Grizzly football facing a familiar foe

By Todd Fuqua

Carrizozo’s eight-man football regular season ended with a 56-6 loss to Mesilla Valley, Oct. 27, and now they must prepare for another District 3 opponent with the start of the State playoffs this week.

The Grizzlies (4-4, 1-4 district) are seeded ninth, taking on Cloudcroft, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m., on the road. Earlier this season Carrizozo had an excellent game against the Bears, only to see thing fall apart at the end in a 30-26 loss.

Coach Dale Jackson believes his team can win this time around.

“The first thing is to make the kids realize how close they were to winning the last time,” Jackson said. “We have to take care of business.”

Against Mesilla Valley, things were actually closer early on than the final score indicates. The Grizzlies had scored in the first quarter, and were down by just 21-6.

But then, in the words of Jackson, “it went from there to 41-6 in a snap of the finger.”

The biggest problem was Mesilla Valley quarterback Josh Castillo, who proved to be every bit as talented as Jackson feared.

“Right at the end of the half, we had a good rush from both ends,” Jackson said. “He escaped the pocket, ran to the left and fired one 45 yards down field.”

That pass landed in the hands of a SonBlazer receiver in perfect stride for a touchdown.

“It was just a great play. We didn’t do anything wrong,” Jackson said. “We fought, so I was proud and pleased with that. We didn’t give up.”

His team will have to have the same attitude against Cloudcroft this weekend to keep things from going south again. The difference is it will be on the Bears’ home field, a full-sized 11-man site.

That means more room for speedster Nathan Toddy to get free and create havoc with the Grizzly defense.

Jackson is also hoping the injury bug can remain at bay.

“We were there, even with our mistakes,” Jackson said of the previous game. “We had driven to the red zone as time was running out there.”

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