For the fifth time in six years, the Colt football team made the state playoffs.
Under eighth-year head coach Randy Montoya, NMMI ended the regular season with a 6-4 overall record and earned the No. 10 seed, before being upended on the road in the first round of the Class 3A State Championships by seventh-seeded Hatch Valley, 44-21.
As part of that solid regular-season performance, 20 different Colt players earned 28 slots on this year’s All-District Team: five players and six spots on the first team; eight selections and 11 spaces on the second team; and 10 athletes and 11 places as Honorable Mentions.
“I thought we were represented very well on the first and second teams, especially considering we were third in our district and just how tough our district was,” said coach Montoya. “I’m just very pleased with how our kids performed and that they were recognized for their efforts.”
Of special note was the respect given to NMMI’s offensive line, with all five starters making the All-District squad. Juniors Colton Claypool and Riley Robertson were tapped to the first team, senior Zachary Martin and junior Andrew Oldfield made second team, and junior Aaron Gonzales garnered HM accolades.
“Our offensive line was definitely the backbone of our team this year,” explained Montoya. “Most of them started last season as sophomores, did the same again this year as juniors, and hopefully will all come back and start for us again next year. It’s so important because it all starts up front.”
Montoya also talked about the play and prowess of the Colts’ other first-team selections.
“[Senior] Jalil Brown made first team running back. When he was able to get loose into the secondary, he sure made things happen. [Junior linebacker] Arturo Cuen was the mainstay and leader of our defense this year. And [junior] Roberto Laporte made first team as defensive end, leading the team in sacks.”
In addition to the All-District honors, the Colts also had 18 players make the All-Academic team.
“I think this might be the most we’ve ever had on the All-Academic team.” said Montoya. “When a kid can take care of business in the corps, on the field, and in the classroom, that’s pretty special. It’s not easy earning academic accolades here at the Institute – I’m just very pleased with all of them.”
Graphics provided by NMMI Sports Press.