When Texico hosts Tularosa in a 7 p.m. Class 2A playoff semifinal today, it shapes up as the immovable object against the irresistible force.
The defending state champion Wolverines (9-1) have won primarily with a ball-control offense and a stout defense, holding their opponents to about 11 points a game. On the other hand, the Wildcats (8-2) average 38 points per outing.
Lordsburg (10-1) visits Santa Rosa (8-2) in tonight’s other semifinal. Should Texico advance, coach Ryan Autrey said the Wolverines would be at home against either of those team’s in next week’s final.
Meantime, the Melrose Buffaloes will go for their second consecutive 8-man title in a 7 p.m. kickoff today at Tatum.
Texico has scored more than 28 points in only two games this season, while Tularosa has scored less than 28 just twice — a 28-21 loss to Class 3A playoff qualifier Hatch Valley and a 27-23 win over then-No. 1 District 3-2A rival Lordsburg.
“They’re a lot like Estancia — they like to spread their offense,” Wolverines coach Ryan Autrey said. “Their quarterback (senior Joseph Silva) runs better than Estancia’s quarterback, though.”
Tularosa’s other loss came at the hands of Estancia, a 48-35 decision on Sept. 25. Meantime, the Wolverines have a pair of victories over their District 2-2A rivals, including a 21-7 quarterfinal win over the Bears last week.
Autrey said the Wolverines’ defense will be put to the test.
“They’ve got some great athletes,” he said. “It’s going to be another dogfight.
“We’re going to try to control the ball again. If we can keep their offense off the field, they shouldn’t be able to score on us.”
Autrey said the Wolverines played a solid game on defense last week against Estancia.
“I felt like our secondary made a big improvement from the first time we played them,” he said. “To hold them to seven points, I thought they did a great job.”
Melrose at Tatum — The Buffs (12-0), winners of 25 games in a row, have won every game this season by at least 44 points — including a 44-0 win at home over Tatum in September — and should be a solid favorite tonight.
Still, the game is at Tatum, and that should give the Coyotes (10-1) a boost, Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said.
“They’re playing on emotion off the girls’ (Class 1A volleyball) state championship (last weekend),” he said. “It’s a total school high for them right now.”
While the Buffs have crushed Gateway Christian and Mountainair by a combined 156-12 in their first two playoff games, the Coyotes come in after turning back Clovis Christian 42-26 in last week’s semifinals at Yucca Complex. Senior quarterback Logan Medlin ran for one touchdown and threw for three more against the Eagles.
“We’re not going to change up much; we’re going to go with what’s worked,” Roybal said. “It’s the state championship. If the teams aren’t ready to play, then they don’t deserve to be there.”