Chiefs win Otero County battle

By Todd Fuqua

When one looks at the schedule Mescalero’s eight man football team has played, their 4-4 record doesn’t look that bad.

The Chiefs’ latest victory came Oct. 16, a 56-14 decision at Cloudcroft.

“Week by week they’ve improved, and they bought into the program real well,” said Mescalero coach Leonard Velasquez. “They’re doing their job and seeing how successful it is. It’s real easy to coach kids that are willing to do the work to be successful.”

Mescalero (4-4, 2-1 District 3) came in as somewhat of an underdog, at least that’s how the Bears seemed to view the game.

“I changed the defense a bit to stop their double wing set,” Velasquez said. “We also ran the ball well. They may have been looking past us a little bit, but we haven’t looked past anyone yet. We just go week to week and try our best.”

A majority of the scoring came in the first half, including both touchdowns for the Bears (3-4, 1-1).

Mescalero has an outside shot at a playoff spot, even with a .500 record. They’ve played an extremely difficult schedule, with losses to Dora, Melrose and Gateway Christian.

Things don’t get any easier in the next two weeks, with away games at Logan and Magdalena.

All five of those schools, in Velasquez’s mind, are already in the playoffs. Jemez Valley and Ramah are battling for the title in District 1 and another spot, meaning two spots are up for grabs.

“It should be between us, Carrizozo and Tatum,” Velasquez said. “We just need to win one of the next two to secure it.”

Still, the spots are determined by an NMAA selection committee..

“You really never know what will happen,” Velasquez said. “But even being considered is good for our kids.”


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