ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The travel-weary New Mexico Stars will be working on short rest tonight when they face the host San Angelo (Texas) Bandits (2-1) in a Lone Star Football League game.
It’s been an especially grueling week for the Stars (1-2), who are fresh off their 2,000-mile round-trip bus ride to McAllen, Texas, where they lost to the Rio Grande Valley Sol 69-39 on Sunday night.
The Stars left for southeast Texas at 4 p.m. last Saturday, arrived late Sunday morning in McAllen, played that evening, then boarded the bus for the journey home. They arrived back home about 2 p.m. Monday.
“That was a rough trip,” coach Dominic Bramante said Thursday. “It was about survival. It was hard on the players, 17 hours out there and 17 hours back.
“I can’t speak for them, but I didn’t get the trip our of my system until (Wednesday). Then it’s the same thing this week. We’ll get off the bus and play. It’s a tough week.”
If there’s any consolation, this round trip is roughly only 1,000 miles.
The Stars were scheduled to head out to San Angelo today at 5 a.m. on an eight- to nine-hour trip for the 7:05 local time kickoff. The club will return home about sunrise Sunday.
Last season, the Stars were 6-6 in the regular season, but 4-0 against the Bandits. But it’s not the same squad this year. “We completely overhauled our team,” owner Randy Sanders said in an email.
The Bandits showed their strength last week in a 75-54 home victory over Amarillo. By comparison, the Stars were 63-21 losers to Amarillo in their season opener in Rio Rancho four weeks ago.
STANDINGS: At the season’s quarter pole, the 1-2 Stars stand fourth in the five-team league behind Amarillo (2-1), Rio Grande Valley (2-1) and San Angelo. West Texas is 0-2. New Mexico has to crack the top three to qualify for the postseason. Last year, the top four were playoff-bound.
HONORS: The Stars’ Daryl Robinson won the league’s special teams player of the week award with five kick returns for 127 yards and a touchdown. San Angelo, meanwhile, had the offensive and defensive honorees: QB Luke Collis had seven TD throws and a rushing TD in the Bandits’ rout of Amarillo, and defensive stalwart Austin Benson had six tackles and an interception.
UP NEXT: The Stars return to the Santa Ana Star Center on April 19 to face the Amarillo Venom.