One thing about today’s Class 5A State Football Championship game — it’s a tough one to predict.
In comes Cleveland High, the prohibitive favorites over the Mayfield Trojans — on paper at least.
They’re undefeated at 13-0, and come in with a high-octane passing attack led by quarterback Cole Gautsche, wide receiver Reece White and running back Rommel Jordan.
They match up well with Mayfield, who’s had trouble this season defending the pass — really, Mayfield’s defense just hasn’t been very good.
But I will also say this — picking against the Trojans in this game is a scary proposition.
First off, they’re hitting on all cylinders and have been as hot as a pistol offensively for the past month.
This is a team with tradition and a great coaching staff. They get the Storm at home, and they flourish as the underdog.
There have been plenty of Mayfield miracles in the past — a 1971 state championship victory, 24-20, over West Mesa; in 1995, a 13-12 state title win at Clovis; a 13-7 victory over Roswell-Goddard in the 1998 championship game; and last year’s 21-17 win over La Cueva in the state semifinals.
Speaking of last year, the Trojans won the state championship in 2010 as a four-loss team. Were they the most talented program in the state? Not likely. But they won the games that mattered.
And that’s what it boils down to — the Trojans are winners and champions and will come into this one with a sound gameplan.
Cleveland has been pushed only in a small-handful of games this season, and haven’t played in a state title contest before.
They’re leaving at 5:30 this morning, coming down to Las Cruces, and are playing a Bradley-led team at the Field of Dreams. Call me crazy, but when Jim Bradley is on a Trojans coaching staff, I have a hard time going against them.
The weather could be poor — cold, windy and wet could all be part of the forecast — which is the perfect storm for the Trojans.
Yes Cleveland is the favorite — on paper.
But in my mind the Trojans have the edge in intangibles.
A tough one to predict, and points will be scored.
But my call on the game? Another Mayfield miracle.
My prediction: Mayfield 35, Cleveland 34