Wildcats hold at No. 3, Portales at No. 1 days before big game
As the Lovington football team prepares for this Friday’s big district showdown against Portales, the Wildcats do so with added motivation.
Yes, the winner of Friday’s game at Lovington High School’s Brian Urlacher Field (7 p.m.) will win the District 4/6-4A championship, as both teams are 2-0 in district play with just this one to go in the regular season. The ’Cats are reigning district champions and don’t want to hand the title over to Portales.
But, there are also higher stakes because Portales (9-0 overall) remains atop the state 4A Maxpreps rankings this week, with Lovington (6-3) staying at No. 3, same as last week.
So it seems an almost certainty that the winner of Friday’s game will be seeded No. 1 in the upcoming state tournament, with those seedings due out this weekend and the playoffs scheduled to begin the following weekend.
Also holding steady from last week is defending state champion Bloomfield (9-0) at No. 2. The Bobcats may have a chance at the No. 1 seed, but it stands to reason that if Portales, already No. 1, wins Friday then the Rams will stay at No. 1, and if the Wildcats beat the No. 1 team on Friday then they will leap-frog to No. 1. Portales, in fact, made a 3-to-1 jump in last week’s rankings without even beating the No. 1 seed, which was Bloomfield at the time.
So, although it won’t be official until the state seedings are released in a few days, Friday seems to be for all the late-season marbles – No. 1 state seed along with the district championship.
Rounding out the top five in 4A are Silver (7-2) at No. 4 and Aztec (5-4) at No. 5. The remaining top 10 are: 6) Bernalillo (6-3), 7) Albuquerque Academy (5-4), 8) St. Pius X (4-5), 9) Espanola Valley (6-3), and 10) Grants (5-4).
In 2A, the top five stayed exactly the same from last week, with Texico (7-2) holding at No. 1, Eunice (8-2) at No. 2, Santa Rosa (8-1) at No. 3, Jal (6-3) at No. 4, and Tularosa (6-3) at No. 5.
The Cardinals have completed their regular season, so they won’t play again until the state 2A quarterfinal round the weekend of Nov. 3-4. The Panthers will conclude their regular season this Friday (7 p.m.) at Hagerman (1-8).
Ranked 6 through 10 in 2A are: 6) Loving (6-2), 7) Estancia (3-6), 8) Escalante (4-6), 9) McCurdy (6-3), and 10) Mescalero Apache (4-5).
For the second straight week, Hobbs (4-5) is coming off a bye, but remained at No. 9 in 6A. The Eagles hammered Organ Mountain 58-10 last Friday, dropping the Knights to 0-9. Hobbs concludes its regular season this Friday against Carlsbad (2-7) at Hobbs High School’s Watson Memorial Stadium (7 p.m.).
Ranked 1 through 8 ahead of Hobbs in 6A are: 1) Cleveland (6-3), 2) La Cueva (6-3), 3) Centennial (6-2), 4) Los Lunas (7-2), 5) Volcano Vista (6-3), 6) Las Cruces (5-4), 7) Sandia (7-2), and 8) Rio Rancho (7-2). Farmington (5-4) rounds out the top 10, sliding in at No. 10.
The 8-Man teams are already up to their state tournament, which begins this weekend. Tatum (5-5) is seeded eighth in the 8-Man bracket and will visit No. 1 Melrose (9-1) this Friday, beginning at 7 p.m. When last these teams met on Sept. 22, the Buffaloes stampeded the Coyotes 50-0, so the latter is obviously hoping to do a little script-flipping on Friday.
The winner of Friday’s Tatum-Melrose game will play the winner between fourth-seeded Logan (7-3) and fifth-seeded Fort Sumner-House (5-2).
The other 8-Man matchups are: sixth-seeded Menaul (6-3) against third-seeded Mesilla Valley Christian School (7-2), and seventh-seeded Clayton (5-5) against second-seeded Legacy Academy (7-1).
In the overall state rankings, Lovington held steady at No. 13 after dropping from eighth three weeks ago to 11th two weeks ago to 13th last week.
For the second week in a row, Hobbs is right behind the Wildcats at 14th overall.
Eunice, after prevailing 35-28 against Loving last Friday, continued its ascent up the overall state ladder this week. The Cardinals are 24th this week, after being ranked 25th last week, 28th two weeks ago, and 31st three weeks ago.
Jal remains at No. 42 this week.
The overall state top 12 ahead of Lovington are: 1) Roswell (9-0), 2) Artesia (8-1), 3) Cleveland, 4) La Cueva, 5) Centennial, 6) Portales, 7) Los Lunas, 8) Volcano Vista, 9) Bloomfield, 10) Las Cruces, 11) Sandia, and Rio Rancho.
After Lovington and Hobbs, Farmington rounds out the overall top 15.