Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
In last year’s game between Carlsbad and Goddard, it resulted in a tie, 0-0. This game sent one team’s fortunes swinging downward and another upward. This game means everything early — it set the tone for Goddard to have a special season. A simple tie wasn’t a win or lose, it was a tie. Do you know what they say about a tie? It’s like kissing your sister.
Goddard would use that as motivation to go undefeated until the last week of the season before losing to eventual district and state champion Roswell. Carlsbad coach Gary Bradley doesn’t care about stats just to win, but he hasn’t done enough of that in the previous four seasons he’s been at Carlsbad.
Under Bradley, his teams have not won a district title nor have they had a winning season. Don’t get it twisted — this is a big game for both teams, which could have playoff implications toward the end of the season for both teams. Bradley has not won his district or more than four games in his time at Carlsbad.
Fans should not expect this year’s game to come down to weather like last year. But that is a falsehood: it will come down to the weather. This year with the heat being a record 111 degrees this past week in Roswell, look for this game to come down to conditioning.
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Last week Goddard overpowered a St. Pius X team they were bigger than, and this week, it will be strength on strength, muscle on muscle, size versus size. In other words, the game will be won and lost at the line of scrimmage, plain and simple. Goddard rotated their players on both sides of the ball to keep them fresh as they wore down the smaller St. Pius X. Look for Goddard to try to do that this game.
Last year’s game, it seemed like whichever team that scored first might win the game, but the game was called on account of lightning in the area. They reset the 30-minute clock four times and it was past 10 p.m. before they called the game.
Goddard will run their usual offense with an array of athletes carrying the ball. Robert Aragon started at quarterback and there were a host of running backs that carried the ball. In the game against the Sartans, every running back ran hard whether he was stopped for no gain, a little gain or a big gain until they finally broke a long run Sammy Zaragoza pop a big 67-yard TD run.
Goddard wants to wear an opponent down and win the game. Goddard isn’t into style points, but they will have to throw the ball more than eight times to have any chance of winning this game. The offense will have to be able to keep teams from stacking the box on them this season.
Look for Goddard to continue to unleash the speed of Connor Villalpando, who took the opening kickoff back 91 yards to start the game. This will be a physical game and if the Rockets have any chance to win, they will have to continue their run-stuffing ways — their defensive line will have to be stout against the run.
Carlsbad opened the season at home last week winning the Eddy County War as they defeated Artesia 48-35. Carlsbad almost sees a reflection of itself when they line up against Goddard — smash mouth football against smash mouth football. Both teams are run-heavy, except that the Cavemen run their formations out of the pistol and spread.
The Cavemen will return at quarterback Kaden Smith. Smith is a cagey quarterback — he will take his time and let the play develop in front of him. He’s never in a hurry to make a decision. He will wait until the defense shows what they’re going to do. When he does make a decision, it is usually the right choice. He is like having a coach on the field.
Last week, the Cavemen’s offensive line recorded 20 pancake blocks against Artesia. They did not allow a sack and Smith was hurried once on the night. The line is the strength of the team after losing a pair of offensive linemen in Taylor Miterko who went to Oklahoma State University and Jake Long. This year’s key offensive lineman is senior Darius Chavarria, who is 6-foot-2 and weighs 290 pounds.
Look for Carlsbad to run Jordyn Barker, Jevin Valdez and Nate Najar as their feature running backs out of the pistol and spread offense. Carlsbad ran for over 300 yards last week against Artesia, while only passing the ball 10 times.
On defense, look for Carlsbad’s defensive ends Shamar Smith and Xavier Ingram to put pressure on the Goddard offense. Last week, both ends had two sacks. Normally, Carlsbad comes out in a 34-43 defense, but look for them to run a 52 or a 44 this week to try and put more pressure on Goddard’s running game. Carlsbad also intercepted the ball twice in the game.
It should be an interesting game as Goddard comes in as the No. 3-ranked team in 5A, according to the New Mexico Activities Association.
If you’re wanting offense and fireworks, this is going to be the game to be at. Roswell is the No. 1 team in 5A after they throttled Ruidoso last week, 53-13. The score could have been worse if not for two touchdowns being called back.
Lovington is the No. 3 team in 4A and they just ran Chaparral off the field last week in their home opener. In week two, Roswell once again travels to Lovington in a venue they played at last season. Last year, coach Anthony Gonzales had some injuries and was missing some players. In his fourth season, he has the Wildcats on an up trajectory as they went 6-6 last year and played in the semifinal game.
