Home Sports Local Sports 101918 Fantastic football Friday preview

101918 Fantastic football Friday preview

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In this file photo, the Rockets play in a matchup with Los Lunas. Goddard plays against Alamogordo at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Wool Bowl. (Steve Notz Photo)

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There is no doubt that district play is here. Here is where the football teams separate themselves from pretenders to contenders. All of the top six teams with the No.1 Goddard Rockets, the No.2 Roswell Coyotes, No.3 Artesia, No.4 Los Lunas, No.5 Piedra Vista and No.6 Santa Teresa have all played each other or will play each other, and may play each other again in the postseason.

With three games to go in district play, look for Goddard to roll. Alamogordo comes to town with an upset on their mind after they defeated Chaparral 35-0 last week for their first win of the season. Alamogordo head coach AJ Cisco is trying to get his program off the ground — it has and will take time as he has won only one game in his second year.

The Tigers are big up front and want to run the ball and try and control the clock. They will be no match for the swarming defense that Coach Chris White has gotten better and better as the season goes along. The Rockets have hung their hat on defense all season long and have even stopped a 2-point conversion against Los Lunas to preserve the win.

“It’s the first district game of the season,” Goddard coach Chris White said. “It is a big game and they (Alamogordo) are coming off of a bye week. You never know what to expect, they’re a run first team that runs out of a heavy formation.”

Goddard’s offense has a running back by committee and the Tigers don’t know who to prepare for or try and stop. Coach White rotates his back in and out to keep them fresh. Quarterback Dalton Bowles is having an all-state caliber year. Bowles is the team’s leader and go-to guy to make the right read, run or pass as the season has gone on. His senior leadership has propelled them to where they are now.

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“We’ve taken care of business up to this point,” White said. “District starts a new season. We just need to keep executing and try to keep the train on the tracks.”

Roswell at Artesia

Coach Jeff Lynn couldn’t be more relaxed on the eve of perhaps the biggest game of his high school coaching career. This is the year where push will come to shove. He has beaten Artesia once and now he has perhaps his best chance to close the deal tonight.

What the Coyotes will have to do is shut down the passing attack of Artesia, yet shut down the rushing attack of Jagger Donaghe. Artesia’s starting quarterback was injured and they have had to play another quarterback, and coach Rex Henderson said they could play both quarterbacks tonight.

“We’re making progress each week,” Artesia coach Henderson said. “We started out with the two losses early and all three of our losses are to 6A teams. We were competitive in all three games, but we couldn’t close on any of them. We learned a lot. The thing that I’m concerned with is the speed of Roswell. We are going to have to make sure the first guy that gets there tackles the ball and not let them get big plays or it could be a long night.”

Lynn noted that his district has yet to lose to another 5A school in the state.

“It is going to be interesting,” Lynn said. “We want to keep the big picture in mind.”

Artesia has lost to Carlsbad, Hobbs and Cleveland — all 6A teams.

“Artesia is a big game,” Lynn said. “This is a big game, and this is bigger than other games we play. It should be fun.

Hagerman at Jal

Hagerman is ranked No.8 — the highest they have been ranked this late in the season in the last two years. They have a shot at Jal.

“I think it is going to be a dogfight,” Hagerman coach Guy Rivers said.

Look for Jal to run the ball and run the ball and run the ball. They don’t kickoff, they will onside and onside and try to recover and run the ball.

Dexter at NMMI

Dexter is the No.2 ranked team in 3A. They will take on the surprising NMMI football team at NMMI. NMMI will use different formations but coach Randy Montoya has broken out the wishbone and will try to power it behind his athletic offensive line.

Dexter’s coach Arturo Duran wants his team to also control the clock. In the games they have lost, they were taken out of their possession game and forced to play catch up. This game will come down to who wants it more and what team is in better condition.

“It is going to be a good game,” Duran said. “We have our work cut out for us.”

Gateway Christian at Melrose

The last time these teams met, it was on Warrior Field in 2016. It was where the Warriors lost the championship game. This year it is different, the Warriors are the class of 8-man football.

“We will have to execute well,” Warrior coach Shaun Wigley said. “Melrose is a disciplined team and well coached.”