2011 New Mexico (Week 5)

New Mexico (Week 5)

Well, this Friday I was in Albuquerque for the day and found two games to see. Had I stayed over the weekend, I could’ve seen two more. But, these two would be it for the weekend. My third straight week with two games.

Both games were at the Milne Stadium complex off University Blvd just west of Central New Mexico community College and northwest of the University of New Mexico sports complex, and Isotopes Park.

The First game was an 8-man contest between host Albuquerque Foothill and the Floyd Broncos. The game was played at the secondary ‘stadium’, if you could call it that. Situated southeast of the main stadium, Milne II (as the stadium is named) sits slightly higher than the main stadium. It also has very limited seating and a grass field.

Taking in a bit of exercise and saving some cab fare, I walked the three miles to the stadium and arrived a half hour before kickoff. The game had no concessions or tickets. Purely free admission.

The reason for the 2pm start time was that Foothill doesn’t have their own facilities and instead utilize Albuquerque Public School’s practice/junior varsity field. Foothill High school is run by Juvenile Justice. Hence the small school located in a city of a half million people.

The Floyd Broncos, on the other hand, come from a small eastern New Mexico town northwest of Clovis.

The stadium has seating on the northwest side only to hold about 500 spectators total. The game drew only about 50-60 fans total. Foothill suited up 14 students while Floyd had 12 dressed.

With no announcers, it was a simple game of following the referee signals and yardage markers. Foothill, the home team, wore their all white uniforms and were stationed on the far side of the field. Their team uses the new Atlanta Falcons logo in all-black on a light silver helmet with white jerseys and pants with black numerals.

Floyd wore blue and red uniforms and helmets with white curly-Q numerals. Their helmet was shiny blue with blue facemasks. A few players wore matte finish blue helmets.

The game opened with a safety by Foothill and a touchdown to make it 10-0 very early. A 27-yard run and a 60-yard punt return for two made it 24-0 after a failed conversion on the punt return.

A 62-yard pass by Floyd went for six. Foothill led 24-6 after one.

It would continue for the Falcons. After another touchdown, Foothill scored a 65-yard touchdown pass by a scrambling quarterback that was called back for holding. On fourth down, a faked punt run went for 62 for the touchdown. After a 44-yard touchdown pass with a broken tackle made it 46-6 at halftime.

At halftime, the few in the stands milled about the sideline or bathrooms trying to get shade. Foothill scored on another punt return, this time from 60 yards to make it 54-6 after three.

With 9:43 left in the fourth, Foothill scored on a 20-yard touchdown run after Floyd’s fourth turnover of the game to make it 60-6. Unbeknownst to me, this ended the game. New Mexico utilizes a 50-point mercy rule for all football games that calls the game final when the margin exceeds 50 points any time in the second half.

So, it was a bit of let down. This also left me with three hours to kill before the late game at the main stadium between Valley and Manzano.

So, I went for a walk again. This time over to the UNM sports venues and Isotopes Park. Home to the 2011 AAA Championship Game won by the Columbus Clippers, I got a little tour of the facility and snapped a few photos with my cell phone.

After that, it was across the street to University Stadium, home of the New Mexico Lobos football team. After walking around a bit, I found out that the Women’s Soccer game was about to start at 5pm at the UNM Soccer Complex directly east of the football stadium. For a grand total of $2, I got in for the game. The $7 for two waters was hardly a decent value.

The UNM Soccer/Track Complex butts up against the University Stadium’s visitors seats and are joined together at the top row allowing you access from one to the other. The game was between New Mexico and Oklahoma at 5pm. With fifteen minutes to go in the game, I left to walk the mile or so back to Milne Stadium for the high school football game.

Milne Stadium seats roughly 8,500 and one of the two stadiums owned by the Albuquerque Public Schools. The other is Wilson Stadium located behind Manzano High School. APS (as they’re called) really did build a beautiful stadium.

colored in a southwest motif, it fits into the landscape well. The visitors side is small and built as an extension of the hillside to the southeast that abuts Milne II. The homeside spans endzone to endzone with central entranceways coming from under the stands. The entranceways in the seating leads to a mid-height corridor with stairways leading down to the ground level outside. The concessions are located directly beneath the corridor area on the ground level. Restrooms are located in a small building directly behind the 50-yard-line.

The stadium uses field turf and is surrounded by an 8-lane adobe-colored track. The walkways in the stadium are in bright yellow. The scoreboard in the northwest endzone has a mediocre videoboard.

Tickets to this game were cheap. Only $4 for adults and $2 for students. There were no roster sheets or game programs for sale. No any merchandise that I could gather. This stadium is the first I had found where I could buy real burritos. For $2.50, the “El Nino” is great. Pulled pork, sauce, and potato wrapped in a tortilla. Definitely the best concession food I’ve had yet.

As for the game, the Valley Vikings came into the game at 1-2. The Vikings wore primarily all burgundy uniforms with dark yellow accents, trim, and numerals. Their logos appeared to be the Minnesota Vikings’ Vikings torso logo (not the horn helmet logo).

The Manzano Monarchs came in 4-0 and ranked #1 in the state by MaxPreps. Manzano wore white jerseys with black helmets and purple pants.

