Home Sports Local Sports Sierra looks to upset Berrendo for title

Sierra looks to upset Berrendo for title

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Mesa Middle School takes on Mountain View for third-place in the city football championship today. Undefeated Berrendo looks to defeat Sierra for a third time to win the City Championship today in DeBremond Stadium at 3 p.m. (David Rocha Photo)

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The only team the Sierra Eagles have not been able to defeat this season is the Berrendo Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have defeated the Eagles twice this season, 18-12. In the first game, it went into triple overtime, Berrendo’s quarterback threw a touchdown pass into the back of the end zone to beat the Eagles. That loss was the first game of the season for the Eagles.

In the second game against the Bulldogs (6-0), Sierra coach, Gary Thorne did not feel like his team lost due to the officiating aiding his teams, 18-12 loss.

“We should have won the second game, to be honest with you,” Sierra coach Thorne said. “I’ve run high school and varsity ball. It’s not very many times you see me getting onto a referee, but that game I had many questions of how it went down.”

For the Eagles (4-2), to soar this time coach Thorne will run multiple formations with a feature of the option. Quarterback Adrian Beltrain.

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“Adrian (Beltrain) has come a long way this season,” Thorne said. “When we first started running the option, he would always keep it, now he is looking forward to pitching the ball to his running backs. We are trying to build him into a leader.”

Coach Thorne loves the fact that his quarterback is not the biggest, but that he continues to win. Thorne thinks he has the winner’s gene, which allows him to rise in critical situations.

Mason Martinez is the Eagles’ fastest receiver. When the Eagles look to throw the ball, they want to try to get it deep to him. The Eagles have four capable running backs, and all will play. Coach Thorne likes to rotate his backs while keeping them fresh.

On defense, the Eagles will run a 52. The strongest part of the unit is the D-line.

Gerardo Sanchez, Eric Palma, Jose Martinez, Jeff Irish and Fabian Segovia have jelled into a cohesive unit. Once the ball is snapped, teams are having to account for each of those players who often find themselves in their opponent’s backfield.

“We have had only one game where they have run it up the middle on us,” Thorne said. “When we played Berrendo before, we shut down the middle and made them go outside on us.”

Coach Thorne is in his first year coaching the football team. He has coached track team, leading them to a state championship last year, and basketball for the Eagles. Thorne’s a 2015 Eastern New Mexico University graduate with a degree in physical education. He went to ENMU on a rodeo scholarship and competes on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (Turquoise Circuit) when he is not coaching or teaching.

In April 2014, Thorne’s life took an unexpected turn when a rodeo teammate’s life was taken from him right in front of his eyes. The incident happened right at Thorne’s feet. Rodeo teammate Irvyng Urquijo was practicing bull riding when the bull had just exited the chute and started to twirl. The bull bucked Urquijo back into the shoot and stepped on his chest, killing him.

Thorne feels like whatever he does in life, he wants to be all in. Rodeo is a sport in which the clock is winding down on him. At 25, he feels like his days are limited with a wife, Shelby, and newborn daughter (Westlyn Grace) born Oct. 13.

“When I practice rodeo to get better,” Thorne said, “I’m taking my life into my own hands. I’m practicing, and I could die right there. It’s happened before. People hear about Lane Frost, but it’s a whole different thing when it happens in front of you, such as with Urquijo. I love bull riding. It’s in my blood, so it is going to be hard to give it up.”

Because Thorne has lost one of his best friends, he transfers his love of life and competition to his kids. Thorne demands his kids give their best effort on every play and never let up. Thorne practices his team hard, so that when the game comes, they will be in condition and able to win.

“In my opinion, I’d rather be the underdog,” Thorne said. “I think Berrendo knows they slipped by us a couple of times. Sure, everybody wants to have that perfect record, but I’d like to destroy a perfect record and win the state championship, as well.”

The team’s motto is “All for One,” which means to hold everyone accountable in the classroom, at school, in the community, and on the football field. “All for One” on the field means if the unit does its job, the team will win games.

“I’ve got all the confidence in myself,” Thorne said. “I try to transfer that over to my kids. We know what that bitter taste of defeat tastes like this season. Berrendo doesn’t and they might think they have our number, and that’s what I want them to think. We are going to show up and hit them in the mouth and play good, hard football.”

The Football City Championship Game will be played at DeBremond Stadium, 3 p.m. today.