On offense, it will start with all-state quarterback Casey Perez. They will run out of a spread offense and look to get the ball to their outside receivers Ayden Garcia, Isaac Hinson and Tayten Hilliard.
“Our skill position players are playing well at the moment,” Lovington coach Anthony Gonzales said. “Our outside receivers Ayden Garcia, Isaac Hinson and Tayten Hilliard are doing a great job of blocking on the perimeter, which is most important to use but is also making the most of their possessions. Hinson is our inside slot receivers, we have three guys that have given us great reps — Julian Fuentes, Adam Aguilera and Tony Cabello.”
Fuentes was a starter last year on defense but has transitioned to an offensive starter. Cabello and Aguilera are both sophomores. In the backfield, Brian Tapia will be the starting tailback, Kalob Franco is his back up. Tapia is a returning starter from last year — he was first-team all-state as a slot receiver.
To make it all work, look for them to return four players to the offensive line: Lucas Tarin at the center is a three-year starter and was all-state last year. Carlos Delarosa is a three-year starter at right tackle. Alex Tramell, a junior, is a returning two-year starter and all-state as well. Justin Hazel is the other guard that started last year as a sophomore. The other new starter to the offensive line is a transfer from Niceville, Florida — Antonio Anderson.
On defense, look for Lovington to run a 43 with key starters returning: Tarin at defensive end, Delarosa at defensive end, Tapia and Garcia at the corner. Enrique Gonzalez is a returning starter at inside linebacker. Tres Arreola and Marcus Rodriguez will start at the outside linebacker spot. The one weak spot for the Wildcats is in their defensive backfield with starting safety Tayten Hilliard who started last year as a freshman. Julian Fuentes is the other safety that started for Lovington as outside linebacker last year and was an all-district player.
On special teams, Lovington looks to play aggressive schemes. They try to use special teams to complement what they do offensively and defensively.
“It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to play the defending 5A state champions,” Gonzales said. “Coach Lynn does an outstanding job of getting his kids to play at a very high level. His team is a ‘championship’ type of team.”
Last year, Roswell just out and out embarrassed Lovington at home, 56-14. Roswell coach Jeff Lynn will not let his team fall into the trap of thinking all they have to do is show up. Lovington has some playmakers that are a year older and their offensive lines are more solid and battle-tested this year than when they played Roswell in the second game of the season.
Look for Lynn to play players one way while mixing in ballhawks Joel Sanchez and Jasia Reese in the defensive backfield. On the front seven, Zach Buckmister, Isaac Hurst and Gabriel Garcia opened eyes as they didn’t stay blocked last week against Ruidoso. As linebacker, Armando Silva is able to get to the ball carrier on running plays.
On offense, the new names Coyote fans will be hearing about if they stay healthy are Joel Renteria, Talon Sanders and Dominic Nava, who is able to throw the ball to tall-framed Alonzo Acosta who will then go up and get the ball to run the slant. Roswell air raid offense is able to throw the slip screen to “Mr. Everything” Joel Sanchez who is able to take it all the way. This year’s deep threat is Reese, who has added 20 pounds of muscle and not lost any of his speed. For the tough yards, look for hard running Roderick Sedillo to get the call.
“They have great schemes in every phase of the game,” Gonzales said, “but that is not what makes that program elite. It is the fanatical effort that their kids play with every single snap. We must match that effort. Roswell is very explosive all over the field. I am very impressed with their offensive line, especially both of their offensive tackles. They (Roswell) remind me of Victor Bolanos’ extremely physical players. Their defensive ends I know are returning starters and are very good edge defenders.”
Lynn felt like his team could have done a lot of things better against Ruidoso. Lynn hopes his team has cleaned them up before this game.
“This is probably the best Lovington team I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Lynn said. “The big difference is up front, they’re bigger than they normally are. This is the most physical Lovington team I have seen in quite a while and it’s the best Lovington team I’ve seen. I think Lovington is the favorite in 4A.”
“Looking forward to the opportunity to play football against the defending 5A state champions,” Gonzales said,” his Friday night at home. “Going to be an electric environment. Can’t wait.”
