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The 2021 esports competition included a season of firsts.  This was the inaugural year for the NMAA esports lineup to include Madden NFL 21.

“We had seven schools participate in Madden NFL 21 this year and we hope that number grows even bigger next season,” said NMAA Associate Director Dusty Young.  “Adding Madden opens the door for more kids to have an opportunity to participate in esports.”

Madden is one of the most popular video game franchises in North America, with over 130 million copies sold. Madden is an American football game that features teams and athletes from the NFL. Madden has more competitive gaming broadcasts on ESPN and ESPN2 than any other esport.

“I love Madden, so once I heard they were starting up a team, I was like ‘You gotta join’,” said Clovis High School junior Mekhi Bauer.  “I love football, that’s what got me into Madden in the first place.”

“When they added Madden, it got me really interested,” said Clovis junior Avory Gonzales.  “It’s an honor to play Esports.  I am playing for my school and my city.”

This year’s Madden NFL 21 final matched up Raton High School against Clovis High School.  Players on each high school team were paired with a single opponent from another school.  Each pairing played a best of three series of games.  The match victory was awarded to the team with the most series wins.  Raton beat Clovis in the final by a 2-1 score to win the first Madden NFL 21 esports title in New Mexico.

“It’s gotten kids that don’t have the opportunity to get involved in any traditional sport an opportunity to be on a team,” said Clovis esports coach Andrew Tipton.  “Our guys were over the moon with what they were able to accomplish.”

“It gives them that sense of accomplishment and it helps them to work with other people going forward in their lives,” he added.

“Through titles such as Madden NFL 21, there’s even more opportunities for students to get involved while safe in the afterschool setting under the direction of a teacher-coach,” said Mark Koski, NFHS Network vice president.  “It’s a great thing when students have access to something that offers them all of the camaraderie of a team, the opportunity to come together, and learn how to win and lose together.”

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