By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
It’s not often that an eastern New Mexico resident is featured in national news media — it’s even rarer for a Floyd native to get national attention, but that’s exactly what happened to former Floyd football standout and former Eastern New Mexico Greyhound Fide Davalos.
The former Bronco runningback was contacted by an ESPN.com writer earlier this month, and included in the story titled, “Eight-man football players still overcoming little-school stigma”, something that Fide knows well.
“I guess (the writer) started looking through the Internet and he came across a lot of the national records and saw that my name was on there a couple of times,” Davalos said.
While at Floyd, the spreadback accumulated several national 6-man records, including most touchdowns in a game, rushing yards in a game and rushing yards in a season. Davalos also helped lead the Broncos to an undefeated state championship run in his junior year in 2001.
The mark that Davalos left in New Mexico 6-man football, as well as his transition to the Division II college game made the former Bronco a perfect fit for the ESPN story.
“(The attention is) pretty nice,” Davalos said. “I was actually pretty flattered. It is ESPN and it gets read by a lot of people. I’m just a small town kid and all of a sudden it’s going to come out on ESPN. I thought that was pretty incredible.”
ENMU head football coach Mark Ribaudo said he’s never had a problem searching for diamonds like Davalos in the coal mine of small school 6-man programs.
“We don’t shy away from (kids from 6- or 8-man programs). I’ve recruited them at other schools I’ve been at too. If they’ve got a really good athlete, we don’t mind it at all. It’s a little more rare to find that college-level athlete (in a 6- or 8-man program),” Ribaudo said. “(Fide) was a great athlete at Floyd. And he carried that right over (to ENMU). He picked up the 11-man game really fast, he was a great runningback for us, he was the team leader.”
Ribaudo also addressed a common misperception that many hold about the transition from the small school 6-man game to 11-man college football.
“It depends on what position they play,” Ribaudo said. “Fide was a skill position player, so there wasn’t much of a learning curve. Carrying the football and making tackles, that’s universal anywhere.”
Instead of breaking tackles and protecting the ball, Davalos is currently south of the border, learning how to mend broken bones and protect other athletes from harm while he is studying for a career in the medical field in Guadalajara, Mexico with an emphasis on trauma and orthopedics.
“I’m enjoying it,” Davalos said. “I like the idea that I’ll be helping to heal other athletes and allow them to continue their career in sports.”