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Gateway looking to tame Mountainair

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Tonight marks the quarterfinal round of the 8-Man football playoffs and the Gateway Christian Warriors(5-3) head to Mountainair(7-1).

The Warriors are the no. 7 seed in the tournament and last week they shutout Albuquerque Menaul 50-0 in Roswell.

The Mustangs are the no. 2 seed and had last week off.

Mountainair’s lone loss this year was on Oct. 6 as the defending 8-Man state champions Melrose bucked the Mustangs 56-6.

The Mustangs and Warriors have had some common opponents this year. Mountainair played Gateway’s district foes Tatum, Cloudcroft and Mescalero Apache during the non-district portion of their schedule.

The Mustangs swept the opposition, while the Warriors went 2-1 defeating Mescalero Apache and Cloudcroft. Gateway lost to Tatum 33-19 on Oct. 13.

The winner of that game will play either Mesilla Valley Christian or Logan next week in the semi’s.

The SonBlazers are the no. 3 seed and compete in Gateway’s district, while Logan is the no. 11 seed. They upset the no. 6 seed Foothill last week 40-38. The game is set to start at 1 p.m. Saturday in Las Cruces.

The other side of the bracket has no. 1 Melrose hosting Cloudcroft tonight at 7 p.m. The Bears are the no. 8 team in the playoffs and last week they edged another district foe of Gateway’s, Carrizozo 38-36.

Tatum, another district opponent of Gateway, takes on Dora/Elida tonight at 7 p.m. The Coyotes are the no. 5 team in the playoffs and Dora/Elida is the no. 4 seed.

Tatum was off last week and Dora/Elida took care of Pinehill 64-0.

Texico at Dexter

“I was surprised we made the playoffs at a ten seed.”

Those are the words of Texico head football coach Patrick Crowley as the Wolverines(2-8) take on Dexter(5-5) in the opening round of the 3A state football playoffs tonight at 7 p.m. in Dexter.

“We’re ecstatic,” said Dexter’s Kevin Graham. “These kids have played hard all year.”

The Demons are the no. 7 seed and the winner plays no. 2 Capitan next week.

“Our season has been one of attrition,” Crowley said. “Injuries have played a bigger role than we anticipated.”

The Demons ended the regular season last week with a 48-22 loss to Capitan and the Wolverines season ended with a win over Tucumcari.

The two teams squared off earlier in the season in Texico and the Demons shutout the Wolverines 26-0.

“They’re scrappy as heck,” Graham said.

Graham is expecting a different game tonight.

“(In the playoffs) you win or you go home,” he said. “We gotta clean some stuff up.”

Crowley has nothing but respect for the Demons.

“The scouting report on Dexter is coach Graham has them playing some good football right now,” he said.

Crowley added he has been at Texico for four years, “anytime we have played Dexter it seems you can count on a good game (and) a clean hard hitting contest where anyone can win.”

In other 3A opening round games, Newcomb who is the no. 9 seed travels to no. 8 Zuni tonight. The winner will face the top team in Eunice next week.

Cuba, the no. 12 seed heads to Raton Saturday afternoon. The Tigers are the no. 5 seed and the winner faces no. 4 Estancia next week.

Tonight, Tularosa, the no. 6 seed entertains no. 11 Tucumcari. The winner faces no. 3 Santa Rosa next week.