St. Pius, LA both need Ws

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By The Staff

Members of the Los Alamos Hilltopper football team are probably best served not trying to figure out the MaxPreps rankings this season.

Two weeks ago, following a hefty win over the Pojoaque Valley Elks on the road, the Hilltoppers’ ranking slipped considerably. Last Friday, the Hilltoppers were on the receiving end of a shellacking, and their ranking ticked up slightly.

Los Alamos lost 41-6 in its home opener against Farmington, a game where Los Alamos didn’t execute particularly well on either side of the ball.

Nevertheless, MaxPreps moved Los Alamos up from its No. 16 ranking a week ago to a No. 15 ranking this week.

However, that ranking improvement likely had more to do with Farmington shooting up to No. 5 in the poll – bolstering the Hilltoppers’ strength of schedule – than anything Los Alamos did in that game.

Regardless of what the poll says, the Hilltoppers (1-1), despite being in just their third week of the season, may need to pick up some wins in a hurry to try to keep themselves in position for an at-large playoff spot, should the need arise.

Los Alamos will be facing another Class 4A team hungry for a win, the St. Pius X Sartans, Friday at Sullivan Field. Game time is 7 p.m.

The Sartans (1-1), who are ranked exactly one spot ahead of Los Alamos, were also on the wrong end of a lopsided defeat last week, falling to the St. Michael’s Horsemen 33-12. While that score doesn’t sound horrible, that was one of the biggest margins of victory between the two teams in their longstanding rivalry.

Los Alamos and St. Pius are former District 2-4A rivals – the Sartans left following the 2005 season when the New Mexico Activities Association revised Class 4A districts – but that rivalry was one-sided. St. Pius didn’t lose to Los Alamos, or any other district team for that matter, during its stay in District 2.

Last week en route to its victory, Farmington held Los Alamos to just 48 yards total offense in the first half and kept the Hilltoppers scoreless through three quarters.

The Scorpion defense keyed in on fullback Xavier Dennison, limiting him to 38 yards on 9 carries, after Dennison went for 230 yards at Pojoaque Valley.

Defensively, the Hilltoppers’ tackling was suspect, particularly when trying to bring down Farmington running back Brian Farley, who rushed for 196 yards, averaging better than 15 yards per tote. Farmington was also effective throwing the ball.

Goddard’s Rockets are still the No. 1 team in the state according to MaxPreps, a position they’ve held since preseason, while Los Lunas is ranked No. 2.

Belen, Los Alamos’ opponent in two weeks, is No. 3 in the poll.