ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Stars’ route to earning a Lone Star Football League championship suddenly has become significantly shorter.
On Friday, league commissioner Darlene Jones announced that the top-seeded Rio Grande Valley Sol (8-4) would be ineligible to play host to the LSFL title game scheduled for July 13 in Hidalgo, Texas, because it had not met unspecified “obligations” to the league.
That makes Saturday’s game in San Angelo, Texas, between the third-seeded Stars (7-5) and second-seeded Bandits (8-4) the new title game.
Originally, the winner of the Stars-Bandits meeting was scheduled to make the long journey to Hildalgo to face the Sol for the crown. In the Stars’ case, it would have amounted to a 17-hour one-way bus ride.
New Mexico’s ride to San Angelo is roughly six hours.
Stars coach Dominic Bramante is obviously elated over the developments.
“We’re excited about the phenomenal opportunity for this franchise,” Bramante said Saturday by phone.
“Our players to deserve to be in the championship game. We’ve earned it.
“I’m amazed, just in awe of what our players have been through to get here. The past three games have essentially been elimination games for us.”
The Stars finished the season on a three-game winning streak to edge out Amarillo for the third and final postseason berth in the five-team league. Along the way the Stars beat Rio Grande Valley and San Angelo.
Jones said she didn’t want to elaborate on what obligations, financial or otherwise, weren’t met by the Sol.
“What happened is, we have deadlines for teams to meet their obligations for the league to be eligible for the playoffs, and they failed to meet those obligations and deadlines. The next best thing was for the league to make next week’s game the championship game.
“They just didn’t follow through. They’ve known about this for weeks – really they’ve known from Day One. It’s all in the league manual. And, if you don’t stick by rules, what good are the rules in the first place.”