LAS CRUCES – The image of the high school football playoffs is slowly taking shape.
In Class 6A, District 3/4, Las Cruces and Centennial both set 2-0 league records and are aiming for an epic collision in the Field of Dreams on Thursday. The game was rescheduled from Saturday due to the ongoing lack of referees in New Mexico.
Organ Mountain, meanwhile, is still 1-0 in the district, but scores in a competitive game against Hobbs on Saturday afternoon for his playoff hopes. And Mayfield, Las Cruces’ only 5A school, won a potentially season-changing 20-13 win over Goddard on Friday night.
Here’s what we learned from last week of high school football:
Las Cruces and Centennial meet in the powerhouse showdown
Let’s not avoid the bush. Thursday’s game between the Bulldawgs and Hawks is arguably the biggest regular season game to be played at the Field of Dreams in 2021.
Both schools start 2-0 in the district game after Hobbs’s Las Cruces squeaks and Centennial rolled past Carlsbad on Friday. And with only a week left before the playoffs, if neither school causes a massive meltdown in the final week of the season, Thursday’s game will most likely decide the district championship. Las Cruces faces Organ Mountain in the final and Centennial faces Hobbs the following week.
If you judge the schools on the basis of their performance against mutual opponents, Las Cruces and Centennial seem to be on par. The Bulldawgs lost to Cleveland at 35; the Hawks lost at 28. Las Cruces beat Mayfield at 21; Centennial won at 33. And Centennial beat Carlsbad at 35 while Las Cruces won at 29 (although the Bulldawgs could have won at 35 if it hadn’t been for a touchdown at Carlsbad).
More:High School Football: Season Trackers
Like I said last week, grab your popcorn for this.
Mayfield Magic or a one-off performance?
Mayfield head coach Michael Bradley didn’t hide the obvious: Mayfield needed this win.
Bradley said his team wasn’t sure they could make the playoffs earlier in the week after losing three games in a row, two to city rivals Las Cruces and Centennial, but the 4-1 win against Goddard made one dire needed confidence boost.
The Trojans have a very profitable series of games ahead of them in the district game – against winless Chaparral, 6-1 Santa Teresa and 4-3 Deming, a team that lost to Organ Mountain. Mayfield should easily be the favorite to win the district, but the Trojans could be tested early in the playoffs depending on the seed.
Time will tell if Mayfield’s comeback win turns the season.
Knights steal third win over Gadsden
A win is a win for Organ Mountain, no matter how it comes.
The Knights’ 34-29 win over Gadsden wasn’t their finest performance of the season, but it was enough to pull Organ Mountain back to .500 that year. For reference, the Knights don’t have a record of .500 or better after the first week of October since 2016, the last time the team reached the playoffs.
Organ Mountain isn’t quite out of the playoff race yet, but Saturday’s game against Hobbs has turned into a competitive game to keep the Knights’ playoff hopes alive. Otherwise, a loss to Karlovy Vary next week could be the coffin nail in Organ Mountain’s post-season ambitions.
Stephen Wagner is a sports reporter for Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be found on Twitter at @ stephenwag22 and can be reached at [email protected]