Melrose eliminated from 8-man field

CMI staff

ROSWELL — Senior quarterback Andrew Meeks threw for four touchdowns and top-ranked Gateway Christian rolled to a 40-12 win over Melrose on Friday night in an 8-man semifinal playoff game.

The Warriors (10-0) will face the winner of today’s semifinal between sixth-seeded Tatum and No. 2 Foothill in Albuquerque in next weekend’s championship game.

Gateway, which beat the Buffalos 52-6 during District 3 play, scored on its first four possessions — going more than 70 yards three times — to build a 26-0 halftime lead.

The Buffs (6-4), seeded fourth, got a pair of third-quarter touchdowns on a 4-yard run by sophomore quarterback Wyatt Williams and a 26-yard pass from Williams to sophomore Rowdy Allen. The latter score, which made it 26-12, was set up by a strip and fumble recovery by junior linebacker Boone Roberts.

Meeks then capped a 69-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Chris Bonham, their second TD connection of the game. Gateway added a score late in the game on Meeks’ 22-yard TD pass to senior Caleb Raney.

Veteran Buffs coach Dickie Roybal knew his team had its work cut out for it.

“The kids played hard; they (Warriors) just did a great job,” Roybal said. “For the most part, we return everybody next year.”

Melrose showed marked improvement after going winless in 2012. “We came from last place to being in the semifinals,” Roybal said.