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The Northern Rio Grande League will wrap up regular season play Thursday night in Pojoaque.
The league, which is made up of four prep football teams in the area, including the Los Alamos Hilltoppers, has been playing at various locations this month. Following Thursday’s games the teams will move into the playoffs.
The other three teams taking part in the 7-on-7 league are Española Valley, Santa Fe and Pojoaque. Española Valley, grouped in the Red Zia Division along with Los Alamos, clinched the division title last week with a 7-5 record. Santa Fe and Pojoaque are tied at 8-4 in the Green Division.
Los Alamos hasn’t fared as well in the league, going 1-11 through 12 games so far.
The non-contact league pits the teams against one another on a field 45 yards long. Teams get possession of the ball on the 5-yard line and have four downs to pick up a first down or score. Fixed first-down markers are 15 yards apart. Should one team make it close to the second first down marker — such as on a 29-yard pass play, for example — it would need to pick up the remaining distance to earn another first down.
Because there is no contact involved — players are down when they are touched with one hand by an opponent — quarterbacks are allowed four seconds to throw the ball. Should the quarterbacks fail to get rid of the ball in the allotted time, the play is blown dead.
Next week’s playoffs will be hosted by the No. 1 seed. That team, whichever it ends up being, will play Los Alamos, while the other two teams will face off.
The winner of the two games will meet in the league’s championship game.
Also for the playoffs, the teams will hold a Lineman Challenge.
The NRG league was formed in January for the purpose of giving local teams a chance to play competitively during the summer.
Next year, the league hopes to add other local prep squads.