ALBUQUERQUE – A night after things ended badly for the North-South 4A/3A football teams, the small schools in the state showed how an all-star game should be played.
While the 4A/3A game on June 9 was marred by fights that ended things at halftime with the South up 21-0, the 2A/Eight Man/Six Man game went as planned, with the south taking a 14-0 complete game victory.
It was a particularly good night for Carrizozo’s Garrison Ventura, who scored a touchdown and gained several yards as a South All-Star in his final high school game.
“I was more nervous than surprised,” Ventura said of his time on the field. “I was kind of expecting a lot of playing time. I was there to show up and represent my town.”
Actually, this came could have ended at halftime as well, for the lack of offensive output in the second half.
After the South made mincemeat of North defense – Lordsburg’s Jacob Esquivel had the first score for the South – the North made adjustments at halftime and the South offense couldn’t counter.
At least the South’s defense was still stalwart. There were a few mistakes – penalties and fumbles which got the North perilously close to scoring – but the South defense was always able to get a stop.
Playing an 11-man game was a bit of an adjustment for Antonio Vasquez, who is used to playing the wide-open style of six-man at Hondo.
“The blocking schemes are totally different, the play calls, everything,” said Vasquez, who at least had the advantage of being coached by Hondo’s Brandon Devine. “Everything was totally different.”
Carrizozo and Mescalero play eight man – although ’Zozo might drop down next season – so the adjustment wasn’t as much for Mescalero’s sole representative, Austin Buurma.
Buurma was honored to be selected to represent his school and his tribe at Saturday’s game.
Burrma even had the final tackle to seal the victory, stopping the North on fourth down and giving his team the ball back to run out the clock.
“Everything was good, and it was everybody’s last game. I wish I’d been in more,” Buurma said. “Being selected, though, means a lot to me. It was an honor to represent the tribe and show what we’re capable of.”
While this was the final football game for Vasquez, he’ll be on the basketball court one more time in the 2A/1A all-star game, July 26, at Eldorado High School.