Football: Toppers left out of bracket

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By Mike Cote

The Los Alamos Hilltopper football team’s push in the last three games of the regular season didn’t seem to impress the New Mexico Activities Association.
The Hilltoppers were left out of the postseason draw in Class AAAA for 2010. The NMAA released the state playoff brackets this weekend.
Los Alamos (4-6) was a longshot to get into the playoffs after losing five contests to Class AAAA teams, all but one of which made the playoff bracket. Despite the rough start to the season, Los Alamos did bounce back to beat Santa Fe, Española Valley and Capital in successive weeks to make its best final argument.
However, the seeding and selection committee apparently didn’t think much of District 2AAAA this season, making district champion Bernalillo the 12th and final seed in the playoff draw.
The top four seeds in the AAAA bracket came as little surprise. Goddard, which won the 2009 state title and had been ranked No. 1 by the New Mexico High School Coaches Association for most of the 2010 season, was given the top seed in the playoffs.
Aztec beat out Belen for the No. 2 seed in the tournament, while Belen had to settle for No. 3. Perennial state title contender Artesia was given the No. 4 seed.
Playoff games start Friday at home sites — the closest one to Los Alamos is No. 7 St. Pius X hosting No. 10 Roswell in Albuquerque — then continue the following week at the home sites of the top four seeds, which all get byes into the tournament quarterfinals.
The state championship game is scheduled for Dec. 3 or 4.
Bernalillo, which knocked off Los Alamos in the teams’ 2AAAA opener Oct. 15 by a final of 24-21, will travel to Farmington Friday to take on the fifth-ranked Scorpions. The Scorpions (8-2) topped both the Hilltoppers and Bernalillo’s Spartans (5-5) during successive weeks early in the regular season.
Los Alamos will miss out on the playoffs for the second straight year. Its last playoff appearance was in 2008 when it made the state quarterfinals before falling at Aztec 42-8.