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

Tigers ready for semifinals


October 30, 2019

On paper, things are looking good for the Elida Tigers in their bid to claim a 6-man state football championship. After all, they’ve beaten the other five teams in the playoffs, each by at least 43 points.

Still, coach Jereme Woodruff knows the game isn’t played on paper as his top-seeded squad prepares to host fourth seed Hondo (6-4) in a 7 p.m. semifinal matchup on Friday.

In the other semifinal, slated for Saturday, third-seeded and defending champion Animas visits second-seeded Springer-Maxwell. The Tigers lost at Animas in last year’s title clash.

The championship game will be at 1 p.m. on Nov. 9 — and Elida, if it gets past Hondo, would host either potential opponent.

Woodruff scouted the Eagles in Saturday’s first-round 53-7 rout of Vaughn, and said he’s ready for anything.

“They’re still healthy,” Woodruff said Monday. “(Hondo) coach (Brandon) Devine is a good coach. He’s won three state championships, and a couple of times they beat teams that had beaten them during the season.”

Still, all the mojo appears to be with the Tigers (8-0), who have outscored their opponents 461-49 for the season. Elida won at Hondo 60-6 in its regular-season finale on Oct. 18.

“I’m glad we’re playing at home this week and get to play in front of our fans,” he said. “They’re a really young team, but they’re real athletic. We had a couple of things break our way early the last time.

“We’ve just got to make sure we tackle well in the open field and keep them in front of us.”

Magdalena (6th seed, 6-4) at Melrose (3rd, 8-1), 7 p.m. Friday, in 8-man quarterfinal round

The Buffaloes have jockeyed with District 3 rival Tatum for the top ranking in 8-man all season, but were relegated to the No. 3 seed behind District 2 winner Menaul (8-0).

Melrose coach Casey King said the reasons were probably because of the Panthers’ district title and perfect record.

Magdalena runs a spread offense which can cause problems, King said. The Buffs pounded the Steers 64-12 earlier this season on a neutral field (Mountainair).

“They’re pretty quick,” he said. “They’ve got a quick quarterback and a couple of good receivers.

“I’m sure they’ll come out with something to try to take advantage of our weaknesses. It’s going to come down to us being disciplined against their spread and their motion. Offensively, we have to be physical with them and block well.”

The winner will face Friday’s Dora-Menaul winner in the semifinals on the weekend of Nov. 8-9.

Dora (7th, 3-4) at Menaul (2nd, 8-0), 7 p.m. Friday, in 8-man quarterfinal round

The Coyotes lost to Menaul 54-14 in their season opener, also played in Albuquerque, but Dora coach Chris Lozano said his squad was missing several starters in that one.

“We’re real excited to get a chance to play them again with a full squad,” he said. “I think we’ll be better prepared.”

Dora is coming off a 50-0 loss last Friday at Tatum, the top seed in the eight-team field.

The Panthers rely heavily on 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior quarterback Cody Leslie and senior running back Benjamin Morales. Their top receiver, Lozano said, is junior Miguel Rios.

One thing which could hurt Menaul is its lack of depth. The Panthers field a squad of just 11 players.

“We’ll have to execute on offense, and contain (Leslie and Morales) on defense,” Lozano said. “In the playoffs, anything can happen.”

Farwell (6-2, 3-0 Texas Class 2A Division II Region 1 District 2) at Bovina (4-4, 2-1)

The Steers and Mustangs renew their Parmer County rivalry in a game which has gone back and forth in recent seasons.

Farwell is trying to not look ahead to next week’s regular-season finale at home against unbeaten Sudan (8-0, 3-0), which could be for all the marbles in the district. Steers coach Jhett Norman said the rivalry factor is helping his team stay on schedule.

“I think if it was another team, it might be (a concern),” he said. “But we went out (Monday) and had a good practice, so I think the kids are focused.”

Even though they cruised past winless Plains 48-7 last Friday, Norman said the Steers’ performance left a little something to be desired.

“We had three fumbled snaps and lost two of them,” he said. “But I want to say our offensive line played probably the best game they’ve played all year.”

Bovina, coming off an 18-13 win over Seagraves, relies heavily on junior quarterback Cole Emery, son of Mustangs coach Cody Emery.

“They want the ball in his hands as much as possible, either running or throwing,” Norman said. “We have to contain him and get pressure on him. Not letting him extend plays is probably the main key.”


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