Scorps get first-round bye, Tigers will host
FARMINGTON — Playing in a loaded District 1-5A yielded big rewards for Farmington and Aztec late Saturday.
The Scorpions got a first-round bye as the No. 4 seed in the Class 5A bracket, while the Tigers earned the No. 6 seed and will host No. 11 seed Goddard in the first round.
Farmington (7-3) won six of its seven final regular-season games and its first district title since 2013. FHS pushed second-seeded Belen to overtime on Sept. 8 and also took down seventh-seeded Miyamura on Oct. 27 to clinch district. Belen then helped Farmington's case by beating Los Lunas on Saturday afternoon.
"We knew it was going to be close, but we feel like we earned a top-four seed, and we're happy about that," Scorpions coach Jeff Dalton said. "Playing close with Belen I think was a huge factor with the committee. Sometimes, you don't realize how important some of the games are."
Despite an 0-4 start to 2017, the Tigers won five of their final six games. Aztec coach Matthew Steinfeldt is convinced his squad's victory at Miyamura on Friday secured the Tigers a spot.
"It validates teams like ourselves that go out, put together a strong schedule and compete against quality teams," Steinfeldt said.
Piedra Vista earned the No. 11 seed in 6A and will play at No. 6 Hobbs in the first round.
PV coach Jared Howell is convinced getting two District 1-6A wins and beating Farmington in the season opener were the deciding factors toward a playoff berth.
"It's real exciting. Especially in the district that we're in, that was a tall task. People didn't think we'd ever get in," Howell said. "If Volcano (Vista) didn't lose to Cibola, we'd probably have four teams in again in that district. The district represents strongly at the state level."
Despite generating an 8-2 record, Shiprock ended up with the No. 9 seed in 4A. The Chieftains will play at No. 8 Hatch Valley in the first round.
"Whether we agree with the outcome or not, you have to get your team prepared to play and obviously start breaking down game film," Shiprock coach Eric Stovall said, with discontent in his voice. "Am I a little disappointed over it? Yeah. I would think that we've earned the opportunity at home in the first round. But that hasn't happened. So we'll go on the road and do the best we can."
Elsewhere, Newcomb earned the No. 9 seed in 3A and will play at District 1-3A foe and eighth-seeded Zuni in the first round.
First-round games will take place Friday and Saturday.
Newcomb will play at 7 p.m. Friday. Aztec, PV and Shiprock will all play at 1 p.m. Saturday.
No. 1 Manzano, No. 2 La Cueva, No. 3 Cleveland, No. 4 Las Cruces get first-round byes
No. 5 Rio Rancho vs. No. 12 Centennial
No. 6 Hobbs vs. No. 11 Piedra Vista
No. 7 Eldorado vs. No. 10 West Mesa
No. 8 Atrisco Heritage vs. No. 9 Clovis
No. 1 Artesia, No. 2 Belen, No. 3 Roswell, No. 4 Farmington get first-round byes
No. 5 Los Lunas vs. No. 12 Capital
No. 6 Aztec vs. No. 11 Goddard
No. 7 Miyamura vs. No. 10 Deming
No. 8 St. Pius vs. No. 9 Lovington
No. 1 St. Michael’s, No. 2 Portales, No. 3 Robertson, No. 4 Ruidoso get first-round byes
No. 5 Moriarty vs. No. 12 Socorro
No. 6 West Last Vegas vs. No. 11 Silver
No. 7 Taos vs. No. 10 Hope Christian
No. 8 Hatch Valley vs. No. 9 Shiprock
No. 1 Eunice, No. 2 Capitan, No. 3 Santa Rosa, No. 4 Estancia get first-round byes
No. 5 Raton vs. No. 12 Cuba
No. 6 Tularosa vs. No. 11 Tucumcari
No. 7 Dexter vs. No. 10 Texico
No. 8 Zuni vs. No. 9 Newcomb
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.