Home Sports Local Sports 101119 Fantastic football Friday preview

101119 Fantastic football Friday preview

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Goddard’s Robert Aragon (2) runs the ball during a game against Carlsbad earlier this season at the Wool Bowl. (Steve Notz File Photo)

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Let’s backtrack one year ago this week. Goddard had just been voted the No. 1 team in the state and then they had to play Santa Teresa on the road, a game they won, 22-8.

Goddard this year has one lost game and had some injuries to key players, which could make them vulnerable not only in this game, but for the rest of the season.

The 2018 Goddard High School Homecoming Court. Back row, from left: Freshmen Prince David Talavera, Junior Prince Ray Downs, King Connor Downs, Senior Prince Jonah Chavez and Sophomore Prince Samuel Zaragoza. Front row, from left: Freshmen Princess Joselyn Cornel, Junior Princess Ashlyn Bradshaw, Queen Tori Price, Senior Princess Ellen Paiz and Sophomore Princess Clarissa Simons. Tonight is homecoming for the Rockets at 7 p.m. against Santa Teresa at the Wool Bowl. (File Photo)

Goddard has Homecoming and takes on the undefeated Santa Teresa Desert Warriors. Goddard is ranked No. 2 in 5A and Santa Teresa is No. 10, which speaks to their strength of schedule, so a loss to the Desert Warriors would really hurt Goddard in the rankings. Santa Teresa, along with Roswell, are the only undefeated teams in 5A.

For Santa Teresa, this season is unlikely for them — their history has been to have a good season and a couple of bad years. Desert Warriors’ coach Shae Vierra is coming off a season in which they made the playoffs.

The Desert Warriors like to run the spread offense and they want to be physical. After graduating nine seniors on the offense this season, Santa Teresa relies on quarterback Matthew Lopez who has rushed for 491 yards and three TDs. Also carrying the load will be running back Adrian Rodriguez, who has the same 491 yards and four TDs.

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When they throw the ball, they look for receivers Isidro Talavera and Angel Jacobo.

This game will come down to a matchup of lines on both sides of the ball. In the game last year, Goddard physically controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage. Like Goddard, Santa Teresa has thrown the ball very few times this season — they average eight throws a game.

On defense, the Desert Warriors run a 4-2-5. In this game, they will walk up their ends and bring their defensive backs to crowd the line of scrimmage to try and stop the run. This is a must-win for Santa Teresa, which hopes to build their program in the vein of Roswell and Goddard. It will all start with the physicality on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Defensive end Sam Flores comes hard as he leads the team in tackles — with 34 solo and 14 assists — and sacks, with four.

This should be another workmanlike game from Goddard, but going forward they cannot afford penalties. In the Lovington game, the Rockets had three scores taken off the board because of penalties. Goddard will be able to get away with it in this game and next week, but not when they play against Artesia and Roswell and in the playoffs.

Big Blue’s defense continues to leave “GR” marks on opposing offenses. They have only given up 46 points this season. The defense is getting pushed up the middle with Micah Cheatem, Larry Luna, Caleb Burrell and Jesus Merino, and strong play from defensive ends Sammy Zaragoza, Timothy Burrell and Ray Downs.

Connor Villalpando and Fernando Rubio have been a force in stopping the run and Marcos Hernandez has been key in the defensive backfield.

On offense the team is finding their exquisite leadership in quarterback Robert Aragon — he has progressed as the season has gone along and gotten better at making reads and limiting the turnovers. One of his strengths is running the quarterback sneak for a 1-yard gain and turning it into a 57-yard gain or a 60-yard gain, as he has done the last two games Goddard has played.

Goddard used a new offensive set that according to Lovington coaches last week, they hadn’t seen before, with the Wing-T and the T backfield. It was so effective that Lovington couldn’t make the adjustment to it or stop Goddard. Goddard’s running back Rion Lee rushed for over 200 yards and scored four touchdowns in four out of five Goddard possessions in the second half.

When Lee wasn’t getting the ball, Sammy “The Bull” Zaragoza was toting it for massive chunks of yards as well. Goddard didn’t throw the ball over 10 times in the Lovington game. It seems like Goddard is going to hang their hat on power football all the way through.

