Football

State contenders again

With four wins in a row, Tigers chosen as the seventh seed for the New Mexico state football championships

By Matthew Narvaiz
sports@taosnews.com
Posted 11/7/19

All of the Tigers football players gathered in head coach Art Abreu Jr.'s classroom late Saturday night (Nov. 2) awaiting to see their ranking when the New Mexico Activities Association hosted their State Championship Selection and Seeding Show.

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Football

State contenders again

With four wins in a row, Tigers chosen as the seventh seed for the New Mexico state football championships

Posted

All of the Tigers football players gathered in head coach Art Abreu Jr.'s classroom late Saturday night (Nov. 2) awaiting to see their ranking when the New Mexico Activities Association hosted their State Championship Selection and Seeding Show.

Twelve teams would be chosen - with the first four seeds, the district winners, receiving byes and the remaining eight teams seeing who they'd play and where they'd play.

The Tigers, who won their last four games, made a convincing case to receive a home game in the first round. They defeated St. Pius X for the first time in 15 years, the furthest back both the NMAA and MaxPreps track scores for football games in the state. Most recently, they defeated Bernalillo - a team that also made it into the playoffs - by a score of 28-7. And they had two dominating wins over Pojoaque Valley and Española Valley.

Once the Class 4A bracket came up, roughly 11 minutes after 10 p.m., the Tigers were not disappointed.

The defending 4A state champion Tigers were chosen as the No. 7 seed and were given the opportunity to host a home game in the first round of the state playoffs against No. 10 Silver on Saturday (Nov. 9) at 1 p.m.

The players of the team let out a big cheer, with popcorn and Gatorade and pizza on hand. Every athlete on the team from eighth grade all the way to the senior class were present and, being in a room with a whiteboard and activities prior to the seeding show, the room presented more of a classroom feel - but one the athletes most definitely enjoyed.

Before the show, however, Abreu had the players participate in an activity. The players gathered together in teams by class and chose the 12 teams who would make the class 4A playoffs and what their seed would be. They also had to guess the time the Tigers would be seeded during the show.

In the beginning of the activity, the eighth-graders were confused and had hardly a clue about what was happening. The seniors, on the other hand, understood and in their selections made calculated guesses, choosing Taos as the No. 8 seed in the playoffs.

The juniors chose Taos correctly as the No. 7 seed and the sophomore class, freshmen and, eventually, the eighth-graders chose Taos as the No. 6 seed.

At one point during the activity, Noah Armijo, the Tiger starting quarterback, walked up to the eighth-graders and chuckled at the confusion on their faces. It was moments like this - with all the snacks on hand, the smiles and the joy that filled the room with the multitude of conversations happening - that remind many why football is more than just a sport.

In many ways, at least in how Abreu teaches his athletes, this gathering was a reminder that hard work can lead to success and that it can be done only as a collective group and not individually.

He continued his speech before the announcement, preaching respect and how his athletes should always strive for that. He also reminded them that they weren't entitled to host a home game.

"Stay perfect," Abreu said.

"Whatever they announce, be grateful," he added later in his speech.

After the speech, the show had started. The Tigers had their eyes peeled - each and every one of them.

When their name finally popped up on the screen, they were more than grateful.

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