Dexter will become the road warriors as they play the next three games on the road. It starts this week when they take their No. 1-ranking on the road to face Texico. Last week, Dexter shut out Santa Rosa at home 28-0 limiting them to less than 100 yards of total offense. Texico has a new coach in Bob Gilbreath who has spent the better part of his coaching career in the metroplex in Dallas/Forth Worth, Texas. He is originally from Clovis where he played on the 1984 state championship football team.
Gilbreath takes over a program that has fallen on hard times in recent years. He did win his first game as coach last week with a 37-16 win over Jal. To get his second win, he will have to beat the state defending champions in Dexter.
“I know they’re a tremendous football team,” Gilbreath said. “Their kids play extremely hard and they are confident in what they do. Dexter executes really well and we are going to have to play well to compete with them.”
Look for the Wolverines to run the spread on offense, they use Brennen Davis as a tight end and an H-back, as well. They will run motions and shifts to try to get the defense out of position. The quarterback, Ben Loewen is a senior. On short yardage, they will run a single-wing package — look for them to get the ball to Cade Collins — he scored three touchdowns last week. Texico had three receivers that touched the ball last week.
On defense, they will base out of a 4-2-5. One of their main players is sophomore Brennen Davis. Josh Myers had 16 tackles as a middle linebacker. Their defensive line is athletic — they are not big but they move well.
Dexter has found a replacement at the quarterback position for Jarren Amaro, in Marvin Johnson, Jr. He gives them a threat on offense, as he scored twice.
“He’s pretty quick,” Dexter coach Arturo Duran said. “In fact, he played very well. I’m happy with our team, there’s nothing you can ask from your team than what mine did in the first game.”
The New Mexico Military Institute Colt football team opened up their season last week with a 23-19 win on the road against Fort Sumner, a team that handed them a shutout loss at the start of last season, 48-0.
Head NMMI coach Randy Montoya said the win was a result of persistent effort, especially late.
“I was proud of our overall effort and I really liked the way that we finished the game. In that first game of the season, you’re always worried about how your team is going to perform in the fourth quarter,” said Montoya. “Our offensive line was able to make holes for our running backs late in the game — I was definitely pleased with that.”
Only giving up 19 points in their first contest, the Colt defense played well against the Foxes, too. But coach Montoya said that although the defense swarmed the ball well, the secondary needed to do a much better job when they travel to Capitan to take on the Tigers on Friday.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” said the eighth-year NMMI head coach. “They saw our secondary last week, so we need to be a little bit more prepared this week. We’ve been working hard to do that and added a couple of things to our defense to try and slow down the passing game and help out our defensive backfield.”
Capitan dropped their first game of the season at home vs. Hagerman, 16-8, and Montoya knows they’ll be hungry for a win.
Capitan has several returning players from last year’s team that went 2-8, including a big, hard-running senior in the backfield. Stopping that ground game will be a major key, but the Tigers like to spread the field and will throw the ball often.
On defense, Capitan tends to stick with man-to-man coverage in the secondary and rely on the large bodies they’ve got on the line.
“That means our offensive linemen are going to have their hands full,” said Montoya, “but hopefully we are up to the challenge.”
For the Colts’ offense, Montoya hopes this week to spread things out and give several backs a shot.
“I’ve always been a running coach — that’s always been my forte — but I’ve been trying to open up my playbook a little bit more, just because we have so many skilled kids,” said Montoya. “We need to try and get the ball into different hands just to see what they can do. But last week, it was a little bit wet, the ball was a little slippery, and I was a bit timid about opening things up too much. This week, hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to do that.”
Hagerman is hoping to win against Mescalero Apache like they did last year. Coach Guy Rivers doesn’t know much about them since this will be their first game of the season. Hagerman opened their season on the road against Capitan with a 16-8 victory.
Rivers is happy with his team’s performance and hoping to get better every week. He would love to stay injury-free.
“Our defense played well,” Rivers said.
Lake Arthur felt like last week his team turned the ball over too much. Lake Arthur had four fumbles and two interceptions. Coach Porras feels like his team has to hold their blocks to give their plays a chance.
On defense, the Panthers need to wrap up and fly to the ball.
“We have a young team,” Porras said. “The majority of the teams have experience. We have to continue to build. We are proud of this young group of men because of their effort and them stepping up and improving daily. We have to continue to build on the positives and learn from their experiences.”
Gateway is off this week.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or email@example.com.