It is playoff time for the Mustangs, which secured a No. 5 seed in the 6-man bracket.
That means that Mountainair (5-3) will be heading back to fourth-seed Elida (5-4) tonight for a rematch with the Tigers.
The Mustangs led the regular-season game Sept. 22 by 33-32 at halftime, but then Elida came roaring back in the third quarter with three unanswered touchdowns to go up 51-33 and the game was not within a single score the rest of the way in the 64-45 loss.
Despite the score of that contest, Mountainair holds an overall scoring edge on the season, averaging 51 points a game compared to Elida’s 37-point scoring average.
Likewise, the Mustangs hold the scoring edge defensively, allowing 27 points a game compared to 30 for Elida.
Fans who don’t want to make the 215-mile drive to Elida may still be able to find room on the rooters’ bus. The $5 riders’ fee does not cover the cost of a ticket. The bus leaves the high school at 2:30 p.m.
Any sports fan knows momentum is a funny thing, but it was no laughing matter for the Pintos against Española Valley last week.
Moriarty was driving for a score trailing 6-0 late in the first half when the Pintos were stymied on a fourth-and-goal inside the five.
With about 30 seconds left, the Sundevils were able to go the length of the field, taking advantage of a blown coverage to connect on a 64-yard score that turned the game around.
“After that, in the second half, they steamrolled us,” coach Gabe Romero said. “We couldn’t stop them defensively. Offensively, we couldn’t move the ball. We talked a lot this week about momentum. We’ve had a hard time keeping momentum. It was huge momentum swing.”
The end result was a 50-0 loss that leaves Moriarty (5-4, 1-1 in District 2-4A) scrambling for its playoff lives in tonight’s regular season finale at home against Taos (3-6, 1-1).
“If we go out and take care of business, I think we can get as high, as maybe an eight seed and maybe get a home game. If we don’t win, then we’re probably right there on the bubble. We’ll either be a 12 seed or left out. It’s a big game. Right now, we’re playing for our playoff lives.”
Taos had lost four straight before beating Pojoaque Valley last week.“They’re not a bad team,” Romero said. “Defensively, they’re tough. Offensively, they’ve got some weapons. They don’t have a real good record, but our scores have been very comparable with common opponents.”
The Pintos, however, are entering the game with four key starters out due to injuries.
“I think it’s another tough game where we have to come out and play,” Romero said. “Right now, we’re pretty banged up. We’ll have a lot of new faces on the field (tonight). We’ll have to see how that goes.”
It was all about matchups for the Bears last week against Tularosa.
And that was not really a good thing.
“It was everything we thought it would be,” coach Stewart Burnett said. “We just didn’t match up well with them. The things they do well and the things they want to do are the things we struggle with the most.”
Particularly, the Wildcats like to air it out and they did at will in winning 70-22. Perhaps the only saving graces was the team battled to the end and quarterback Joshua Calhoon continued his remarkable season, piling up another 263 yards rushing with all three touchdowns. He now has amassed 2,126 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Estancia (3-6, 1-1 in District 3-2A) closes its regular season tonight with an extremely winnable game against a Capitan (1-8) squad that has lost six straight and has been outscored 197-6 over its last four games.
“Capitan is struggling,” Burnett said.
Assuming a win against the Tigers, that should leave Estancia with a likely seventh seed and a rematch against Texico, who the Bears lost to 52-22 in the season opener.
“The only thing saving our butt right now is the Escalante game that we won 40-37,” Burnett said. “That game punched our ticket. If we had not beat Escalante, we would not have any post season hopes.”