It was a season finale for Eldorado. But was it a season finale for West Mesa?
The Mustangs’ hopes of reaching the Class 6A playoffs remained alive Thursday night, as they took care of their business in a 34-8 District 2-6A victory over Eldorado at chilly, windy, and occasionally snowy, Wilson Stadium.
The fate of West Mesa (5-5, 2-2) is now out of his hands. But the Mustangs clearly are battling with both Alamogordo and Atrisco Heritage for the final two at-large bids. Alamogordo (5-5) clinched fourth place in its district with a 7-3 home victory Thursday night against Organ Mountain.
Atrisco Heritage (5-4) closes Friday against Volcano Vista.
“We feel really good. That was a must-win, now we got a chance,” said West Mesa junior quarterback Elijah Brody, who threw three touchdown passes — on just six completions, on a very difficult night to throw — and he also ran for a score to lead the Mustangs. “We have a couple of scenarios that need to go in our favor, and if they do, we’ll get a (playoff) berth.”
The playoff bracket will be announced Saturday night.
West Mesa scored TDs on two of its first four offensive snaps, amassed a 19-0 lead in the first half, and pulled away from the Eagles after halftime.
On the second play of the game, Brody was flushed to his left, then threw on the run — into a stiff wind — to Chris Johnson near midfield. Johnson did the rest to complete a 77-yard touchdown 50 seconds into the game.
“It was good to start the game off with a big play like that,” Brody said. “Helps bring up the energy for everybody.”
After Eldorado fumbled the ensuing kickoff, the Mustangs scored again, as on a first-and-goal, Christopher Jinzo scored on a 7-yard run for a 13-0 lead.
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On the first play of the second quarter, Brody threw 5 yards to Jinzo for another score and a 19-point edge.
Eldorado got on the board just before halftime, on a 7-yard, fourth-down TD throw from Brandon Olivas to Jessie Wells.
“We showed a lot of growth tonight,” West Mesa coach Landrick Brody said. “We gave up that TD before halftime and you could sense a little bit of the wheels falling off, but we withstood that, and we came back in the second half, put a couple of drives together and it helped us close it out.”
Late in the third quarter, Brody hit a wide-open Robert Ramirez for a 29-yard score, and Brody added a 45-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“We came out, our kids were energetic, and they know what’s at stake at this point,” coach Brody said.
WEST MESA 34, ELDORADO 8
West Mesa 13 6 8 7 — 34
El Dorado 0 8 0 0 — 8
Score: WM, Chris Johnson 77 pass from Elijah Brody (Marcus Sharp kick); WM, Christopher Jinzo 7 run (kick failed); WM, Jinzo 5 pass from Brody (kick failed); E, Jessie Wells 7 pass from Brandon Olivas (Joshua Jackson run); WM, Robert Ramirez 29 pass from Brody (Brody run); WM, Brody 45 run (Elijah Espinoza kick). records: WM 5-5, 2-2 in 2-6A; E 2-8, 1-3.
First downs: WM 12; E8 Rushes yards: WM 30-226; E 23-65. passing: WM 6-18-1-181; E 10-27-0-65. Total offense: WM 407; E130 Punts avg.: WM 2-36.0; E 7-26.7. Fumbles-lost: WM 0-0; E 1-1. Penalties yards: WM 10-87; E 5-29.
SO THURSDAY NIGHT: At Milne Stadium, Albuquerque High (3-7) routed Manzano, as the Bulldogs won their final two of the season following a 55-20 victory over the Monarchs. The AHS defense registered three touchdowns, two on fumble returns and a third, a pick-6 by Jabby Cooper. Quarterback Frank Hren tossed a pair of TD passes for the Bulldogs. … At Nusenda Community Stadium, St. Pius (2-8, 1-2 in 3/5-4A) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 23-0 victory over Grants (1-9, 0-3).