NEWS & NOTES COLUMN: Eight-man football doubles in size

While the look of New Mexico football in most 11-man classes hasn’t changed much this year except for the number before the “A,” the smaller classifications — Class 2A and 8-man, in particular — will look markedly different.

Eight-man has grown from about 10 teams last season to 18 this year. Some have come down from 11-man football, others have moved up from 6-man, and at least a couple of schools in 8-man are new to the sport altogether.

Meantime, Class 2A — the old Class 1A — has dropped from 10 teams to seven.

“When you’ve got seven teams in (2A), it makes it a little more competitive to win it all (in 8-man),” Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said.

Eight-man has four districts this year, each with four or five teams. Dora, a 6-man semifinalist each of the past three seasons, has moved up to join Melrose, defending 8-man champion Gateway Christian and Tatum in District 4.

Roybal said Ramah and Magdalena, teams which dropped from the old Class 1A, should be among the challengers in 8-man.

“Gateway’s always tough,” Roybal said. “I really think Magdalena will have a decent team, and Ramah’s got a lot of kids.”
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A five-goal outing like the one Clovis High senior Ashley Gallagher had in Tuesday’s season-opening 10-0 rout of Lovington doesn’t come along that often.

The graduated Carrie Sharp did likewise last September in a 10-0 win over Ruidoso, but is that a school record? Lady Cats coach Traci Sievers isn’t sure, although she’s trying to compile records for the program which has been in existence since 1998.

“We’re in the process of compiling records,” said Sievers, who said she’s missing at least a couple of years of team stats. “We’re looking at career records too, and I think Ashley could be on the verge of a career record in assists.”

Gallagher had two assists on Tuesday, giving her 29 for her career which dates to eighth grade.
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The volleyball season gets under way locally today when Clovis Christian, playing as an NMAA independent this season, visits Lubbock Southcrest.

Clovis High opens at home on Tuesday against Amarillo Palo Duro. Most area teams will be in action by Thursday.

While Elida won all four Class B state volleyball championships — and did the same in girls basketball — Fort Sumner returned to the champion’s circle for the first time since 2008 when the Vixens beating nemesis and four-time defending champion Tatum in the Class 1A finals.

Elida will compete in the revamped Class 1A this year, with Fort Sumner in 2A.

Texico, now Class 3A, had a run of six titles in the old Class 2A (2006-11) before losing in the then-Class 2A finals to Bosque in 2012 and in the semifinals last season.

Sportswriter Dave Wagner can be reached at 763-6991 or
dwagner@cnjonline.com