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James Yodice: La Cueva passing tandem is like Christmas chile

Dylan Summer and Reece Wilkinson sort of go together like Christmas chile — two flavors of the same food.

The La Cueva quarterback, Summer, and his favorite target, Wilkinson, have combined on 15 touchdown passes this season, making them the most prolific QB-WR duo in the metro area.

“Reece and I, we have a great friendship, on and off the field,” said Summer. Half of his 30 TD passes this year have landed in the hands of Wilkinson. “And Reece is such a great athlete.”

Physically, there are some large receivers in the metro — Andrew Erickson of Manzano, Derrick Reyes of Rio Rancho, Justin Ainsworth of Cleveland and Brandon Bouldin of West Mesa spring to mind — but Wilkinson is built like a point guard.

At 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, he’s certainly not thriving because of his physicality. But he is sure-handed, crafty and one of 6A’s most skilled playmakers.

“Reece Welker” is what I think La Cueva coach Brandon Back called him Friday night, a reference of course to the famously … diminutive? … NFL receiver Wes Welker.

Wilkinson caught six balls for 108 yards and three scores in the Bears’ win Friday over Sandia. He is averaging over 113 receiving yards per game and nearly 19 yards a catch.

“Dylan is poised in the pocket, and Reece finds a way to make plays in space,” Back said.

A dynamic duo, indeed.

NOT (YET) BRACKETOLOGY: I’ll have the first of my two Class 6A top 12 projections in this space next Sunday (the first one will be very brief). But there are some things to get to in the meantime.

Manzano clinched the District 2-6A championship Friday by virtue of La Cueva’s win over Sandia. Cleveland locked up District 1 on Friday night — with an assist from Cibola, which upset Volcano Vista.

So those two district races are over. At the top, anyway. District 4 is a foregone conclusion, since all Atrisco Heritage has to do to clinch is beat winless Rio Grande on Thursday. And District 3 will be over if league leader Las Cruces beats Oñate on Friday.

Still there are compelling story threads worth following down the stretch. The most prominent of them revolves around Friday’s Eldorado-La Cueva game. If the Bears finish second in that district, they are surely going to receive a first-round bye. But would the Eagles get a bye if they finish runner-up to Manzano? Doubtful.

Then there is the potential mess in District 1, which could be headed toward a three-way tie for third place between Piedra Vista, Volcano Vista and Cibola. Next week’s PV-VV matchup is huge for the Hawks, who need to win by a touchdown to likely finish third in that league. Otherwise, Piedra Vista probably will finish third — and that would almost certainly be enough to get the Panthers into the playoff field. (Volcano would get in, too, I think, but there are seeding implications. Revisit me in seven days.)

NO. 6: I didn’t include this game on my Five to Watch list for this week, but there is certainly much at stake when the 8-Man squads from Menaul and Foothill meet Friday night at Tomlinson Field.

The Panthers (5-3, 4-0) and Falcons (7-2, 4-0) are tied for first place in their district. Friday’s game will be somewhat strange in that Menaul is playing on its home field — but as the visiting team.

“It’s gonna be great,” Menaul coach Josh Baca said of Friday’s showdown. “We haven’t won a district championship since 1999, and the boys are really excited. We have won games this year (like beating Magdalena) that nobody on the team has won before.”

After a 50-0 win over Alamo Navajo on Saturday, Menaul — after getting back some ineligible players just before district play — has outscored four district opponents by a combined 208-6. Foothill has beaten those same four teams by a combined 210-6.

LEFT STANDING: There are still eight undefeated teams in New Mexico, including Manzano, Belen, Miyamura, Eunice, Melrose and Animas. That list will shrink by one after the seventh and eighth of those unbeatens, Class 2A powers Fort Sumner/House and Escalante, collide Friday.

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