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Prep football: It’ll be brother vs. brother in Las Cruces

There hasn’t been much small talk between the Bradley brothers this week. Which isn’t all that surprising. But the family stakes get ratcheted up come Saturday night.

Among the games during the opening weekend of the Class 6A state football playoffs is the matchup between No. 8 seed Mayfield and No. 9 Carlsbad at the Field of Dreams. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Saturday.

This, of course, means a first playoff game between coaching brothers Mike and Gary Bradley. This is their second meeting of the season. The Trojans, in Las Cruces, beat the Cavemen 27-14 on Sept. 21.

Carlsbad (6-3) is the road team against Mayfield (6-3) because of that loss.

“We didn’t start off all that great,” said Carlsbad coach Gary Bradley. His team spotted Mayfield the first 13 points, but it was 19-14 entering the fourth quarter. “It was (13-0) before we could even breathe.”

The winner of that game faces No. 1 Volcano Vista in next week’s quarterfinals.

The 6A first round has two games Friday and two more on Saturday.

• No. 7 La Cueva (7-3) plays No. 10 Eldorado (6-4) at 7 p.m. Friday at Wilson Stadium. The Bears beat the Eagles 38-13 a month ago. Eldorado turned it over five times that night. And La Cueva didn’t have senior wide receiver Connor O’Toole in the lineup, either.

“We have to control the ball and we have to keep it out of (La Cueva quarterback Austin) Smith’s hands,” Eldorado coach Charlie Dotson said. “He’s awfully efficient and hard to get to.”

La Cueva outgained Eldorado by only 359-352 in the first game. The Eagles hope their ground game, led by Elijah Goree, Connor Baca and also by the expected appearance of Ben West, can serve a clock-management purpose.

• No. 12 Sandia (3-7) is at the FOD on Friday night to play No. 5 Las Cruces (8-2). Cibola (5-5), the 11 seed, visits Centennial (9-1) at the FOD at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The Cougars, unfortunately, are down to their third-string QB, sophomore Tristan Tabaha, with injuries to standout freshman starter Aden Chavez and back-up Steven Barela. Cibola coach Rod Williams said of Chavez, “it doesn’t look good.”

Meanwhile, that Cibola defense must contend with Centennial’s dual-threat QB, Aidan Trujillo, plus running back Gabriel Acosta and receiver Darren Rodriguez.

CLASS 5A: Two metro-area teams are on the road Friday: No. 12 Belen (3-7) and first-year coach Ty House go to No. 5 Deming (8-2), and No. 11 Highland (6-4) visits Piedra Vista (7-3). The Hornets were roughed up in Farmington two weeks ago by the Panthers, 46-6.

“We’re just really focusing on trying to forget (that first game),” Highland coach Phil Lovato said. “We want to bring that Highland swagger back, play hard and play fast.”

No. 10 seed Artesia (5-5 but reeling with three straight losses) is in Santa Fe on Friday to face No. 7 Capital (6-3).

CLASS 4A: St. Pius, Bernalillo and Moriarty have road games in the first round.

The ninth-ranked Sartans (4-6) visit No. 8 Ruidoso at 7 p.m. Friday. The Warriors (4-6) are led by QB Gage Guardiola, who has thrown for over 2,350 yards.

“They do a lot of different things on offense, but he’s their main guy,” St. Pius coach Dave Montoya said. “He’s tall, he can move around, and he can throw the ball pretty well.”

Bernalillo (6-4), the 11 seed, is at No. 6 Aztec (7-3) on Saturday. Tigers running back Alex Parra averages over 115 yards per game. Watching Parra closely will be Bernalillo’s stellar junior middle linebacker, Ayden Madrid, who has been in on 154 tackles.

This is Bernalillo’s second straight playoff berth.

“They’re young. They’re hungry,” Spartans coach John Cobos said. And he’s only going to lose five seniors off this roster.

Another metro first-year head coach, Gabe Romero, leads Moriarty (2-8) at Kirtland Central on Friday.

OTHER CLASSES: The spotlight 3A first-rounder occurs in Raton, where the eighth-seeded Tigers, fresh off a three-touchdown win in Santa Fe over St. Michael’s last week, hosts the ninth-seeded Horsemen on Saturday. … Idle Hope Christian, the 2 seed in 3A, will face the winner of Cobre-New Mexico Military Institute.

• In 2A’s quarterfinals, Capitan, an 11 seed, upset No. 6 Newcomb last week and is at No. 3 Texico on Friday. The top seed, Eunice, is home to Santa Rosa in the quarterfinals.

• Unbeaten and 8-Man No. 2 seed Menaul (9-0) has its biggest home game in years against No. 3 Melrose (9-1) at 6 p.m. Friday. The other semi is No. 1 Tatum visiting No. 5 Logan.

• The 6-Man state final is Saturday, with No. 2 Springer/Maxwell (8-1) at No. 1 Elida (9-0).

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