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

Area preview: Games getting crucial


September 25, 2019

It’s not just any weekend for the local football slate, it’s the last weekend of September. A milepost signaling that football season is heading into a critical stage, the games getting all the more crucial.

Here’s a glance:

Lake Arthur (2-3, 0-1) at Floyd (0-3, 0-1), 1 p.m. Friday

The first game of the weekend is this Friday-afternoon tilt which has the Broncos still searching for their first victory.

They play a Lake Arthur team that has had its own struggles, and they get that team at home, which never hurts.

Though the Broncos are coming off a shutout loss to Elida, they played hard in that game against one of the best six-man teams in the state, holding the normally run-happy Tigers to under 50 rushing yards.

Floyd head coach Todd Horton liked what he saw.

“I believe that our players are growing each and every week,” he said. “We are playing hard, running sideline to sideline, and we tackled well. However, we also understand how much more growth we need in order to play competitive football. The kids are busting their tails in the weight room and are getting stronger each week.”

Can that hard work translate into victory Friday?

“Lake Arthur will be a challenge for us,” Horton said. “They are a very quick team and we are not a team with a lot of speed. That has been the toughest challenge for us this season. Six-man football is a game where speed is a great weapon. However, if we can eliminate mistakes, score points with a physical offense, and continue to tackle well, we believe a win is possible.”

Dimmitt (1-4) at Farwell (2-2), 7 p.m. CDT Friday

To say the Steers come into this Friday’s game with momentum could be understating it.

Trailing Texico 28-13 at halftime last weekend, Farwell rallied for a 29-28 victory. The Steers returned to .500 in the process and are hoping to keep it going this week by earning a winning record for the first time this season.

Dimmitt could make it tough, despite its own record.

“They like to throw the football around,” Farwell head coach Jhett Norman said. “I know we’ve got to get some pressure on the quarterback. I think our kids are feeling good, but we’ve been struck by the injury bug.”

Those injuries made Farwell start five freshmen and three sophomores on defense last Friday against Texico. After a rough first half, they made adjustments and shut out the Wolverines after halftime.

“Gaining their confidence has been really key,” Norman said of the younger players, “and now they believe that they can do it.”

Among the injured Steers is junior Jose Rodriguez, whose absence affects every aspect of the game. He’s a wide receiver, free safety, punter, handles kickoffs and extra points.

“Learning to play without him has been good for us,” Norman said. “He’s kind of the leader of the team. There was a bit of a question, ‘Can we do this without him?’ And I think we’re learning that we can, but we sure want him back as quick a we can.”

Logan (2-2) at Melrose

(4-0), 7 p.m. Friday

There’s only one undefeated local team playing this weekend and it wears maroon.

Melrose will try to go 5-0 this Friday when Logan comes to town. Things are going well for the Buffaloes, who haven’t scored less than 42 points this season, nor allowed more than 14. But that doesn’t mean Logan will be easy to beat.

“(We) have to slow down their spread offense,” Melrose head coach Caleb King said. “They have some quick outside guys, and we have to keep them covered. We also have to make sure we do a good job with our blocking assignments and be efficient in the run game. If we do those two things, we should be successful Friday.”

Texico (2-3) at Eunice (4-1), 7 p.m. Friday

At Farwell last weekend, the Wolverines seemed on their way to climbing above .500 for the first time since Week 1.

But the Steers’ second-half comeback foiled that. Texico will try this Friday to return to .500, but a super-tough Eunice team stands in the way.

“Eunice is a very good program,” Wolverines head coach Bob Gilbreath said. “They have a very good team, they have some outstanding athletes, they’re very well-coached. It’ll be a good test for us . I think we’ll go down there and our kids will play hard. Hopefully we can make it a very competitive contest.”

Playing Farwell last week may have helped in preparing for the Cardinals.

“I think offensively they’re similar in some ways to Eunice in their spread formations,” Gilbreath said, “and provided us an opportunity to see some of our weaknesses.”

Gateway Christian (1-2) at Dora (1-1), 7 p.m. Friday

The Coyotes earned their first victory of 2019 when thrashing Pine Hill 66-0 last weekend.

“We were extremely motivated coming into the game and it showed from the start,” Dora head coach Chris Lozano said. “The win was well-deserved for the work we put into it, and it gave us something to build off of for next week.”

Now they’ll try to keep it rolling, win two in a row when they host a solid Gateway team.

“Gateway Christian has hit a few bumps in the road starting out this season,” Lozano said, “but they are a well-coached team that will be ready Friday. We need to play fundamentally sound football for four quarters to get a victory.”

Bye for Elida

The Tigers have won their first five games this season. And they automatically move to 6-0, 2-0 district, because this week’s scheduled opponent, Roy/Mosquero, had to cancel its season.

The forfeit moves Elida’s championship quest right along, not what the Tigers would’ve liked for Week 6, but right along nonetheless.

An unexpected bye week will help. A break for football teams usually does.

“It’s some time to rest up, time to kind of refine some things,” Elida head coach Jereme Woodruff said. “It’s really a nice advantage to have two weeks to prepare for a team versus just one, so we’re looking forward to that. ... It’s nice to have the extra time, nice to have a week off where we’re not getting banged up.”


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