No. 5 Texico (5-4) at No. 4 Estancia (6-4)
7 p.m. today
• Last meeting: Met twice in 2009, with Texico winning 28-24 in the regular season and 21-7 in state quarterfinals.
• Last week: Both teams were off.
• Outlook: Estancia likes to throw out of a spread formation, led by senior QB Destry Oberg. His favorite receivers are junior Nick Guardiola and freshman Josh Jaquez. Texico counters with a ground game led by senior QB Jose Posada and sophomore RB Shay Harrison. “They attack the flats well,” second-year Texico coach Ryan Autrey said. “If you take the outside away, they’ll attack the middle of the field.”
• Of note: Senior DE/TE Lucas Walthers and senior WR/DB Kolten Miller join Posada as leaders for the Wolverines, who start six sophomores on offense and defense. … Estancia’s losses are to Tularosa (46-26) and Santa Rosa (56-22), the top two seeds in Class 2A, and 3A schools Hope Christian (35-18) and Hatch Valley (27-13). … Texico is 1-1 against teams in the Class 2A playoffs, beating No. 6 Tucumcari 22-21 and losing to Santa Rosa (47-7). Estancia is 2-2 against 2A playoff teams.
• Coach’s comment: “We’ve got to sustain our drives, and when we’ve got a chance to score, we’ve got to put points on the board.” — Autrey
No. 3 Escalante (8-3) at No. 2 Fort Sumner (9-1)
7 p.m. today
• Last meeting: 2010, Fort Sumner beat the Lobos 42-0 during the regular season.
• Last week: Escalante beat Capitan 40-12 in the first round of the six-team playoff. Fort Sumner had a bye.
• Outlook: Lobos players to watch include junior RB Isaiah Maldonado and senior WR Eric Belser. On defense, the Lobos will likely crowd the line of scrimmage to try and take away the Foxes’ running game. Fort Sumner has a balanced attack led senior RB Blake Crenshaw and junior RB Skylar McMath.
• Of note: In the first meeting, Fort Sumner took a 14-0 halftime lead, then pulled away in the third quarter with the aid of a blocked punt, a fumble and a failed fourth-down conversion. ... The Foxes is making its 18th straight playoff appearance — they have reached the semifinals 17 times, winning nine titles during that span, including four in a row from 2005-08. ... Escalante has made the playoffs 11 times since 1995, but lost in the first round each time until last week.
• Coach’s comment: “After the way they’ve played the last two weeks, they have the confidence that they belong with the top teams in the state.” — Fort Sumner Matt Moyer, on the Lobos.
No. 3 Gateway Christian (8-3) at No. 2 Melrose (7-3)
7 p.m. today
• Last meeting: 2010, Melrose rallied from a 12-0 first-quarter deficit to beat the Warriors 42-26 three weeks ago during district play
• Last week: Gateway beat Manual 44-0 in the first round of the six-team playoff. Melrose had a bye.
• Outlook: The Warriors are led by junior QB Mason Miller, with sophomore David Nunez and senior Austin Wolf his favorite receivers. “They like to spread you out and get you in one-on-one situations,” Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said. “(Miller) throws the ball well. We have to get pressure on him.” … The two-time defending state champions Buffaloes have battled injuries all year, but appear to be getting healthy at the right time. “We’re as healthy as we’ve been all year. I’m excited to see what we can do with the whole team,” Roybal said. Junior RB Lance Widner appears finally healed from a muscle tear he suffered on the second play of the season, while sophomore DB/RB Daylan Dial will suit up for the first time. He injured his shoulder during basketball season and again in track. “I’ve always hated having an open week, but it came at the right time this year,” Roybal said.
• Of note: Gateway (2006) and Melrose (2008, 2009) have combined to win three of the first four titles since 8-man was created five years ago. ... Two of Melrose’s three losses have been to teams that did not make the playoffs — Animas and Tatum. “That says a lot about our inconsistency and injuries,” Roybal said. … The Animas loss (28-24) in Week 2 of the season ended Melrose’s 27-game win streak.
Class 1A Division II
Bovina (5-5) vs. Smyer (5-5)
6:30 p.m. (MST) today in Sudan
• How they got here: Bovina finished third in District 3 behind Farwell and Springlake-Earth. Smyer finished second in District 4 behind unbeaten Plains.
• Last week: Bovina beat Nazareth 56-0. Smyer beat Morton 33-21.
• Outlook: Bovina coach Hector Guevara said the Bobcats are big, have a balanced offense with a “good-looking” quarterback who’s a dual threat as a runner and passer. The Mustangs counter with a power running game led by senior Desmond Fox (119 ypg). “I think we match up with them pretty well,” Guevara said. “Speed-wise, I think we have the fastest guy on the field (Fox). We’re going to run the ball, that’s what we do best.”
• Of note: Bovina is making its fifth playoff appearance in six years under Guevara, but hasn’t made it out of the first round. Last year, the Mustangs lost to the state’s top-ranked team, Wellington, and three other times they lost to highly-regarded Quanah. “We’ve faced some tough teams every year,” Guevara said. “This is a great opportunity to win our first playoff game. The kids are real anxious. We just need to focus on what we need to do.” ... The Bobcats are in the postseason for the first time in 11-man. Smyer’s last playoff season was as a six-man program in 1993 when it lost to Dell City in the regional quarterfinals. ... After a mid-season swoon that included five straight losses, the Mustangs have won their last two. “Our confidence level is back to where it was earlier this season. It speaks a lot for the kids. It would have been real easy for the kids to give up,” Guevara said.
— Compiled by Rick White