Just making it through this season has been a moral victory for the Robertson football team.
A couple of wins (vs. Pojoaque and Taos) and a few more that could've been (Raton, Ruidoso and West Las Vegas) were icing on the cake.
Now it's time for the icing on the icing.
RHS (2-8) plays at Cobre (8-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday to open the Class 3A state playoffs. Coach Richard Martinez's Cardinals won a three-way tiebreaker with Pojoaque Valley and West Las Vegas (all with identical 1-3 records in District 2-3A) to officially place third in the division and pick up an invite to the postseason.
After winning the school's first-ever state football championships in 2005 and '06 and making a return to the title game in '07, Robertson has been hurt by the losses of two exceptional senior classes. It would have been a building year for a young team regardless. Throw in the further depletion of the ranks because of a preseason hazing-assault scandal, two changes in coaching staffs, and adjustment after adjustment to the system, and you have a recipe for a difficult campaign.
But the Cardinals have persevered, faring well enough in spite of the tribulations to extend their streak of qualifying for the postseason. Along the way, the Cardinals have played six teams that have made it to this year's Class 3A playoffs -- Lovington, Portales, Socorro, Ruidoso, Raton and St. Michael's -- and one in the Class 4A postseason (Moriarty).
Cobre, the sixth seed in Class 3A, is coached by Brian Miller.
The Indians own wins over Silver, Canyon State (Ariz.), Thoreau, Deming, Lordsburg, Ruidoso, Hatch Valley and Hot Springs. Their losses have come against Lovington (25-10 on Sept. 12) and Socorro (12-10 on Nov. 7). Notably, several opponents have been teams currently in the playoffs (No. 1 Lovington, No. 4 Socorro, No. 8 Ruidoso, No. 9 Hatch in Class 3A; No. 3 Lordsburg in Class 2A).
Against common opponents Lovington, Ruidoso and Socorro, Robertson is 0-3 while Cobre is 1-2.
Saturday’s winner moves on to play Portales.