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Area football preview: Competition amps up

Elida, Texico expect tougher battles in Week 2


August 28, 2019

It’s Week 2 already for some teams. Week 1 for Farwell.

The teams in the former category — Texico and Elida — are trying to go 2-0, and each face tough teams standing in their way of doing so.

Dexter (1-0) at Texico (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

A win for the Wolverines would put them at 2-0 for the first time since 2012.

That year, they started 8-0. But this year’s team will just worry about getting win No. 2 and go from there.

Heading to town for the Texico home opener is Dexter, a defending state 2A championship team that opened its 2019 season by pasting Santa Rosa 28-0 last week. Including that shutout victory, the Demons’ program is on a seven-game winning streak, having closed with six straight to end last year’s championship run.

The Wolverines are coming off their own lopsided victory, having beaten Jal 37-16 on the road last weekend.

First-year head coach Bob Gilbreath, though a Clovis High and Eastern New Mexico graduate, has spent his recent years working and coaching in Texas, so he isn’t that familiar with Dexter yet.

“I’m new to the area,” he said. “They have an outstanding program; it’s going to be a big challenge for our team. We’re just trying to work on the process of getting better as a football team. We’re going to do the best to prepare, and hopefully this game will help make us a better football team and not worry so much about the result. Just try to get better and be ready to compete Friday night.”

Farwell (0-0) at Friona (0-0), 7 p.m. CDT

It’s the season opener for both teams and Friona’s home opener, so enough said there about the game’s importance.

It’s also the first Farwell game for new head coach Jhett Norman, who succeeded Danny Brittain in that job during the offseason.

Then there’s the matter of the Steers trying to beat a team that’s given them fits in recent years. They last defeated Friona in 2016, a 35-13 win, the first of a 4-0 start for Farwell that season.

2017 brought a 28-16 win for Friona. Last year it was 27-19 Chieftans, marking the last time Farwell would lose until Thanksgiving weekend. In between, the Steers reeled off 10 consecutive wins, before falling to Stratford in the Texas 2A D2 Area round.

Animas (1-0) vs. Elida (1-0) at Cloudcroft Jr. High, Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Tigers are no stranger to Animas, their Week 2 opponent.

Elida was a 9-2 state finalist last season, and both losses occurred against Animas, the second by a 59-21 count in the Six-man state championship game.

Unlike that second matchup, Elida won’t have to travel to the other end of the state to play Animas this Saturday. The Tigers and Panthers will go claw-to-claw this weekend as they did on Labor Day weekend last year — at neutral Cloudcroft. The Tigers lost that one 54-20.

They’re obviously hoping Saturday’s game works out better, hoping to topple a defending state champion.

“It’s a huge, huge game,” Elida’s first-year head coach Jereme Woodruff said. “That game is going to, I’m not going to say set the tone for the rest of the season, but if we can come out with a win, that puts us on a surge of momentum for the rest of the season.”

Getting that charge in their schedule won’t be easy for the Tigers. They’re playing an Animas team that eats, breathes and sleeps winning.

“They don’t know what it is to lose,” Woodruff said. “These seniors, juniors have not lost a game.”

So, if Animas has been so dominant in recent years, why should Saturday be any different?

“They graduated a lot of guys,” Woodruff said, “so they don’t have the experience we have. For us to beat them we have to come out and play mistake-free football. We have to exceed their intensity and we have to execute.

“And we have to rely on our strengths,” Woodruff continued, “which is our speed and our depth. Wear ’em down, get on top of ’em hopefully with the score and just stay there. They’re not going to give up easily, if at all. They’re going to play to the last second to try to win that game, no matter what happens.”

Dora gets forfeit

This Friday was supposed to mark the start of a new era for Dora football, as Christopher Lozano was scheduled for his first game as Coyotes head coach since taking over that position from Mason McBee in the offseason.

Dora’s opponent for that momentous game was supposed to be Foothill of Albuquerque. But, according to Lozano, Foothill has canceled its entire season, so Week 1 for the Coyotes will turn into a forfeit victory and a bye week.

Dora is scheduled to play at Menaul on Sept. 13. The Coyotes’ first home game is slated for Sept. 20 against Pine Hill.

Meanwhile, fellow Eight-man competitor Melrose (1-0) is on a scheduled bye this weekend. The Buffaloes will visit Tatum on Sept. 6.


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