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

Area football roundup: Melrose keeps rolling

Streak his 23 with 54-0 rout of Ramah


September 2, 2018

Labor Day weekend brought a busy slate of local football action, with Friday-night losses for Texico and Farwell beginning the weekend and a Saturday-afternoon victory for Melrose ending it.

Melrose 54, Ramah 0

MOUNTAINAIR — For the Buffaloes, it was like no time had elapsed at all since last November 25.

The main difference of course was the team turnover that resulted in several new key players and even a new head coach, Caleb King. But program-wise, not much changed. A little more than nine months ago, Melrose locked down its fourth consecutive eight-man championship by routing Mountainair 76-24. Saturday, the Buffs beat Ramah in a neutral-site game by almost the same margin, just two points more.

There’s a long way to go before state tournament time. But the Buffaloes look like a team capable of winning five straight titles.

“There are a lot of things we have to fix before we play in the playoffs,” said King, who took over for the retired Dickie Roybal in the offseason. “But they did really well. We’re trying to go back and play Melrose football.”

King — also the Melrose girls basketball and baseball head coach — admitted to having a few butterflies in his first game as head football coach.

“Yeah, a little bit,” he said, “because I had guys playing out of position. But I had a lot of really good guys and I knew they would make the adjustments.”

The players out of position occurred mainly because of injuries, but those players handled it and the results were familiar. Saturday’s game, in fact, ended on the 50-point rule with 10:08 left in the fourth quarter, when Chazz McAlister hauled in his second touchdown catch of the day, an 18-yarder from Tate Sorgen.

Melrose had begun its scoring early, on a 54-yard pass from Sorgen to Devon Bailey with just 1:28 gone by in the first quarter. A two-point conversion pass attempt was incomplete.

Just under three minutes later, McAlister caught a 30-yard scoring toss from Bailey, and the pair connected again on the ensuing two-point conversion pass, making it 14-0 with 7:35 still to play in the first.

A mere 45 seconds after that, Bailey was on the receiving end of a 61-yard touchdown pass from Sorgen, and though the two-point run attempt afterward was stopped, it was already a 20-0 game.

Melrose doubled its lead in the second quarter, getting 10- and 22-yard Sorgen touchdown runs sandwiched around a 35-yard scoring jaunt from Bailey. Only one conversion attempt was successful — Sorgen running one in after his second touchdown of the quarter — making the score 40-0 at halftime.

Bailey rushed for a 26-yard touchdown with 7:47 left in the third quarter, and Sorgen’s two-point conversion pass to Bailey gave Melrose a 48-0 lead.

McAlister’s touchdown catch early in the fourth brought the game to an end.

“It was a good win,” King said. “It was the first game; you always want to get that first game. ... We’ve got a lot of small stuff that we’ve got to fix, but it was a good game.”

Friona 27, Farwell 19

FARWELL — The Steers’ 2018 season did not get off to the start they had hoped.

Though they opened at home against neighbor Friona, the Steers trailed after every quarter — including, most importantly, the last — and fell by eight.

“We have a lot of new kids playing in positions that some of them have played before, but in other positions we have kids playing positions they have not played in the past,” Farwell head coach Danny Brittain said. “So we have a lot of young kids having to step up and fill varsity spots. ... So the youth and the young-ness of our team in those situations hurt us.”

Down 13-6 after one quarter, 20-13 at halftime and 27-13 after the third, Farwell couldn’t make up the necessary ground in the fourth quarter. The Steers were able to make it a one-score game in the final period, but could draw no closer.

Not that they didn’t have an opportunity.

With roughly two minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Farwell defensive end Christian Barrett caused a fumble that was recovered by nose guard Trace Stancell, putting the Steers in business at their own 40. Trouble was, they were out of timeouts.

Farwell did pick up one first down, but that was it, advancing only 15 yards before turning the ball over on downs with 20 seconds to go. One Friona kneeldown later, the Steers were 0-1.

“Our inexperience sure showed there at the end,” Brittain said, “but I feel like we’re going to grow and get better every week. We have the opportunity to be pretty good this year, I think.”

Farwell’s defense played fairly well, forcing that late fumble and another time stopping Friona on downs inside the Steers 5.

“I know we gave up 27 points,” Brittain said, “but I felt like our defense played well and they actually got much better as the game went on. ... And our secondary got a lot better as the night went on.”

Farwell scored its touchdowns on a 27-yard pass from Leo Ruiz to Jose Rodriguez in the first quarter, a 4-yard Ruiz run in the second, and a 54-yard jaunt by Ricardo Ortega in the fourth. Ruiz’s short scoring run along with Rodriguez’s extra point, in fact, tied the game at 13.

Friona had two first-quarter touchdown passes from Marin Santiago to Angel Hernandez — from 61 and 24 yards out. The Chieftans got an 18-yard touchdown pass from Marco Monreal to Jonathan Hernandez in the third quarter that gave them the lead for good. Sergio Flores ran three yards for Friona’s last touchdown later in the third.

Ortega finished with 94 yards rushing on just eight carries — an 11.8 average — fueled in part by his long fourth-quarter touchdown run.

Monreal led Friona with 72 rushing yards on 16 carries. Hernandez caught five passes for 138 yards.

Farwell visits Crosbyton, Texas this Friday.

Dexter 40, Texico 6

DEXTER — The Wolverines had high hopes for a 2-0 start after posting a 30-20 opening-week victory over Jal.

That 2-0 start was not to be, as it turned out. Texico visited Dexter on Friday and suffered a lopsided defeat, losing a game the Wolves were never really in.

“It was one of those nights,” Texico head coach Pat Crowley said. “We just ran into a buzzsaw and didn’t have our best stuff.”

Dexter had also entered Friday’s action at 1-0, having edged Santa Rosa 21-14 in Week 1. Week 2 was a bit easier for the Demons.

“We had some offensive and defensive breakdowns, most definitely,” Crowley said. “Had some turnovers, too many turnovers. We didn’t play very well.”

Texico’s lone bright spot was a 27-yard touchdown pass from Ben Loewen to Gabriel Bailey. That score, however, came at a point where it didn’t matter much. “We were down by a ton,” Crowley said.

It’s early, though, and the Wolverines have a chance to get turned back around this Friday when New Mexico Military Institute (1-1) makes the drive up from Roswell.

“Coach (Randy) Montoya does a pretty good job. ...” Crowley said. “They’re a pretty good football team. They’ve got some size to them.”


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