This is going to be the biggest game in the history of Roswell-Goddard football. In the history of this rivalry, no one can remember when these two teams were in the same district and ranked No. 1 and No. 2 with so much riding on the outcome of one game. Roswell was the No. 1 team in the state until they played Cathedral, before Goddard took over the top spot, holding it since week five.
Except for bragging rights, this game will not matter. The teams — no matter who wins — will be ranked No. 1 and No. 2 entering the playoffs and not have to leave the friendly confines of the Wool Bowl. It also reasons that if both teams play up to their capabilities, they could end up facing off again either in the semifinal game — or if they are on opposite sides of the bracket, they could play for the championship game.
Last year, head coach Jeff Lynn saw his season end in Belen because of a penalty called on his team that took six points off the scoreboard and forced the Coyotes to play tough defense and play catch-up. In that game, Roswell had trouble stopping Diego Casillas as he rushed for 302 yards on 28 carries.
Roswell rallied, led by do-everything running back Gabe Najar. Roswell made a stop and was driving the ball until they fumbled on Belen’s 20-yard line with 30 seconds left to play, losing 27-20 in the game. Last season Roswell defeated Goddard 33-21, and won a playoff game over Aztec 42-35 at the Wool Bowl.
Roswell lost quarterback Michael Ponce, Robert Sedillo, Najar, Daniel Sosa, Auggie Lucero, Eddie Macias and Brandon Perez, along with All-Staters Christian Sanchez and Victor Bolanos.
This season the Coyotes have been bitten by the injury bug and have had to use the next-man-up mentality. This season coach Lynn wanted to play the most demanding non-conference schedule to get ready for district play. He believes that he had one of the toughest schedules he has ever played. This season, out of the 10 games on the Coyotes’ schedule, eight of the teams made the playoffs last year. Once again Roswell started a week behind the other area teams and had to play 10 consecutive weeks without a bye.
Roswell 56, Lovington 14
Roswell had to deal with the explosive Casey Perez at quarterback. Coming into the game Perez was a favored Player of the Year candidate in 4A. In this game, both New Mexico Preps and the Albuquerque Journal picked the Wildcats to upset Roswell.
Lovington began the game with an on-side kick that didn’t work as Roswell recovered. The theme for the game and season was big plays on defense and special teams, and a lot of Justin Carrasco.
Hobbs 42, Roswell 20
In a game that saw the Coyotes not able to stop the passing game of the Eagles, it was the running of Isaiah Vaughn, who scored on a 65-yard run with 3:17 left in the first quarter. Roswell came back on the next possession and threw a bubble screen to Dominic Nava from 19 yards out to tie the game at 7-7. In that game, Roswell had trouble stopping the run and getting off the field on third downs.
Roswell 42, Los Lunas 20
With many expecting the Coyotes to lose to Los Lunas after their performance against Hobbs, coach Lynn used the week of preparation to refocus his team. This was the breakout game for Joel Sanchez as he intercepted a pass one-handed. This game also introduced the Coyotes’ fans to the Starburst, as they returned a kickoff over 100 yards to retake the lead after Los Lunas scored. In this game, the defense shut down Los Lunas’ quarterback and offense.
Roswell 54, Miyamura 0
It didn’t take the Coyotes’ long to score — they scored on their first possession of the game. Roswell quarterback Ethan Valenzuela ran on the option to the boundary side of the field and before he was tackled, pitched it to Carrasco — who sprinted 40-yards for the first score of the game. This was Roswell’s Homecoming game and they could have ended it before halftime, but came out after the half and scored to end the game in a mercy rule finish.
Roswell 35, Belen 8
In a game that turned into a physical affair, Roswell ended up stopping reigning Offensive Player of the Year Diego Casillas for a quiet night. Belen threw some different formations and ran some different players at the Coyotes, but they held on to win the game.
Roswell 55, Cathedral 6
Roswell took to the road and played the Cathedral Fighting Irish. Cathedral is a small private school that won their conference last season, but they had nothing for Roswell. Asia Reese returned a punt 60 yards for a TD as the route was on, to improve to 5-1 on the season. This is the game when Roswell fell from the No. 1 team to No. 2 team, according to Max Preps.
Roswell 26, Piedra Vista 14
In a game that was tough and close throughout, Roswell closed out Senior Night with a workmanlike victory. In that game, Roswell threw three interceptions, and lost one fumble and had another penalty, taking points off the board.
Once again the Coyotes’ special teams scored on a 60-yard punt return by Jasia Reese as he made two blockers miss and outran another into the end zone to put the Coyotes up 6-0. This game also revealed a trick play and the Coyotes faked a punt. At the snap, senior linebacker Cade Manzanares faked like he was going to run the ball and at the last second, before a defender could get to him, he threw a pass to Jesus Molina who ran to Piedra Vista’s 24-yard line to set up another score.
Artesia 36, Roswell 35
In a game that saw both teams take the lead, Roswell once again returned a kickoff for an 80-yard touchdown to tie the score. This was a playoff-type game in district. Coyote coach Jeff Lynn was ejected after his team failed to convert on fourth down with 31 seconds left. Lynn’s penalty was that he couldn’t coach the Alamogordo game.
What had upset Lynn more than anything was that during the game Artesia’s band was playing when they had the ball and the officials never called a penalty on them, or forced them to quit. But on the extra point, with Roswell leading 35-34, Artesia’s Clay Houghtaling was the holder and picked up the ball and was looking for a receiver in the corner of the end zone and a receiver running a drag route. Both receivers were covered, Houghtaling tucked the ball under his arms and ran into the end zone to convert the two-point conversion to win the game.
Roswell 56, Alamogordo 21
Roswell played without head coach Jeff Lynn, who was serving a one-game suspension. Interim head coach Arturo Bolanos picked up his first win and played a lot of younger players to give them experience for the future.
Alamogordo scored first to take a 7-0 lead. Roswell came back as quarterback Ethan Valenzuela threw a 15-yard pass to Joel Sanchez. Then the scoring barrage began as the Coyotes’ special teams scored when Jasia Reese took it to the house for a 70-yard punt return. On the next possession, Valenzuela threw another TD pass for 31 yards to Sanchez, and the route was on.