Eric Butler: PNT Correspondent
HOBBS — Longtime prep football coach Rafael Roybal was officially introduced to the world of six-man football on Saturday at the Southeastern Football Classic in Hobbs. And, well, it could have been nicer.
Floyd, headed by Roybal, took it on the chin over and over and over as Tatum pounded the Broncos 52-0 in a game that was halted at halftime due to the mercy rule.
“We get our quarterback (Kyle Kropf) hurt in, what, about the fourth play? And we don’t have any depth anyway,” Roybal said. “We’re just too young, too slow.”
Kropf was actually still around when Tatum scored first.
On the opening play from scrimmage, Tatum’s Alex Castro grabbed an interception and ran 30 yards for a touchdown.
The Coyotes’ Obie Palacios then kicked for two more points and an 8-0 lead only 19 seconds into the game.
After Tatum (1-0) stymied the Floyd (0-1) offense again, Castro took a run from scrimmage 45 yards for another TD with 6:09 left in the first quarter. Two minutes later, Coyotes’ junior Jason Cogburn returned a punt 61 yards which, after a conversion pass, gave Tatum a 21-0 advantage.
Tatum was the six-man state champion two years ago, while Floyd lost in last year’s title game to Melrose.
But the Broncos were hit hard by graduation losses and further diminished when standout Jerrod Long transfered to Portales.
For Roybal, who coached in Hart (Texas) last year and whose previous stops included Fort Sumner and Hagerman, Saturday’s game only slightly dampened his enthusiasm for this style of football.
“I’ve never coached six-man before. It’s a good game, there’s no doubt about it. It’s just that, right now, we don’t have the kids to do it,” Roybal said.
The highlight of the game for Floyd was probably when, after Tatum went up 44-0, Broncos’ senior Brad Lee took the ensuing kickoff back for a 38-yard return.
But, on the very next play, Floyd fumbled and Tatum’s Logan Henderson picked the ball and ran 40 yards for another touchdown.
“Floyd’s got two kids — Brad Lee and Jason Martinez — who are really tough kids. Tough, athletes,” Tatum coach Jarrod Sowder said. “But you put two athletes with the others, who may just be inexperienced, and they’re just not as tough as the other two — it really shows up.”
Tatum 52, Floyd 0
Floyd 0 0 — 0
Tatum 21 31 — 52
Scoring: T, Alex Castro 30 interception return (Obie Palacios kick); T, Castro 45 run (kick failed); T, Jason Cogburn 61 punt return (Palacios to Logan Henderson conversion pass); T, Leo Gonzales 34 run (Palacios kick); T, Castro 36 run (Palacios to Chad Anderson conversion pass); T, Palacios 18 run (Palacios kick); T, Henderson 40 fumble return (Palacios kick). Rec.: T 1-0; F 0-1.