-yard completion from Sena to Fraze and never trailed again.

“I think that may have been the turning point,” Roybal said. “One was on what we thought was a great block. That got the fans going, that got the kids going, and I think that may have been the turning point.”

Melrose got an exclamation point at the end of the second quarter. It used its timeouts in the closing seconds of the second quarter to make Mountainair punt near midfield. The Mustang snap went over the punter’s head and the Buffs recovered on the 24 with three seconds remaining. From there, Sena found Fraze on a scoring toss as the clock expired. Roybal felt it was an instance of luck favoring the prepared; things worked perfectly, but Melrose created a situation where it could happen.

After that, the Buffaloes did what they’ve done in a season full of blowouts. Of their 11 wins, only two did not end via the state’s 50-point mercy rule; one was a 48-0 win over Mancos, Colorado and the other was a forfeit win over Springer. For the season, the Buffaloes outscored their opponents 604-58.

A 19-yard Fraze scoring reception early in the fourth gave the Buffaloes a running clock at 62-16. Mountainair finally answered with a 50-yard scoring run by Chandler Roberts, but Fraze returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards and later ended it on his second rushing touchdown, this one for 79 yards.

Sena ran for a pair of touchdowns and passed for five, with Tristan Sena and Brady Sorgen also catching scoring tosses.

Brazil also ran for a touchdown for the Mustangs (9-2).

Roybal is now 130 games above .500 (186-56) in 21 seasons at Melrose, with a 9-4 record in title matchups.

“We’ve had better athletes on a team, but these kids worked and dealt with adversity with Cade (Barnard) leaving (in 2016) and some other seniors not playing,” Roybal said. “The work ethic of this team is up there with some of the best teams we’ve had.”

 

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