From the beginning, this wasn’t a contest. My phone was on low battery near this point, so I didn’t take many notes. But, it wasn’t necessary. After a 28-yard run and an interception returned for a touchdown, Manzano was up 14-0. Two more touchdowns made it 28-0 after the first quarter. An 87-yard run and a 49-yard quarterback sneak made it 42-0 at the half.

At the start of the second half, Manzano scored and graciously went for the kick to make it 49-0 and continue the game. A fluke touchdown by Valley on a broken play made it 49-7. Subbing in backups to get some playing time, Manzano scored once more to make it 56-7.

Playing out the string, Manzano won going away, 56-7. The Valley contingent were content to avoid getting mercy-ruled and managing to score one touchdown.

After the game, I walked the mile back to the UNM Soccer Complex to watch the last 15 minutes of the New Mexico-Loyola Marymount Men’s Soccer game, won by the Lobos, 2-0.

After the game, I walked down to ‘The Pit’, home of the UNM basketball and volleyball teams to hail a cab to avoid another three mile walk after already logging at least 6 for the day.

Now, for some insight. Manzano was good. But they wouldn’t contend in OHSAA Division I. At all. They could win Division II at best. But the style of play was more ‘put it in the fastest guys hands and see if he could score’. That works, but in OHSAA the game plan would adapt to reflect it.

Overall, my weekend in Albuquerque was fun. I got to see two high school games and see two UNM soccer games in one day. Quite the feat. Two more high school games and an UNM football game were on tap for Saturday but I couldn’t stick around for them.

As for being city schools, the venue is a beautiful football stadium located just east of I-25 and south of downtown. Great skyline views to the west and a nice ‘neighborhood’ backdrop to the northeast with trees and the hill to the east and southeast.

I would definitely considering coming back here once again for a game.

As for Albuquerque Public Schools, the attendance is a bit low in general, but decent for a city school with so many other options. Two soccer games (which UNM apparently ranks #7 nationally in attendance), a volleyball match with TCU, and another city league game going on to the northeast at Wilson Stadium.

All APS games are shown LIVE and on tape-delay at apssportscenter.com. After the game, I watched the game again, but failed to take any notes about it. With announcers, wrap-up shows, etc, it really is a marvel that Albuquerque has something like that for the football teams. It obviously must affect attendance to a certain degree. But, with $4 tickets (and buy-one-get-one offers on all Saturday games), it’s understandable why city schools do draw at least decent attendance.

For the game, I would guess at least 3,000 were on hand.

As for the 50-point mercy rule. Despite the good intentions, it really does change the game dynamics. Foothill, for instance, were aiming to go up 50 to end the game as quickly as possible. Manzano was doing their best to avoid going up 50 to continue the game for the backups. For the fans, it is a bit of a let down. In a game known to be a blowout, what interest is there to attend a game that could be over at halftime? Or for teams the concession stands may only have two or three quarters to sell their food. In the end, it doesn’t help the experience. And even more demoralizing when teams can’t even complete a game to a superior opponent. At least with the New Mexico rule, the sham that was the Des Moines North-Des Moines Lincoln game from last year wouldn’t get played out. In that game, if anyone remembers, Lincoln went up 56-0 at the half and then a running clock that never stopped for anything ran out the end of the game in roughly 27 minutes that amounted to little activity. A situation better suited to just calling the game final.

But, at least Ohio still holds off from utilizing a mercy rule.

Now, for some updates on previous teams seen around the country outside of ‘events’ or from the state of Ohio.

In Colorado this weekend, Platte Valley was coming off their bye week. Platte Valley rebounded from their 14-5 loss to Wiggins by beating Weld Central, 41-14 to even their record at 2-2. Platte Valley’s opponent, Wiggins, won via shutout, 30-0 to up their record to 3-1.

The Lamar Savages followed up their 24-23 win at Alamosa with a 48-13 drubbing at Manitou Springs. Their opponent, Kent Denver won 23-13 over Arvada Faith Christian to go up 3-1.

In Kentucky, Boone County visited Dixie Heights (who I also watched play earlier this year in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown) and lost 34-27. The Rebels are now 4-2. Their opponent, Louisville Male won over Louisville Eastern, 49-24 to go up, 2-3.

These two games were the 25th and 26th games I’ve seen this year. Still 30 shy of last years’ total. So far, 15 games in Ohio, 3 in Kentucky, 2 in Pennsylvania, 2 in Colorado, 2 in New Mexico, 1 in West Virginia, and 1 in Indiana. I’ve seen teams for 9 states and the District of Columbia. Those being Ohio (23 teams), Kentucky (7), Pennsylvania (4), West Virginia (4), Colorado (4), New Mexico (4), D.C. (1), Indiana (1), Florida (1), and Georgia (1).

I was planning on being in Ohio next weekend, but have decided I probably won’t be. Other than the Browns-Titans game, there’s not really any games I’m interested in seeing to go out of my way to be in the Buckeye State. But, we’ll see. As always, my schedule is very fluid.

And a minor note from last year. My favorite adopted team, the Memphis (TX) Cyclones won 45-27 at White Deer. White Deer trounced them 62-20 in the game I saw. Already winning two games (over Quanah and now White Deer), Memphis has doubled their win total from last year. I’d love to see another game at their stadium this year. Although there’s only three more chances.

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