Home Sports Local Sports Goddard ranked No. 1 team in state

Goddard ranked No. 1 team in state

This is the week both schools have waited for all year. The No. 1 team in District 4-5A will play the No. 2 team and rival Roswell Friday night. (David Rocha Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Before we get to Friday night, it is nice to take the fans on the culmination of a long season and revisit how we got to this point, before the two schools go at it later this week. Today, we will look back at how the Rockets ended last season, which affected this season, and take sports fans on a week-by-week capsule of how they did this season to end up as the No.1-ranked team in District 4-5A and what to expect briefly on Friday night. Roswell Daily Record sports speculates what will happen to both teams regardless of winning or losing Friday.

Can’t decide who to cheer for like Jim Waldrip? No problem, he cheered for both schools, just look at his jacket. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

On Tuesday, we will do the same with the Roswell Coyotes. Roswell will enter the game as the No.2 team in the state. RDR hopes to have commentary from some fans — fans on the street and administrators that have played in the game for both teams.

At the end of last season, things did not look good for the Rockets’ football program, as they had lost four games in a row. They lost to rival Roswell for the second consecutive season and despite their four-game slide, they were able to make the playoffs. Once in, Goddard lost a tough game to Aztec, 34-27.

In the offseason, the Rockets worked and pulled together doing some different things that would help them in the season. Now all their hard work is showing on the field. This season head football coach Chris White has pushed all of the right buttons to remain undefeated.

The Rockets had concerns when they lost all-state performers in lineman Jon Flores and Diego Miranda along with the scrappy Tyler Hoover. What a difference a season makes. The good news is that no matter what happens Friday night, the worst Goddard can do is tie for the district crown. I’m sure there may be a tiebreaker formula that I don’t know about if Goddard, Roswell and Artesia all end up 2-1 in district play. The best Goddard can do is win the district outright by going 3-0.

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This season has seen the emergence of Player of the Year candidate Dalton Bowles who rushed for 45 times for 415 yards against Artesia on Friday night. Other players have stepped in such as Robert Aragon, Connor Downs, Sammy Zaragoza and others with key receptions from Hunter Beene. Nothing would be possible for the Rockets without the play of both the offensive and defensive lines that have come up big during this undefeated season.

Each game during their streak, the Rockets have gotten big plays from a different player each time to keep the streak going. While playing the teams on their schedule, third-year coach Chris White will get votes for Coach of the Year after going undefeated and beating Artesia twice out of the last three years they have played them.

While there is more work to do for the Rockets, there are only a couple of things left on White’s bucket list and the next thing would be a win over Roswell on Friday — to play in and win a championship game. In the next month, White has a chance to turn a good season into a dream season with some wins and a Blue Trophy.

No matter what happens on the last game of the season, a big difference from last season to this season is that last year Goddard was the No.11 seed entering the playoffs and they had to travel to Farmington to play the Aztecs. On Friday, win, lose or draw, the Rockets in all likelihood will not have to leave the Wool Bowl and should enter the playoffs as the No.1 team.

It is very likely that Roswell will stay the No.2 team no matter what happens on Friday and play their games at the Wool Bowl as well. Both teams could end up on the same side of the brackets and play each other in the semifinal game, or they could be in opposite brackets and if they each take care of business and win out, they could meet in the championship game.

Goddard 48, St. Pius X 13

Goddard opened the home season against the Spartans with a crushing running game. Before the game, a good luck symbol appeared for the Rockets as a rainbow flashed over the Rockets’ end of the field. In a matter of minutes, another rainbow appeared in the opposite end of the end zone. Goddard was scored upon when St. Pius X’s quarterback threw a 65-yard pass to Isaiah Griffin on the second play of the game. Goddard came back and used a punishing 14-play drive to score when Bowles used a fake into the line of scrimmage and threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior Connor Downs in the back of the end zone. Goddard’s defense settled down and held the Spartans to only one touchdown and that was toward the end of the game.

Goddard 0, Carlsbad 0

The Rockets traveled to Ralph Bowyer Stadium in Carlsbad and was given the knockout by lightning. Neither team scored.

Goddard 28, Deming 16

Goddard got an unexpected surprise and one-hand catch from first-year football player Jonah Chavez as he scored a 28-yard touchdown in the first quarter while the defense hung on to win.

Goddard 28, Portales 0

Goddard used their punishing running game and solid defense to shutout Portales.

Goddard 28, Los Lunas 27

To date, this is their first game in which Goddard’s defense was called upon to make a stand and win the game. Goddard sent Los Lunas’ starting quarterback out of the game and ended up needing to score to force overtime. In overtime, Goddard scored a rushing TD and added the PAT to take a 28-21 lead.

When Los Lunas got the ball back, they scored and made the score 28-27. Instead of acting like they were going for a field goal, their coach, Jeremy Maupin let his offense out on the field and went for it. Once the ball was snapped, their quarterback did a run-pass option and was looking for a receiver in the corner of the end zone and another on a drag route. Both receivers were covered and the quarterback had to run the ball and was tackled short of the goal line. Goddard hung onto win 28-27 for their first real test of the season.

Goddard 49, Lovington 28

In a game that had all the makings of a grudge match, it was not to be as the Rockets once again put the Wildcats’ quarterback Casey Perez out of the game forcing Lovington to use a backup quarterback. Robert Aragon raced 65 yards in the first quarter to give the Rockets a lead in the first quarter. Tino Rubio caught a 32-yard pass from Bowles to give the Rockets a 14-0 lead as the route was on. Goddard imposed their will on Lovington to win the game.

Goddard 22, Santa Teresa 8

In a game that featured unbeaten teams at the time, the field was nothing but a muddy, sloppy field to play on. Goddard controlled the clock and the ball to win an easy game. In this game speedster, Robert Aragon raced 83-yards for a touchdown. Also, in this game, Jonah Chavez caught a touchdown pass from Bowles to end the scoring.

Goddard 47, Alamogordo 0

Goddard ran over, around and through to win. The defense was the key in shutting out the Tigers. In this game, Robert Aragon would break a 71-yard run and Nate Stone would catch a TD on a pass from Bowles. Backup quarterback Marcos Hernandez would run for a TD.

Goddard 31, Artesia 28

In their second biggest test of the season, Goddard ran starting quarterback Dalton Bowles 45 times for 415 yards with carries by Sammy Zaragoza. Once again the Rockets put another quarterback out of the game with their punishing defense as Artesia’s quarterback Trent Taylor was injured on a scoring play but a holding call by Clay Houghtaling took points off the board. Houghtaling would come in as quarterback to finish the game.

Goddard’s defensive back Jonah Chavez made the play of the game when he made a one-handed interception at the Rockets’ 15-yard line with 6:57 to go in the game. Goddard’s offense controlled the ball and clock driving it to Artesia’s one-yard line before calling timeout with seven seconds left and trotted out Jacob Wieser for a 19-yard field goal with five seconds left in the game to win it.