Football plays for spot in playoffs

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By Mike Cote

Despite an 8-1 record, despite pounding a pair of District 2AAAA opponents into the ground, the Hilltopper football team has to win Friday at home to qualify for the Class AAAA playoffs.Should the Hilltoppers get upset by Bernalillo’s Spartans Friday, there could be a three-way tie for second place. And considering the Class AAAAA boys soccer situation, no one wants to settle anything with a tiebreaker these days.Also on schedule for this weekend is the District 2AAAA volleyball championship match, which will be played at Espaola Valley. The winner of tonight’s Los Alamos-Capital Jaguar semifinal will advance to play the Sundevils for the district title.

VolleyballThe Hilltoppers can move on to Saturday’s 2AAAA title match with a win over the Jaguars. That match starts at 7 p.m. at Griffith Gymnasium.Far more importantly, the Hilltoppers can qualify for the state Class AAAA championship tournament with a win. If the Jaguars win, they would get the automatic bid to the state tournament.In either case, the loser tonight could still pick up an at-large invitation to the state tournament.Los Alamos (11-9 overall, 6-2 in district) split its 2AAAA matches with both Espaola Valley (15-4 overall, 7-1 in district) and Capital (11-8 overall, 5-3 in district). Los Alamos won its home decision over the Jaguars Oct. 10, but fell in the second meeting at Capital Oct. 27. Both contests were decided by scores of 3-1.Against the Sundevils, the teams won on each other’s home floor. The Sundevils prevailed 3-0 at Griffith Gym Sept. 25, while the Hilltoppers beat the Sundevils at their place Oct. 24, 3-1.Los Alamos head coach Diana Stokes said her team is ready for tonight.“The girls have had really good practices this week,” she said. “We’ve been doing high-paced practices. We’ll have to see if it pays off, see if they play high-paced against Capital.”

FootballThe Hilltoppers will be attempting to bounce back from the 50-30 drubbing they took at the hands of the Capital Jaguars Oct. 26.Capital, with its 42-7 win over Espaola Valley Friday, clinched the District 2AAAA title, so Los Alamos will be playing for the district’s runner-up spot.A win would secure second-place for the Hilltoppers (8-1) and advance them to the Class AAAA state tournament, the first round of which starts Nov. 16.Bernalillo (4-5) has been on both the giving and receiving ends of some poundings this season, but has been tough against 2AAAA competition.The Spartans were nipped by Espaola Valley’s Sundevils, 48-47 Oct. 26, but bounced back the following week to knock off Taos 14-0.Los Alamos, however, will be coming off a bye week and should be rested up.The New Mexico Activities Association seeding committee is scheduled to meet 7 p.m. Saturday to determine the brackets for the state tournament.