CARRIZOZO – Before the opening kickoff, things were already going off the rails in Carrizozo’s first-round eight man playoff game against Ramah, Nov. 4.
Fortunately for the Grizzlies, it was all weather related.
“That was a first for me with the weather,” said Carrizozo coach Dale Jackson. “My biggest challenge was keeping the kids warm. We had some hamstring issues and stuff like that, so we had to make sure they were warm before they got back in there.”
After a lengthy delay to the start of the game due to lightning, Carrizozo (6-3) was eventually able to turn in a 62-12 win and move on to the next round.
But it was a game filled with fitful starts and stops. After Jared Guevara started the scoring on a 23-yard run with 8:38 left in the first quarter, Ramah’s Keenan Keller equaled that effort on a 55-yard ramble.
The only difference was a failed point after try to make it an 8-6 Grizzly lead with 7:43 left.
But shortly after that, another delay forced the teams off the field again. Once they were both back on, Carrizozo was back in the endzone after three minutes on a 15-yard run by Nikko Chavez.
And then there was another delay before the Grizzlies could try the extra point.
Finally, things resumed for good and Carrizozo missed the extra point. On the ensuing kickoff, Ramah’s Joseph Landon ran it back 85 yards for the score to keep his team two points back.
That was the Mustangs’ (5-4) final score of the night, however, as Carrizozo bulldozed its way through the Ramah defense in the second quarter and were just six points away from a 50-point lead by halftime.
“We like running the ball, we like that better than throwing,” Jackson said. “The game plan pretty much stayed the same.”
After a truncated halftime, the Grizzlies came out with a vengeance, as Chavez took the ball on the first play after the third quarter kickoff, found a gaping hole in the line and ran untouched for 48 yards for the game-ending score.
Chavez had a spectacular night, scoring five touchdowns to pick up the slack of missing quarterback Garrison Ventura.
“I just continued to work with my team and do what my coach tells me. I was just playing football,” Chavez said. “We knew Ramah had some hard hitters, and I honestly expected them to play with us.”
At quarterback, Guevara accounted for five scores, including two touchdown passes to Dietrich Autrey.
“When Garrison went down, we needed our other captains to step up,” Jackson said. “(Chavez) had a great game, Clayton Swift had a great game on the lines, so did Jared.”
With the victory, Carrizozo next takes on Gateway Christian, a District 3 team that beat the Grizzlies 60-7 back on Oct. 21.
Jackson has no illusions that the game won’t be easy on his team, but he believes Carrizozo will do their best to make it a good one.
“We have some things from the last game that we think can make us a better team,” Jackson said. “We’ll go out there and maybe take advantage of their possible overconfidence. We’ll go at them with everything we have and throw the kitchen sink at them.”
Car – Jared Guevara 23 run (Chavez run), 8:38
Ram – Keenan Keller 55 run (run fail), 7:43
Car – Nikko Chavez 15 run (pass fail), 4:48
Ram – Joseph Landon 85 kickoff return (run fail), 4:40
Car – Chavez 6 run (run fail), 2:12
Car – Dietrich Autrey 44 pass from Jared Guevara (Chavez run), 11:50
Car – Guevara 18 run (run fail), 9:54
Car – Chavez 58 pass from Guevara (Austin Dennis run), 6:12
Car – Chavez 8 run (run fail), 4:58
Car – Autrey 35 pass from Guevara (Dennis run), :42
Car – Chavez 48 run, 11:11