2022 Week 9 (Arizona & New Mexico)

2022 Week 9 (Arizona & New Mexico)

I knew early on I’d be in Arizona for Thursday and Friday this week. So, my biggest issue was finding a Saturday game. Suburban Phoenix had enough in the way of Thursday games and the obvious Friday night contests to choose from. Saturday, though? Not so much. I had thought that Lordsburg, New Mexico had a game on Saturday. It was actually for Thursday. So, I went over things and saw Las Cruces would have games on Friday night and Saturday night.

So, I decided I was going to see a game in Las Cruces. Either Friday or Saturday. But not both. And Elida, a place I had been advised to see a game at years ago by a Twitter user I’m friends with. So, as long as things worked out in Phoenix on Friday morning, I could get over to Las Cruces for the night game. And then only a 4 hour drive to Elida for their 1pm game.

First was a matter of getting to Phoenix. I took a detour to see a few sights along the way. I had missed seeing Devils Tower as a kid. So, I made sure to stop by it before heading through western Colorado and eastern Utah.

I took a bit longer getting to Utah, so I was in Monument Valley just at twilight. Was beautiful, but the enormity of the massive vista is lost some in the shadows. Still a noteworthy moment. I had been to Monument Valley twice before.

After a busy Thursday in Phoenix, I had my pick of about seven games. One was far eastern suburbs, two were far northern, a couple in Phoenix proper and one was just west of Phoenix in Tolleson.

Tolleson Union is now one of 7 high schools in their district. The incredible growth of a metropolis in the desert. In a bit of a twist, Tolleson Union’s field was named after a Pennsylvanian. Dr. Charles A. Landis is originally from PA, and attended The Hill School. He was also Superintendent of Windber before moving to Arizona and becoming Superintendent of Tolleson Union.

The team primarily just goes by Tolleson for athletic purposes. Their opponent was Shadow Ridge, the Stallions, but there’s also a Shadow Ridge in California. So, have to keep an eye on when looking them up online you don’t reverse the two.

#47 – Tolleson Union v. Shadow Ridge

The stadium now had field turf. And was in pristine shape. The game was homecoming for the Tolleson Wolverines. I got rosters from the press box and was back down on the field. The lighting was a bit dim, but the bright turf helped things. Overall, photography was pretty good here. The game was projected to be a good one. And it was. Until it wasn’t.

Tied at 6 after one, Shadow Ridge took a 20-14 lead at the half. After a lively halftime show, the two squads traded scores. Shadow Ridge clung to a 27-22 lead going into the fourth. And then it just fell apart for the home squad. Two scores, including the 4th TD by Anthony Garcia put it out of reach. The final few minutes crept off the clock. Shadow Ridge would win, 41-22.

Arizona Spotlight: Tolleson v. Shadow Ridge

After the game, I went to the food truck stationed just off the field for a Chicken Quesadilla. It was great, even for the $10 price tag. I then spent a few hours getting the photos finished up and called it a night.

On Friday morning, I had just a few things to do, and I’d make the long trip east to Las Cruces. There was the consideration I might have stopped in Deming, or even Willcox, Arizona for games that were being played. Unfortunately, with how sparse the land is between Tucson and Las Cruces, only a few towns with high schools and only two that had home games. But, mostly, I wanted to be close enough to make the drive to Elida at a reasonable time on Saturday morning.

I made great time, and got to New Mexico shortly after two. Just two hours later I was in Las Cruces. I missed the welcome sign. I failed to realize just how far away from the ‘city’ where the city limits are. Being a very busy road of Interstate 10 just west of the city, I wasn’t able to stop for the photo. And realized the full round trip to the next exit to turn around and come back would be almost 20 miles. So, I stopped at the rest area on the top of the hill, overlooking the City of Crosses, and got the photo of the Junk Bird, aka the Recycled Roadrunner:

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

I stopped for food. Though nothing fancy. Just fast food. Went over to the stadium to get situated for the game. Much bigger stadium than Thursday.

