Even with their 50-13 loss to Moriarty on Nov. 4, the Ruidoso Warrior football team was seeded eighth in this year’s Class 4A playoff, meaning they’ll be hosting a first round game this weekend.
That game is against Taos, this Friday, at 6 p.m. at W.D. Horton Stadium.
“We had a long two days of just watching film and getting ready for them,” said Ruidoso coach Kief Johnson of Taos. “That’s a young team, and they’ve been better as the season has progressed.”
Even though Moriarty (9-1, 3-1 District 4-4A) had a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, things could have been much different. The Warriors (5-5, 2-2) were in the Red Zone three different times in that period without scoring.
“That took the wind out of us in the first half and in the rest of the game,” Johnson said. “We should have been up. We should have scored 21 points in the first half.
“There’s no doubt about it, they are a good football team,” he added. “But I was happy with how our defense played, making them go four and out and giving our offense the ball. We just couldn’t put the ball in the endzone, just some bad ball handling on the night.”
By the time Ruidoso finally was able to score, the game had pretty much been decided.
“We were down 17-0 at halftime and we knew we could have very easily been up by at least four points and possibly even more,” Johnson said. “But they opened up the second half with a kickoff return for a touchdown. We were able to score, but we gave them some easy and cheap touchdowns.”
Even with the big loss, Johnson and the Warriors are looking forward to their playoff game against Taos. The Tigers are 6-4 and seem to be a very evenly matched squad with the Warriors.
“They’re at No. 9, and that very well could have been us,” Johnson said. “We’re fortunate they have to travel, but they’re a salty team and have some weapons. We’ve got to come out there and play some good sound defense.”
As the No. 8 seed, Ruidoso may have a home game, but a win would put them up against the top-ranked and unbeaten team in the state, Las Vegas Robertson.
The Cardinals beat Ruidoso 47-14 in the fourth week of the regular season.
“I’m really excited about that,” Johnson said. “We feel like we’re on a great side of the bracket, and if you want to be the best, you have to play the best. That’s been our motto all year long.”