Texico’s John Nate Williams pressures Springer QB Matt Tafoya during last week’s quarterfinal game in Texico. CNJ photo by Rick White.
All season long, the Texico Wolverines were gearing toward a possible third consecutive meeting against rival Fort Sumner in the Class 1A state championship game.
But the two-time defending state champion Foxes were upset at home in last week’s quarterfinals.
It might have been a bigger deal, the Wolverines say, except they’re still trying to get to the throne room themselves.
“I don’t think there’s any letdown,” Texico coach Mike Prokop said as top-ranked Wolverines (9-0) prepare to face Cloudcroft (4-7) in a 2 p.m. semifinal game on Saturday in Texico. “Like I tell our kids, you can only take care of yourselves. (Fort Sumner isn’t) in the playoffs now, so we have to worry about Cloudcroft, Capitan and Loving.”
Junior quarterback-linebacker Braden Vaughan said it’s time to move on after Fort Sumner’s loss.
“A state championship is a state championship, no matter what,” he said. “That’s been our goal all season.”
Capitan takes on the Falcons in the other semifinal game, set for 6 p.m. Saturday in Artesia. If Texico advances, the championship will be played at either Texico (if Capitan wins) or Loving, likely on Nov. 22.
Cloudcroft has a relatively young team, with good size in the line and “fair speed,” Prokop said.
The Bears fell to 0-5 after a 53-0 loss at Fort Sumner in late September, but they’ve turned their season around by winning three in a row, including a 35-0 quarterfinal-round blanking of Escalante.
“They run a no-huddle offense, so that’ll be kind of different,” Vaughan said. “We’ve got to take it like we take every other game — you can’t be looking ahead, because that’s when you get in trouble.”
Vaughan said the Bears run some counter-traps and operate out of a shotgun formation at times, essentially trying to take what a defense gives them.
If form holds, the Wolverines may be headed for a rematch with Loving, whom they whitewashed 33-0 in their district opener. The Falcons beat Capitan soundly during the regular season.
And Vaughan assures that the coaches won’t allow a letdown.
“They don’t let us take anybody lightly, that’s for sure,” he said. “They make sure we give 110 percent each game, no matter who we’re playing.”
Cloudcroft (4-7) at Texico (9-0)
What: Class 1A semifinals
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Cloudcroft players to watch: T.J. Blette, Sr., RB-LB; Ryan Scott, Sr., WR-S; Tracy Naugle, Sr., G-DT.
Quotable: “It’s a little bit of a letdown, but there’s still four good teams left. It’s disappointing, but that’s the way it goes.” — Texico coach Mike Prokop, whose squad had anticipated the possibility of a third consecutive championship game matchup against rival Fort Sumner. The two-time champion Foxes were upended by Loving 7-0 at home last week