By Greg Price: CNJ Sports Writer
Clovis assistant coach Darren Kelley was not a big fan of the state’s two-year-old playoff system even before learning Saturday the Wildcats were seeded fourth in the Class 5A state playoff pairings.
“The committee as a whole is joke,” said Kelley, who felt the Wildcats should have been seeded higher. “The human part of (the selection) messed it up.”
Defending state champion and unbeaten Mayfield (10-0) earned the top seed in the 12-team playoffs that were delayed a week by a lawsuit filed by the parents of Las Cruces High players.
Once beaten Highland (9-1) earned the second seed followed by Alamogordo (8-2), which finished second to Mayfield in District 3-5A.
The top four seeds receive first-round byes.
The New Mexico Activities Association switched to a seeding system two years. The top two teams in each district and two at-large teams qualify for the playoffs.
Clovis (7-3) will host the winner of a first-round matchup between No. 5 Sandia (9-1) and No. 12 Gallup (5-5) in two weeks.
Kelley pointed out Clovis went 5-1 against Class 5A teams ranked in the Top 10 this season, losing only to Mayfield. The Cats’ other losses came against Palo Duro High of Amarillo and Class 4A top seed Artesia.
Highland’s only loss was to was fifth-seeded Sandia in its season opener. The Hornets went 4-1 against teams in the playoffs.
Alamogordo went 1-2 against teams in the bracket, with its sole win coming against 10th-seeded Hobbs.
“It should’ve never been delayed in the first place,” Kelley said. “Now we can get on with it and not mess up everyone else like (sports like) basketball.”
Associated director of football for the NMAA Mario Martinez said the selection committee, which is made up of six athletic directors from around the state, voted together on the seedings.
“I think (the selection committee) has brought excitement to each sport,” Martinez said.
Martinez added it was not up to the NMAA to switch to a seeding selection committee.
“It’s the majority of the school’s choice to have the selection process,” he said. “The best team is going to be state champion regardless of the system.”
The seedings were announced after the state education secretary ruled in favor of the NMAA and against the parents of 19 Las Cruces players, who claimed the NMAA did give them proper due process in their appeals process.