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Servant’s heart leads Manzanares to Mr. Football award

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This year is not even a month old, and Roswell’s All-State linebacker Cade Manzanares is having a hard time keeping up with all of the good things coming his way. Manzanares continues to reap rewards from a senior year that had him helping lead his team to their first state title since 2000.

This past December he was selected All-District for the second time and was an All-State selection for the second time. He was also selected New Mexico Preps Linebacker of the Year. Last Sunday night, Manzanares won the Jim Bradley Fighting Coyote Memorial Award given to the Coyote football player that best represents the core values of being a Coyote football player.

On Wednesday, he verbally committed to Eastern New Mexico University to play football and earn his degree. If that wasn’t enough while on his way to workout, Joshua Grine of Rivals and NM Preps called Saturday at 5:30 a.m., to tell him he was selected by Rivals and NM Preps.com the winner of the 2018 New Mexico Mr. Football award. The award is given to the most valuable player in the state of New Mexico.

“We’re just extremely humbled,” Meghan Manzanares, Cade’s mother said. “We are grateful for the opportunities he has had. We are proud of him for his hard work. This is truly an honor for Cade (Manzanares) and us to be in that realm of athletes and the first linebacker ever to win the award.”

Manzanares becomes the first Coyotes player and the first defensive player in the state to take home the highest football honor in New Mexico. Artesia’s quarterback Landry Jones won the first two awards in 2006-07. The award is voted on by coaches, media members and New Mexico Preps and their staff.

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Manzanares sees this award as a way to give God glory and attributes any success he has had on the field and off as a way to honor God. Cade and his Mother, Meghan, are not afraid to stop no matter where they are to pray and ask for God’s guidance and protection. His parents, Joe and Meghan, have tried to raise him to put God first, before football or anything else, to treat people kind and to live with integrity.

“When I saw that news at 5:30 a.m., it woke me up right away,” Cade Manzanares said. “I tried to lead the team the best that I could. I didn’t have the best statistics in the state, but I made sure I was the best leader for my team.”

Cade Manzanares credits his chemistry with his coaches for him having a better senior season. He really connected with defensive coach Arturo Bolanos. With Bolanos, it is more personal since they have known each other since he was young.

The Coyotes’ Cade Manzanares jumps on a loose ball after Roswell forces the fumble in this photo from Oct. 19 at Artesia. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

“I think I was more of a servant than a leader this year,” Cade Manzanares said. “Anytime my team needed something I did it. If I had to eat up the block for someone else to make the tackle I did it. Or if I had to go lead block for Jasia Reese I would do it so he could go get the touchdown. Little things and being a servant for my team helped make me the best leader I could be for my team.”

According to Roswell coach Jeff Lynn, the difference between this season and last season was when they had their end of the season meeting — he and his coaches challenged Cade to get faster and quicker. Lynn felt that Cade always had the intelligence to play inside linebacker and to be in a position to make plays but he was lacking the quickness and speed to be able to catch players laterally or to run them down.

“Cade was always a physical player,” Lynn said, “he was always a good tackler and always smart and knew what he should be doing. The one thing he needed to improve on was his quickness and speed and he did that.”

Lynn knows that without good players he doesn’t win. He felt like Cade is well deserving of everything he is getting and has earned everything.

“He (Cade) is a great teammate,” Lynn said. “He works hard and is a great kid. From a coaching standpoint, you’d like to have 22 Cade’s. I think he is a true inside linebacker at the next level. For him to redshirt and for him to be able to get into the weight room and get stronger and then have four years to play, I think that’s exactly what Cade needs.”

One of Lynn’s favorite memories of Cade was when Goddard was driving the ball on his team, and they tried to throw a shovel pass. Cade hit the receiver about the time the ball got there causing a fumble that Roswell recovered.

Cade Manzanares had a senior year that future football seniors in Chaves County will dream about. Since these awards have happened to him they will know it’s possible to accomplish their dreams and goals as well as New Mexico Player of the Year.

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