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

Devils pull upset in six-man title game

 

November 10, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Springer-Maxwell defender Wesley Jeffrey tries to get a hand on Elida junior Teagan Burton in the first quarter of Saturday's six-man championship at Elida High School. The third-seeded Red Devils topped Elida 29-26.

ELIDA — Certainly not the result Elida’s football team hoped for, but a successful season nonetheless.

Elida came into Saturday’s state 6-man championship game as the No. 1 seed against No. 2 Springer-Maxwell, but out of it with red runners-up trophy after falling just shy 29-26 at Elida High School.

Despite having hammered the Red Devils during the regular season, Elida played behind in most of Saturday’s game and was denied a state title.

“People saw the scores all season and expected us to win big,” Elida’s first-year head coach Jereme Woodruff said. “But it’s hard to beat people. ... Last time (Springer) didn’t necessarily play any worse, they just executed better (on Saturday). All the credit to them.”

Due credit indeed, especially since Springer-Maxwell’s program was begun only last year by head coach Patricio Montoya and his top assistant Jesus Urquijo.

And especially since this year’s Springer team began with 19 players and ended with only 14.

That’s the team that went into Elida Saturday and earned a state title.

“It feels great,” said Montoya, just 26 years young. “We’re the first ones ever to bring it home in football at Springer. ... The Tigers were our only loss; we redeemed ourselves.”

Elida did take the early lead, going from its own 30 to Springer’s end zone in just 31 seconds and three plays - a 20-yard run by Will Haley, a 10-yard run by Colton Ferguson, and a 20-yard scoring run from Haley.

Tyler Belcher ran in the extra point to make it 7-0 Elida with 9:29 still to play in the first quarter.

Haley didn’t last much longer in the game, succumbing to injury, which didn’t exactly help Elida’s chances.

“When you lose a kid like Will Haley, it’s hard to replace him,” Woodruff said.

After Haley’s touchdown, Springer bounced right back with its own three-play drive, begun with a 40-yard Jose Urquijo run and ended by Gave Garcia’s two-yard scoring run.

Jeremiah Apodaca kicked the two-point conversion to give Springer an 8-7 lead with 8:25 left in the opening quarter.

Elida trailed the rest of the way.

On the first play of the second quarter, Springer scored on an eight-yard, fourth-and-three pass from Urquijo to Diego Maestas.

Apodaca passed to Garcia for the extra point, giving the Red Devils a 15-7 lead with 9:54 left in the half.

Elida notched a touchdown on its next possession, as Belcher dove in from the 1, but Ferguson was stopped short on the extra-point run, so Elida stayed behind 15-13 with 6:57 remaining in the half.

With 4:03 left before halftime, Springer’s Wesley Jeffrey scored on an eight-yard run, and Apodaca kicked the two-point conversion making it 23-13 Red Devils to close out first-half scoring with 4:03 left.

Kevin Wilson

Elida junior Johny Woodruff pulls down Springer-Maxwell quarterback Jose Urquijo in the second quarter of Saturday's game.

Elida drew to within 23-20 late in the third, when Ferguson tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Wesley Poling, and Belcher ran in the extra point with 21 seconds to go.

Elida’s defense, though, was unable to stop the Red Devils’ offense on their ensuing possession, which lasted 13 plays and ended with a 22-yard scoring pass from Urquijo to Maestas.

An extra-point pass attempt failed, but Springer had a 29-20 lead and shrunk the fourth-quarter clock down to 5:43.

That touchdown drive was huge because Elida did get a 25-yard Teagan Burton-to-Poling touchdown pass with 30 seconds left in the fourth.

As classic a case of too little too late as perhaps there ever was.

Elida had a memorable season, though.

“I’ll tell ya what,” Woodruff said. “I can’t say enough about how hard these guys played all season.”

 
 

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