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Yodice’s 6A football projections: The suspense begins at No. 4

Nos. 1, 2 and 3 for the Class 6A football playoffs seem to be a foregone conclusion.

If there is any major suspense tonight regarding the release of the 12-team bracket, it’s the identity of the No. 4 seed.

There are only two serious options — Manzano and Centennial.james yodice

The New Mexico Activities Association late tonight will unveil the fields in Classes 6A, 5A, 4A and 3A.

This is my 6A bracket:

Rio Rancho, which capped off a 10-0 season on Friday night against Piedra Vista, will be the No. 1 seed. After taking care of Volcano Vista on Friday, Cleveland sewed up the No. 2 seed. I can’t absolutely say Las Cruces is No. 3, not with the Bulldawgs still having to finish Saturday afternoon against Mayfield. As of Friday night, Las Cruces is No. 3.

The Monarchs and Hawks are both 8-2. Centennial finished second in its district, while Manzano won its district. But the Hawks beat the Monarchs in Week 2. The state’s coaches still must submit their input (top 12 sheets) to the NMAA today, a criterium that could decide which one of the two gets the first weekend off and a bye into the quarterfinals.

I have slotted Centennial at No. 4, with Manzano at No. 5. I would not have any problem whatsoever if the order of those two were reversed.

Centennial coach Aaron Ocampo has made an excellent point — Cleveland is certain to be slotted ahead of Las Cruces, even though the Storm is a district runner-up and Las Cruces is a district champion. Cleveland defeated the Bulldawgs early in the regular season.

Oñate’s four losses are all high quality — Rio Rancho, Cleveland, Las Cruces and Centennial. Did the Knights hurt their seeding position with consecutive setbacks to the Bulldawgs and Hawks to close the season?

I still believe Oñate has done enough to earn a home game in the first round. I have the Knights at No. 6, which is higher than almost anybody else I know.

Clovis, following its win over La Cueva on Friday, locked up second place in District 2-6A behind Manzano and is my No. 7 seed. Then I have Volcano Vista at No. 8.

My final four are La Cueva, Mayfield, Eldorado and Atrisco Heritage; the Jags clinched their spot Friday, beating Albuquerque High to clinch the District 4-6A crown.

My first-round pairings go as follows:

No. 12 Atrisco Heritage at No. 5 Centennial (winner to face No. 4 Manzano);

No. 11 Eldorado at No. 6 Oñate (winner to face No. 3 Las Cruces);

No. 10 Mayfield at No. 7 Clovis (winner to face No. 2 Cleveland);

No. 9 La Cueva at No. 8 Volcano Vista (winner to face No. 1 Rio Rancho).

First-round days/times should be set by Sunday afternoon.