#48 – Las Cruces Mayfield v. Roswell

Las Cruces has four high schools. The oldest being Las Cruces founded in 1918. Mayfield was founded in 1965, named for a former Superintendent. Centennial was founded in 2012. The interesting story is Organ Mountain High School. It was founded in 1988 as Oñate High School. Due to the person it was named for, backlash eventually led to the name being changed last year.

Organ Mountain saw tragedy earlier this season when Abe Romero died after suffering an injury on the field and collapsing. He was in a medically induced coma, but succumbed to his injury. When I was at Hobbs, there was a moment of silence for him before their game. Tonight, Organ Mountain was also playing at Hobbs. With my Hobbs drawstring bag, I was asked at least twice the score of the Hobbs game, but was unable to find it anywhere online. Turns out, Organ Mountain barely escaped the mercy rule.

For my game, it was at the Field of Dreams. A complex built in 1999 for the burgeoning city in southern New Mexico. Seating 14,000 with abundant parking, the complex sits on the west end of town. It’s a great venue, but the turf has definitely aged poorly. The rubber pellets are prevalent and make the field look darker than it should. The lights are decent, but definitely older style and flicker in waves that only the camera picks up.

As for the play on the field, the Roswell Coyotes opened up with two long scores. A 64 yard pass to Weathersby and 68 yard pass to Estrada. Mayfield finally got one score and then the Roswell onslaught began. Twenty-Nine more points in the second quarter turned a close game into a blowout on the verge of a mercy rule finish. Roswell started the third quarter with a pick-six by Xai Carrasco. Just one score from the quick finish, Mayfield mounted a drive and scored on an acrobatic 30 yard catch. Roswell would run out the clock thanks to a chain measurement on 4th down that seemed a tad overkill for a 49-14 game late in the 4th. That would be the final.

New Mexico Spotlight: Mayfield v. Roswell

I didn’t do photos after the game, as I had a just over 4 hour drive to Elida in the morning. And I really didn’t want to be tired. Or worse, late. The only other game to see was also in Las Cruces where I had just been.

In the morning, I was out the door and ready at 7am local. A 4-plus hour drive awaited me. Being on the west end of town, I took US70 through the center of Las Cruces and out east along the northern edge of the Organ Mountains. Passing over the San Augustin Pass.

For those that have never been, the view from the pass is awe inspiring. I didn’t stop for photos but have done in the past. The view of the White Sands and the Sacramento Mountains in the distance. Alamogordo is but an idea in the distance. It’s a long 75mph drive across the White Sands Missile Range and the southeastern edge of White Sands National Park. Though I haven’t been to the park since it became a National Park. Previously being a National Monument. With one small outpost being the Border Patrol checkout. From there, it’s a quick bypass of Alamogordo and north along US54 to Tularosa where US70 cuts east again into the mountain.

US70 is a great road trip through New Mexico. You travel east while gaining 2300 feet in altitude. Cresting near Ruidoso and the horse track. Once in Chavez County, the land flattens out on the way to Roswell. Not as picturesque as White Sands, but a barren stretch of land meeting the horizon in the distance. Then, it’s following the bypass of Roswell northeast of town. I would’ve stopped, but I was taking more time than expected as Google Maps tends to have a lead foot.

Once in Roosevelt County, not much further to go. From Roswell to Elida is a scant 66 miles of mostly scrub grass, rock, and flat land. I got into town about 90 minutes before kickoff and stopped at the Allsups for lunch. I wasn’t sure what, if any, food would be available at the game. Six-man games tend to be hit or miss when it comes to food.

#49 – Elida v. Animas

The wind was really picking up prior to the game. When I arrived, I checked with the small concessions trailer, and got a candy bar and a gatorade. I would’ve gotten a hot dog, but they weren’t ready yet. So, I was glad I had stopped before the game. There was a distant chance of getting to another game that evening. But, that would’ve meant foregoing food anywhere outside of a gas station.

