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Roswell looking to stymie state’s best QB; Goddard hoping to bounce back after last week’s loss

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Goddard’s Diego Miranda carries the ball against Capital in week one in a 19-6 victory. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

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Week 3 of the high school football season features undefeated Roswell playing on the road in Hobbs, in a game that should be the District 4-5A Game of the Week, while Goddard looks to avenge last year’s defeat to Carlsbad and regain a winning record.

Carlsbad at Goddard
In a trap game, the Goddard Rockets cannot afford to overlook the Carlsbad Cavemen. This is a defining game for the Rockets in Week 3. The key goal will be to play physical on the O and D-lines.
The Rocket’s cannot afford to lose this game at home to a team that is averaging seven points a game. Goddard has plans to come out and methodically attack the defense of the Cavemen. Look for this to be a stat-stuffer game for the Rockets with running backs rushing for their career best against a beat up Carlsbad team.
Fourth-year head coach Gary Bradley has shown flashes of being able to turn around the Cavemen, going 4-6 last season. In a pivotal year for his team and perhaps his coaching career, if the Cavemen continue their slide, they could have a new coach on the sideline next season. Bradley is pointing to this game as a winnable game to turn the season around having defeated the Rockets at home last season, 31-27.
Carlsbad has opened its season playing to powerhouse teams. In the season opener, the Cavemen lost at home to Artesia, 34-0. The Bulldogs unleashed a passing attack with senior quarterback Taylor Null throwing for 274 yards and two TDs. On the ground, Carlsbad gave up 106 rushing yards to Artesia running back Robert Fernandez along with two TDs. The ‘Dogs had the Cavemen off balance all night, giving up 401 total yards.
Last week, Carlsbad played Clovis, a team that was opposite of the pass-heavy Bulldogs. Clovis managed to run the ball at the Cavemen to a tune of 364 yards on 48 rushing attempts. The Wildcats had two players rush for over 100 yards as they defeated the Cavemen, 34-14. The Cavemen in their first two weeks have given up over 400 yards each game of total offense.
Coach Chris White looks to get his troops back on top after suffering a tough loss last week to Piedra Vista, 30-7. The game was played tougher than the score indicated.
In their first game against Capital, Goddard won 19-6 behind a workman-like performance on both sides of the ball. On defense, the Rockets intercepted the ball three times, while throwing two interceptions.

Roswell at Hobbs
Last season, Roswell’s coach Jeff Lynn’s “Waterloo” moment finally happened as he was able to break through Hobbs with a 42-37 victory at home. Lynn knows what to expect as he will be facing the New Mexico player of the week in senior quarterback Gavin Hardison. Hardison threw the ball on Artesia for 622 yards and seven TDs last week, and made several clutch plays in knocking off the No. 1-ranked team in the state. Hobbs only ran the ball 12 times in the game against the Bulldogs, two of the runs coming on scrambles on fourth down to keep the ball and run out the clock.
“I think their quarterback may be the best in the state,” Lynn said. “I think we have to be aware of their soft spots their receivers find in defenses.”
Roswell must look out for the Eagle punter faking a rugby-style kick. If there is an opening in the line of scrimmage, he will run the ball, even deep in his own territory. Their kicker ran the ball on fourth and 10 at their own 19-yard line for a first down last week against Artesia. The Eagles used that momentum to convert three fourth downs and score.
The Eagles are a quick strike team that looks for the deep ball. One of Hardison’s favorite targets is Alec Finney. Finney has a knack of getting behind the defense for a big play. When they throw the ball inside the hashmarks, look for Hardison to find Semaj Cotton.
The Eagles are prone to commit penalties. Last week, they had 14 penalties for 150 yards.
Roswell should be able to run against the Eagle defense since they have a bend-but-don’t-break-mentality. Look for a strong dose of the dynamic duo of Gabriel Najar on the inside and Brandon Perez on the outside. This game should be the District 4-5A Game of the Week.

Dexter at Hagerman
Dexter third-year coach Kevin Graham seems to have righted the ship after a season opening 28-14 loss to Santa Rosa. The Santa Rosa game may be one Dexter looks back on at the end of the season and says, “if.” With the rest of the schedule to play, there is a strong chance of going undefeated the rest of the season, if the Demons take care of business against the rebuilding Hagerman Bobcats.
On paper, this looks like a mismatch, but any time The Battle of the Bridges is on the line, you can throw out the records.
“We are a young team still trying to figure out our identity,” Graham said. “Hagerman is always a big week around here. Throw the records out the window. We know we had better bring our A game. What’s happened in the past is just that … we know we better be ready to play.”
Hagerman came up on the short end of things after being shut out by Capitan in the first game of the season, 48-0. Last week, Hagerman nearly won against Loving, falling 34-32.
“We know that playing a top team like the Demons is only going to prepare us mentally and physically for our district at the end of the year,” Olivas said.
In order to pull off an upset, the Bobcats must contain Dexter quarterback Jarren Amaro, who is a dual threat to run or pass. Amaro is a heady player who can extend plays with his legs as well as with his arm. Look for the Dexter defense to continue to build upon last week’s shutout against Texico, as the Demons round into form heading into district play. If the Demons decide to make it a ground game, look for the workhorse to be Nick Cobos.

Valencia at Artesia
This game features the highly rated Artesia Bulldogs likely to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting Valencia Jaguars. Last year’s meeting was 49-0, and it could be worse this year. Valencia third-year coach Collin Justiss has to be feeling like the lamb going to slaughter most weeks.
Look for the ‘Dogs to spread the Jaguars out and throw the ball on quick slants to AJ Estrada, and to hand the ball off to Robert Fernandez. Valencia does not have the offensive skill positions to match up with the Bulldogs. On offense, if Valencia is to have any chance to win, they must run the ball and eat up the clock.
Last week, the ‘Dogs were fooled by a fake punt, with Hobbs faking a kick at their own 20-yard line. For Valencia to have any hope, they must do that and more. This game could be over by halftime, with coach Henderson getting younger players experience for next year.

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Taos at NMMI
The Colts of New Mexico Military Institute have had a rough start in the 2017, losing both games 50-0 in mercy rule games on the road.
“Our biggest thing is to continue to get work on getting better,” said NMMI head coach Randy Montoya, when asked about the key points for the first home matchup of the season tonight against the 2-0 Taos Tigers.
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves right now,” he said. “Last week, I thought we lined up defensively a whole lot better and were better prepared with regards to each position’s assignments. We just need to continue to work on technique and tackling. Offensively, we’re still working on finding the right players and backfield combination.”
NMMI did have some key injuries on the line last week, and Montoya is hopeful those “bigs” will be back tonight against Taos, especially considering the large lineman of the Tigers and their style of play.
“Taos runs their offense mainly out of the I formation,” Montoya explained. “They like to run a lot of leads right at you and they do a great job of blocking. They’ve got some big boys up front offensively and defensively that are able to move the pile, a tailback that is a good, hard runner, and a fullback that knows how to block well. They’re not much into razzle-dazzle, they’d much prefer to run the ball straight up the middle, but they do have a pair of wide receivers who can go up and make a catch if and when they decide to pass. Defensively they like to clog up the middle with their big front line, giving their linebackers and secondary freedom to pursue the ball.”
Montoya said his team just needs to improve each week.
“There ain’t no doubt that our young players are trying their hardest, and we’re shuffling some guys around to try and figure out what’s the best fit for the team,” Montoya said. “This upcoming game is a chance to figure out more pieces to that puzzle and get ready for district.”

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