Roswell

Roswell High School quarterback Ethan Valenzuela runs with the football from a Piedra Vista defender during a game last season at the Wool Bowl. (David Rocha File Photo)

Roswell will travel that long road to face Piedra Vista. But who is kidding who? — this game will be over early in the third quarter if the Coyotes’ offense and special teams do what they do. The only question is how many points the Coyotes will give up and how many yards because not many 5A schools can stop or keep up with Roswell’s offense.

The only concern Roswell coach Jeff Lynn has is not to let his team get caught looking ahead to next week’s explosive matchup against rival Artesia. The one team that both teams have in common is both have played Los Lunas. Piedra Vista played the Tigers in the first week of the season and lost 28-0.

Roswell has more firepower than Los Lunas as proven when the two teams played a couple of weeks ago, 56-33.

Hobbs is the only team to keep Roswell under 40 points this season, and that was in the third week of the season. Coach Lynn has tried to go to a one-platoon system to keep his players fresh and bring his younger players along slowly. This is a game where the Coyotes only have to sit on the run, unlike next week when they face Artesia — but that’s next week.

Just to refresh readers, the Panthers are a clone of what Roswell used to do and run on offense. They want to make this game physical and muddy and run right at Roswell. There shouldn’t be too many surprises when they line up and come right at Roswell. This is a read your keys game for Roswell. Piedra Vista will run the Wing-T and by doing that, they want to control the clock and the ball.

On offense, everything starts with triggerman senior quarterback Dominic Nava. He has the ability to throw the ball on a bubble screen and the slant over the middle to Joel “Mr. Everything” Sanchez. Nava has been able to hit Jasia Reese deep even when Reese has been double-covered.

The main ball carrier has been Joel Renteria, who has over 1,000 yards rushing on the season. Also, down near the goal line, look for Nava to throw the ball to Alonzo Acosta to use his basketball jumping ability. On short yardage look for two runners to get the ball: Roderick Sedillo and unstoppable Angel Caballero — neither have been stopped this season.

Roswell still has yet to punt on the season — officially. In two seasons, no one has stopped Roswell’s special teams. The only thing that Roswell has yet to do in the last two years is to recover an on-side kick or block a punt. Other than that, their special teams have been virtually unstoppable.

Dexter

Dexter’s Martin Meraz (7) receives the opening kick for Dexter in a game at Hagerman earlier this season. (Shawn Naranjo File Photo)

Dexter goes from the No. 1 ranked team in 3A, to the No. 4 with just one loss. That’s how competitive 3A football has gotten. This week the road doesn’t get any easier for the Dexter Demons as they travel to take on the No. 1 team in 4A, the Portales Rams.

The Rams have lost only once this season and that was to Goddard in a game that was close in the first half. Dexter is going to have to stop their running back and their wide receiver and get off the field on third downs. Goddard’s physical style just wore out the Rams on both sides of the ball.

Dexter wants to run their vaunted Wishbone, but they are going to have to throw the ball in this game if they are to have any hope of beating the Rams. One of Demons’ coach Arturo Duran’s biggest concerns is getting to district play unscathed with major injuries. This is a winnable game for the Demons, but it is going to be physical.

Hagerman

This is where second-year coach Guy Rivers will earn his money. The team starts district play with a home game against Loving. In last year’s game, the Bobcats won with a two-point victory. Hagerman is coming off a weather-delayed game in which they couldn’t play because of lightning and the week before, they had a bye. The game against Tularosa will not be made up, so Hagerman has not played in two weeks. Hopefully, Rivers will have his team ready to play and there will not be any rust.

Gateway Christian

In a rematch of a week one matchup, the Warriors take on defending state champion the Tatum Coyotes. Gateway won their second game of the season by beating Mesilla Valley Christian, 64-14. This game can help Gateway get to the playoffs by knocking off the No. 2 team in the state. Gateway Christian sits at No. 8.

Lake Arthur

For veteran coach Jose Porras, with two games left in the Panthers’ season, this could be deemed a must-win. Lake Arthur lost to Animas at home, to go 3-4 on the season. The team has not given up, but the Panthers have made crucial mistakes at key times in the games and turned over. With a young team, look for Porras to have his team ready to play tonight.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575- 622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.