I checked out the field some, got some photos of warmups. The cheerleaders were prepping for the game. Officials discussing with the coaches at midfield. And a young kid came up to me to tell me the hot dogs were ready. Definitely great service here in Elida. So, even though I was kinda full from the Snickers, I got a hot dog. it was well worth the $2 price.

One thing I hadn’t considered was that the name I had found online might not have been the name. My friend Bob at Stadium Connections had it listed as Elida Tiger Field. Which, I know from past discussions with him, if a name is lacking from his research, he goes with the school’s nickname and Field or Stadium. At the field itself, on the far end of the field to the north, is a baseball field and the gateway facing inward has ‘Acosta Field’ across the top. Though, almost everyone enters the field from the field’s western school side. Not sure which is correct, if either, but I decided Acosta Field makes more sense until I hear otherwise.

The game started with numbers that even some Pennsylvania or Ohio teams struggle to reach for 11-man. 17 on the roster for Animas, while Elida had 16 listed. The stands for the home side were portable bleachers. With others using lawn chairs along the cinder track encompassing the 80×40 yard field. The scoreboard squats just above the grass in the northeast corner. Trees line the east and southern edges of the field. Giving a nice break from the open expanses in all directions typical of the locale.

Animas opened the game with some quick footwork by Edel Molinar, taking a 23-21 first quarter lead. The second quarter was all Elida. The Tigers rattled off four touchdowns. While Animas was shutout. While Elida saw scores by a few others such as Seth Jimenez and Dalyn Taylor, Mason Pritchett was the go-to runner. Getting six touchdowns on the day. Including the penultimate score late in the third quarter. Animas had been struggling to keep up, but the loss of Molinar due to a lower leg injury completely wiped out their ability to keep pace. After a defensive stop deep in the Animas territory, Elida’s Cason Norman would score one final touchdown on the day, a short run I missed the yardage on as it ended the game. With 7:17 (ignore the typo in the tweet) left in the game, Elida won, 81-29 over Animas. A thoroughly enjoyable day and weekend of football.

Six-Man Spotlight: Elida v. Animas from New Mexico

But the weekend wasn’t over yet. There was a very slight chance I could make the drive east to Lubbock for a Saturday night affair at Trinity Christian’s Archie Warwick Memorial Stadium. I had been there weeks earlier. Kingdom Prep, the Warriors, had hosted Abilene Christian. On this night, Kingdom Prep was hosting Holy Cross from Midland. And it was a chance. But, a few factors weighed on my decision. I didn’t want to make the two hour drive at breakneck pace at the hopes I’d make the game in time. With the early finish, I had time. But I also knew virtually nothing of the matchup and how it might turn out.

And, I had already been there previously. So, I decided to pass on it. Which turned out good, because the drive would’ve only netted me one half of football. As Kingdom Prep would win, 52-6 via the Texas 45-point mercy rule. So, I was glad. Instead, I took a small jaunt east to Dora and down to Tatum. Before returning to Plains. A city in west Texas I’ve been to far too often.

It was a fun week of football. And then the Browns lost yet again.


2022 HSF Wk 9 Arizona

2022 HSF Wk 9 Arizona

2022 HSF Wk 9 Arizona

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 New Mexico

2022 HSF Wk 9 Roadtrippin


Total cost for the weekend was just $145. Since the rest of the cost was work related. Most of that was food over the three days plus some miscellaneous costs.

For the games, all six teams were new. Bringing my new total up to 1,455 different teams. Also, all three stadiums were new. I’m now at 49 games on the season in 11 different states.

Next Week

I’m in Texas for a bit. So, might be here this weekend. I’d like to get back to North Dakota once again. But their schedule is getting limited. As is South Dakota. But, whether it’s one game, two games, or even four games. I’ll have a good time regardless.

2022 Statistics

49 Games
96 Teams
30 Stadiums
11 States

58 New Teams
21 New Stadiums

1,455 different teams
464 different stadiums

1,322 total games

For more, and larger, photos from this weekend, click HERE.

For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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