TEXICO — It figured the junior-dominated Cloudcroft Bears would have their work cut out against top-ranked Texico in Friday’s Class 2A quarterfinal matchup.
With a cold, stiff wind blowing, the elements also favored the Wolverines. Texico took full advantage, overwhelming Cloudcroft 39-7 behind 219 yards rushing and three touchdowns from junior running back Edgardo Meza.
The Wolverines (10-0) will play at District 2-2A rival Santa Rosa in the semifinals either Friday night or Saturday, a rematch of last year’s championship game in Texico, won by the Lions.
“The kids know what’s ahead,” said Texico coach Mike Prokop, whose team won at Santa Rosa 28-14 during district play. “We’ve just got to do what we’ve got to do.
“We knew we’d have to go through them at some point. We just can’t make silly mistakes.”
Texico scored on five of its first six possessions en route to a 32-0 halftime lead, then Meza finished off his performance with a 12-yard TD run early in the third period. Most of the second half was played with a running clock until the Bears (4-8) scored with just over four minutes left in the game.
Meza, who piled up 165 of his rushing yards in the first half, acknowledged the weather conditions favored the Wolverines.
“It was too windy to throw the ball,” he said. “Our linemen did a good job of blocking. They’re a passing team, and I think the wind affected them a little bit.”
Texico controlled the ball throughout the first half, racking up 16 first downs and nearly 300 rushing yards.
Meza scored on runs of 67 and 3 yards in the first half. Senior Mario Posada went in from five yards out on the first drive of the game, while junior fullback Seth Bailey and senior quarterback Brett Anderson added short TD runs later in the half.
Texico’s defense limited the Bears to 226 yards.
“We just stayed basic,” Prokop said of his defense. “I think our ends Kevin (Visser) and Luis (Estrada), played excellent games.”
Meza, who also plays cornerback, said he’s confident the Wolverines can repeat their victory over Santa Rosa next week.
“We just need to work harder in practice,” he said. “I think we’ll be fine. We’ve got to keep up our defense.”