Aztec, Shiprock will host state playoff games

No. 10 Farmington visits No. 7 Aztec on Friday

Jake Newby
  • The Chieftains will host a playoff game for the first time since 2001 when Silver visits Shiprock.
  • Kirtland Central earned the 12th and final playoff spot in 5A and will visit Los Lunas on Friday.
  • Farmington will tangle with Aztec for the second time in four weeks.

FARMINGTON — The Aztec and Shiprock football teams found out they will host opening-round playoff games when the state brackets were released on Saturday night.

Farmington runner Axel Fowler finds a hole in the Aztec defense on Oct. 21 at Hutchison Stadium in Farmington.

In class 5A, Aztec drew the No. 7 seed after going 7-3 this season and winning the District 1-5A championship. The Tigers will take on district foe Farmington (4-5-1), which earned the 10th seed, in a rematch of their Oct. 21 thriller.

Scorpions coach Jeff Dalton said he's glad his team landed where it did in the bracket.

"More than anything, it's good for our community to get to see a local game. And between two teams who are kind of hot right now. I'm sure everyone will get some entertainment out of that," Dalton said. "Obviously we're glad it's close to home. We could have just as easily had to travel to Alamogordo or Los Lunas."

The Tigers fell into a 14-0 hole during the Oct. 21 game against Farmington at Hutchison Stadium, but roared back and won 31-28. The Scorps committed four turnovers in the loss.

The rematch will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium in Aztec.

Also in 5A, Kirtland Central (6-4) earned the No. 12 seed. Running back O'Maury Samuels — a University of Michigan commit — and the No. 5 Los Lunas Tigers (7-3) are the Broncos' first-round opponent.

Kirtland Central's Ramiro Montes, left, and Brock Beckstead, right, break up a pass intended for Shiprock's Tirus Newton, middle, on Sept. 23 at Chieftain Stadium in Shiprock.

The Broncos went from missing the playoffs last season in class 4A to making the cut in their first year at the 5A level. They play at 7 p.m. Friday in Los Lunas.

Shiprock, the No. 7 seed in 4A, impressed the selection committee by winning its three District 1-4A games by a combined score of 142-0. A 44-14 win over this year's District 1-3A champion Crownpoint also helped the Chieftains' cause.

For their sizzling hot finish to the season, Shiprock (7-3) gets to host its first playoff game since 2001 and will face No. 10 Silver (4-6) at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Chieftains coach Eric Stovall attended Western New Mexico University with Silver coach Raul Diaz 20 years ago. And Stovall said he's looking forward to what should be an electric atmosphere at Chieftain Stadium.

"This is going to be a fun one. I have a good relationship with Raul, he's a good friend of mine," Stovall said. "It's just very exciting. Not only for our kids, but for our coaches, our school, our community and also our veterans and so forth. It'll be good for the Chieftains to get some tremendous fan support."

Shiprock and Silver shared one mutual opponent this season: Socorro. Shiprock fell to the Warriors 42-0 in the season opener, while Silver beat them 32-20 last week.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.