For third-year Goddard coach Chris White, his first two seasons probably weren’t up to his standards, or those of Goddard football either. Seasons of 6-5 and 4-7 were seasons of growing.
Maybe his first two seasons were the seasons White learned the most and did his best coaching.
Some days youth is served well — usually after youth has had to experience the school of hard knocks, losing games they should have won.
It all came together this year for coach White’s squad.
White showed that his way of coaching and power football are not out of date with the quick-strike spread offense. White’s philosophy never shined brighter than in two games when he was under pressure.
White’s team trailed Los Lunas by 14 points in the first quarter. White went for it on fourth-down repeatedly on a drive that would end up allowing them to score their first touchdown.
“I don’t care,” White said. “If we can’t get a yard on fourth-down, we might as well pack it in and go home. We’re going to get a yard playing Goddard football.”
Goddard would go on to win the game.
The second example of White’s faith in his team was when they got into a shootout with Artesia at the Wool Bowl.
Goddard’s Jonah Chavez stuck up his hand and intercepted a pass at the 15-yard line with 6:57 left in the fourth quarter.
Goddard ran the ball to Artesia’s one-yard line before junior kicker Jacob Wieser kicked a 19-yard field goal with five seconds to play in the game.
This win allowed Goddard to go undefeated until the final game of the season when they lost to Roswell in an instant classic.
Congratulations to coach White and his Goddard Rocket football team for providing the RDR’s No. 9 sports moment of the year.
Goddard wins as time expires, 31-28
From the Oct. 27. edition of the Roswell Daily Record
For Goddard, it wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy. In a year of comebacks it started with head coach Chris White, and then it trickled down to the players. Last year wasn’t up to the standards set at Goddard, but with the 31-28 win over 30-time defending state champion Artesia Bulldogs at the Wool Bowl Friday night, the No. 1 team in the state has cemented themselves as the top seed in the playoffs no matter what happens next Friday.
“The only thing that has mattered to us,” Goddard coach Chris White said, “is that we believe that we can win. The kids have bought in as you can see. I tell the kids all the time that we don’t have to win big to win, we just need to win by one point. Man, what do you say? We’re down several starters, we had some kids that stepped up and made plays.”
This season has been a season of superlative efforts from everyone on the team, which has made the ride all the more enjoyable. Goddard has been resilient no matter who they have played this season. This game was no different — three different players made plays that affected the game. The first was by a player that didn’t even play football last year, Jonah Chavez. Chavez is known for his exploits on the basketball court.
Artesia had the momentum after stopping Goddard on a fourth and eight at the Bulldogs 31-yard line as the quarterback threw a deep fade down the right sideline to Nate Stone that was incomplete. Artesia put together a drive and had the ball at Goddard’s 44-yard line as Artesia’s quarterback Clay Houghtaling came in and took over for starter Trent Taylor, whom Goddard knocked out in the first quarter.
Houghtaling threw the ball to his receiver who was running stride for stride with Chavez, at the 15-yard line Chavez stuck up his right hand and one-handed the ball shielding himself from the Bulldogs’ receiver to intercept the ball with 6:57 to go in the fourth quarter.
“Incredible,” White said. “I tell my players all the time, the best players make the biggest plays in the biggest games, and that’s who the kid is. He’s an incredible athlete and multi-sport kid.”
With 6:57 left in the game, Goddard had new life and the ball at their 15-yard line. The Rockets counted on two players that didn’t come off the field the entire game. Dalton Bowles and Sammy Zaragoza ran the ball as their offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and the clock.
“I didn’t think they (Goddard) would take up the whole clock,” Artesia coach Rex Henderson said. “I thought there would be some time left. They moved the ball in big chunks. I felt like we were playing better defensively. Bowles is good and their offensive line blocks really well for him.
This would be the last possession for either team as the Rockets marched the ball down to Artesia’s one-yard line. With the clock, tick, tick, ticking away, Goddard took their time walking to the line of scrimmage and running their plays as they covered 85 yards in that 6:57. Artesia could not stop the power-running game of Goddard.
Another big play on that drive was when Bowles threw a pass to Marcos Hernandez who converted for a first down. With Artesia helpless to stop the Rockets on offense, Bowles ran the ball to the one-yard line and moved it to the middle of the field as they called timeout with seven seconds left to play in the game. Goddard coach Chris White called upon junior Jacob Wieser.
“Some people don’t think we can kick a field goal,” White said. “I just have faith in the kids to grind that out until there was no time left. We were either going to score or JP was going to kick the field goal. He’s got range from 45 yards. From 20-25 yards in, he’s pretty solid.”
After the timeout, the ball was set down and both teams were lined up. Artesia’s coach Rex Henderson came running down the sidelines trying to get the officials’ attention — frantically calling timeout. None of the officials saw him or paid any attention as the kick was set down by the holder and Wieser kicked a 19-yard field goal as it sailed through the uprights with five seconds left to play to give them a 31-28 win.
“Nah,” Henderson said. “I mean you try to do whatever you can do to win. They’re on the one-yard line kicking the field goal, you know it’s like kicking an extra point. You know they are probably going to make it. They did a good job setting him ( Jacob Wieser) up in the middle of the field and getting it set up with no time left.”
Another key play in the game was when Goddard defensive back Marcos Hernandez laid out an Artesia receiver on third down forcing the Bulldogs to punt — the hit was so hard and forceful that he stood over the receiver to let him know who hit him. Artesia receiver was slow in getting up and that changed the momentum of the game in the third quarter as Goddard would get the ball back and go on to score.
The other big play for the Rockets was when they injured Artesia’s quarterback as they had scored but Houghtaling was called for holding on the play, starting quarterback Trent Taylor was tackled violently and had to leave the game at the end of the first quarter but the score was taken off the scoreboard making it third and 20. Goddard held and forced a punt.
“Last year was a rough year,” White said. “They absolutely destroyed us and embarrassed us last year. We didn’t forget that. The kids just come to work and have the attitude — the difference is night and day. We just have to keep winning — next week will be a bigger game than this week. We just have to go play it. I just think the best three teams in the state are right here in a 30-mile span or however far it is from here to Roswell — to Artesia to us. It is three really solid football teams that are going to have to battle it out. I’m proud of my kids.”
Score by quarters
Artesia 7-7-14-0- 28