RUIDOSO – The future of Ruidoso football was on display at both White Mountain Athletic Complex and W.D. Horton Stadium on Oct. 29, as the Sierra Blanca Youth Football League culminated with championship games.
Starting off the day was the final game of the Pee-Wee flag division for 5 and 6-year-olds.
While it wasn’t a championship game exactly, it did feature the Lil Warriors, who finished the season unbeaten as league champs, led by Tyson Thetford as the leading scorer.
At this level, it’s all a coach can do to instill the basics. Coach Shawn Wilson said the Lil Warriors went beyond.
“I was really happy with their passing game this year,” Wilson said. “This was a good group of kids to coach.”
Following that game was the Junior Flag Super Bowl, featuring the Cloudcroft Bears and the Florida Gators.
The Gators scored first on an 18-yard run by Wylie Cason, followed up by a two-point conversion from Memphis Cardone.
But Cloudcroft answered right back with a 55-yard run – almost the entire length of the field in flag football – by Lelan Quick. His two-point conversion tied things up at 8-all.
But by halftime, Florida had scored two more times – both on runs by Jensen Thetford with Cason scoring the extra points. They took advantage of a defensive stand and held a 24-8 lead at the break.
After a Gator interception to start the second half, Tyler Page scored from six yards out to make it 30-8.
The extra points turned out to be needed, as the Bears started finding their groove.
Quick scored twice more before the game was over, but both point after attempts were no good, and the Gators ended with a 30-20 victory.
“I’ve had several of these kids for about three years now, and we’ve always made it to this point, but we’ve never been able to finish,” said Gators coach Robert Page. “We stuck with the model we had, and I brought in coach Chad (Casson) to help out, because we had the same ideas about how we wanted the team run.
“We also had a lot of kids I called seniors, because they’ll be moving on to the next level,” he added. “I didn’t have to do the yelling, they did it for me.”
Minor Ducks perfect
Just down the road at W.D. Horton Stadium, the Minor Super Bowl featured the unbeaten Ducks taking on the Razorbacks, with the Ducks securing their perfect season with a 35-0 shutout.
Not only did the Ducks win every game, they also finished having shut out every team they faced.
“This is a great group of kids,” said Ducks coach Ben Sanchez. “At the beginning of the season, I had to start anew, but they got better and better.”
Scoring was democratic at first, with three different Ducks getting in on the action.
Tru Camejo came up with a 35-yard scramble with 4:11 left, while Jaden Charles came in from 44 yards out with 5:02 left in the second quarter and Omari Clemins scoring the extra points.
Charleson and Camejo added three more scores before time ran out, while the defense shut down any Razorback offense.
The closes the Razorbacks came to scoring was on a pass behind the defense, but which fell uncaught to the ground.
“Probably when the Razorbacks got to our 10-yard line,” said Ducks lineback Augustine Saiz of how close they got scored on. “But we stopped them.”
The Minor Ducks weren’t the only perfect team on the field at Horton. The Major Ducks had their own unbeaten, unscored-on season to complete with a win over Capitan’s Tigers in the nightcap.
That season came to a successful end with a 12-0 victory for the Ducks.
While it was another shutout, the low score came as something of a surprise. Only one score was on offense, as Diego Baca got the only points the Ducks would need with a 35-yard interception return with 2:16 left in the first quarter.
While he didn’t put any points on the board – his running touchdown early in the game was called back on a penalty – Dalton Trapp was an undeniable force for the Ducks, both on offense and defense.
“It was hard, we all had to work hard,” said Dalton, whose older brother Dillon was a member of the 2014 Ruidoso Warrior State Championship football team. “I’ve learned you have to work really hard if you want to win.”