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Area football roundup: Texico, Elida, Melrose win big


August 25, 2019

It was a big Friday for regional football teams, as Melrose, Texico and Elida all notched lopsided victories.

There were successful head-coaching debuts for Texico’s Bob Gilbreath and Elida’s Jereme Woodruff, plus a memorable first-ever home game under the lights for the Tigers.

Melrose 54, Dulce 0

ALBUQUERQUE — A victory is always worth the trip — even when it’s a three-hour trip and the win takes a little more than a half to complete.

The Buffaloes journeyed northwest to neutral-site Menaul High School in Albuquerque to play Dulce and did their damage early, having already pulled their starters from the game with about four minutes to go in the first quarter.

The younger players took over, and even they only had to play until roughly two minutes into the third quarter, when Melrose went up 54-0, thereby ending the game on the 50-point rule.

Great night for the Buffs, tough one for Dulce.

“Yeah, they’re kind of a building program,” Melrose head coach Caleb King said. “I think they had 10 kids on their team. They struggled. They’re still learning different types of things about the game. We got out early and made it tough on ’em.”

‘Got out early’ as in the game’s first play, which featured an opening kickoff returned by Tristan Sena 82 yards for a touchdown.

Sena also tossed an 18-yard scoring pass to Tate Sorgen during the first quarter.

Freshman Dylan Draper rushed for 42- and 12-yard touchdowns.

Three quarters into the opening period, Melrose had a 26-0 advantage, so out came the starters.

“It was a good game to get our young guys in and get them some playing time,” King said.

Melrose has an early-season bye next weekend. “It’ll help us to re-adjust ourselves,” King said. “We have Tatum after that. That’s a big rivalry game, that’ll be a tough game.”

Elida 61, Lake Arthur 6

ELIDA — History was made at Elida High School Friday night as the Tigers played their first home game under the lights.

That, along with Jereme Woodruff’s debut as Elida head coach made it a big night indeed.

And, oh by the way, the Tigers walloped Lake Arthur by 55.

Woodruff said he respected the Lake Arthur program, despite its recent struggles.

“They’re going to come in well-coached, well-prepared,” Woodruff said, “but we came out on top because of our depth. We were able to rotate some guys in there and wear ‘em down.”

That was due in large part to a good overall night from sophomore Rylan Creighton, who dominated on defense.

“Just a force out there on the field,” Woodruff said. “He was everywhere. He relentlessly pursued the ball.”

Creighton even helped out offensively with a key touchdown run.

“He had an exceptional game to start off the season for us,” Woodruff said. “I promise, when coaches look at game films they’re going to try to see where he’s at and stay away from him.”

Woodruff called senior Will Haley “just as reliable as always,” with good reason. Haley notched three touchdowns, including a 20-yard scoring catch on a deep slant route.

“He’s one of the better playmakers on our team,” Woodruff said. “What he does seems somewhat routine because he does it with such regularity.”

With the game out of reach by halftime, Woodruff gave his freshmen and sophomores a chance, and they did not disappoint.

“I was super-proud of those guys,” Woodruff said. “They didn’t flinch, they didn’t blink. They were super-excited. They went out there and played hard. They showed we’ve got a bright future.”

As for the lights — not surprisingly, pretty cool for the Tigers.

“It was great. It was really interesting,” Woodruff said. “It’s a new thing; you worry. ... There’s that nervous energy right before that; how are the kids going to react to it, the fans? It was awesome.”

And playing later at night afforded more Elida fans more time after work to get to the game.

“We’ve played under the lights at other places,” Woodruff said, “but to be able to do that at our place ... it allows for more crowd participation.”

And as for Woodruff’s coaching debut, it was the same as any game he’s been part of previously.

“I get nervous for games regardless of if I was an assistant coach or player,” he said. “The thrill of competition, the first game of the season. I was nervous and excited. It was more exciting. We’ve been preparing for this for weeks. It was nice to finally get out there and compete against somebody besides yourselves.”

Texico 37, Jal 16

JAL — Like Woodruff, Gilbreath was making his head-coaching debut.

And like Woodruff, Gilbreath felt the same as he has for any other game in which he’s previoulsy taken part, be it player or assistant coach.

I’ve coached a lot of football games,” he said. “I’m a very competitive person. As a head coach it’s no different. We’re going out to do the best we can do and win the game. I was excited not so much for myself, but for our program and for our coaches.”

Helping leading the charge was sophomore Cade Collins, who scored three short-yardage rushing touchdowns.

“We have a package that’s kind of a smash-mouth style of offense,” Gilbreath said, “and he’s our quarterback in that, and he had three touchdowns in that package.”

Defensively, junior Josh Myers and sophomore Brennen Davis stood out, each recording 16 tackles and a fumble recovery. Davis also caused a fumble.

Anders Nelson and Manuel Lopez reeled in one touchdown catch apiece. And quarterback Ben Loewen had a 45-yard run to set up one of Texico’s touchdowns.

Overall, a worthwhile journey to Jal.

“It was a great trip for our football program,” Gilbreath said. “We got to spend a lot of time together and maybe bond a little bit and go through some adversity and come out with a win.”


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