Although Saturday’s Rio Grande Football League Eastern Division match-up in Carlsbad, New Mexico, will mark the first ever meeting between the West Texas Outlaws and the New Mexico Rush, these two teams are far from strangers.
“We got the West Texas Outlaws coming here to Carlsbad this weekend,” Rush owner Paul Lopez told DFUSA. “I’m pretty familiar with the program, the squad and what they do. I’ve played against them since 2011 so we’re pretty familiar with the Outlaws.”
As former owner of the Curry County Cats of Clovis, Lopez played against the Outlaws several times, but he also picked up some new players on his roster prior to the season that have played with and against the Outlaws for several years.
“When I was in Clovis, it was a pretty good rivalry back and forth,” Lopez said. “I do have some Lubbock players. The Hub City Bison had folded and I got in contact with some guys that wanted to play football and I gave them that opportunity. They are really helping us out, so I think it was a good move for us. Of course they know what the Outlaws do, but so do I.”
Now the Outlaws’ tackles leader with 22 tackles, two tackles for losses of 21 yards, ½ sack and an interception through two games this season, linebacker Brandon Brooks previously played with the Bison and is really looking forward to Saturday’s match-up.
“Always, when you play against some guys you’ve been playing with for years, there’s going to be some words before the game and a lot of emotion going into the game, but we’re just going to stay humble and do what we know to do as Outlaws and that’s play football,” Brooks told DFUSA.
Familiarity aside, it should be an exciting game Saturday in Carlsbad between two 1-1 teams coming off a win and looking to build on the streak.
“It’s going to be another hard fought game,” Brooks said. “The Rush, they’re a pretty good team as far as we know and they have a good defense headed by some players that we know. I think if we can play with the same kind of chemistry we played with against Amarillo, then we can come away with the win.”
The winner of this game moves into second place in the RGFL Eastern Division, unless the Curry County Cats upset the West Texas Pride in Midland, then the winner would move into first place.
“Here in New Mexico, the Rush, we are all about football, so we stay away from all the hype and just get prepared to get out there and play football,” Lopez said.