By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ sports writer
DEFENDING SIX-MAN STATE champion Melrose could be without two starters, including its most explosive weapon, for the rest of the season.
Junior lineman Jose Arenivar suffered a broken arm two weeks ago and senior running back Carlos Ruiz is out indefinitely with a heart murmur, Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said.
The Buffaloes (8-0, 3-0 six-man District 3) are the only undefeated team in six-man.
“Everything was going smoothly, then boom,” Roybal said. “But I can’t just tell my kids, ‘Let’s quit practicing and let’s quit playing.’ But right now it doesn’t look good.”
Ruiz, who passed out at his home Oct. 8, will see a heart specialist today, Roybal said.
“We knew he had this for some time, but it has never been a problem,” he said.
Ruiz has rushed for 1,845 yards and scored 23 touchdowns this season. Roybal said his speed will be impossible to replace. But he said the team has not been discouraged.
Without Ruiz and Arenivar, Melrose mercy-ruled Floyd 48-0 on Saturday.
TEXICO COACH MIKE PROKOP said everyone still wants to compare this year’s to last year’s undefeated team.
“We created a beast,” Prokop said. “Everyone expects you to go undefeated every year, but we graduated 11 seniors each of the last two years. And we don’t have a JV team to feed us, so backups were getting used to starting roles. That’s what those first six weeks were.”
Texico (3-4) beat Loving 41-6 Friday in its district opener.
Prokop said one of those replacements who has matured over the course of the season is sophomore Daniel Schueler, a starting tight end and defensive end.
After transferring from Grady two years ago, this is Schueler’s first season playing football.
Prokop said Schueler came out for two-a-days last season but left the team before the season started.
“We went on to win state, and he said it was the biggest mistake he’d ever made,” he said. “He’s made some big jumps, especially in the past few weeks.”
NOW THAT HIS TEAM is getting healthy, Farwell coach Jacob Thompson said he expects quarterback Derrick Chandler to have a productive finish to the season.
“We were expecting a lot out of him this season,” Thompson said. “But with all of the injuries, he didn’t have any weapons on offense.”
At its worst point, Farwell (3-4, 2-0) had to bring up seven players from junior varsity play Friona a month ago.
Chandler was Farwell’s leading rusher on Friday with 160 yards on 16 carries in the Steers’ 46-0 drubbing of Hart.
Thompson said Chandler is unselfish on offense and defense.
“On two of our interceptions last week Derrick was right there,” Thompson said. “I think he could have grabbed them, but he let up to let other guys catch the ball.”