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Goddard beats Santa Teresa on homecoming

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Goddard celebrates homecoming with a 49-0 win over Santa Teresa at the Wool Bowl Friday night. (Steve Notz Photo)

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The scouting reports that the Goddard Rockets received on the Santa Teresa Desert Warriors was a vaunted running attack. Stop their running game and you stop the Desert Warriors. The Rockets did just that almost to perfection and shut out Santa Teresa, 49-0, during homecoming night at the Wool Bowl. Goddard (6-1) and No. 2 in 5A, allowed the Desert Warriors (5-1) only a couple runs from scrimmage to go more than 10 yards.

Goddard’s Rion Lee scored two touchdowns during their homecoming game against Santa Teresa. Lee has rushed for over 300 yards and five TDs in the last two games. (Steve Notz Photo)

“That’s how good the defense was,” Goddard coach Chris White said. “We knew going in that we had to stop their rush game. The kids did a heck of a job defensively against a very good 5-0 Santa Teresa team.”

After one half, Santa Teresa offense looked more like the late country music crooner George Jones. Like Jones, he was known for not showing up at concert shows. The Desert Warriors’ offense, try as they may, didn’t show either at the Wool Bowl.

As a matter of fact, the Goddard offense resembled the finesse of Russian male ballerina Mikhail Baryshnikov, the smoothness of Luther Vandross and the brute force of WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar. Case in point, with the Rockets already leading 42-0 in the fourth quarter, runningback Rion Lee, who had a huge offensive night, escaped out of a would-be tackle and made a pirouette move that Baryshnikov would have been proud of, and sprinted 29 yards into the end zone to give Goddard a 49-0 lead. Lee also had a first-quarter four-yard touchdown run to give the Rockets a 14-0 lead.

Then there was Goddard quarterback Robert Aragon, who finished with three scores. He was as smooth as silk, much like the voice of the late Vandross who had big hits like “Here and Now.” No doubt Aragon was cool and collective when he was rushed, he found the open receiver or ran for first downs, much like former Rockets’ quarterback David Vega who led Goddard to back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009.

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“My dad, Robert Aragon Sr., brought me to the Wool Bowl when I was a kid to watch those Rocket teams. They were bad. I would watch Vega make some great plays and he never looked pressured. I told myself that if I got the chance to play for Goddard, that I wanted to play like him,” Aragon reminisced. Vega went on to play at New Mexico Military Institute and at the University of New Mexico.

However, it was Sammy Zaragoza who ran the ball with a determination not seen since those days that another former Rocket, David Anaya graced the Wool Bowl turf. Zaragoza began the scoring for the Rockets 12 seconds into that game when he got the handoff from Aragon, started left then right, and 63 yards later, was in the end zone. For those who remembered Anaya, he ran the same way with an abandon to score. By the time Anaya finished his New Mexico high school career from 2008-2011, he had amassed over 5,000 rushing yards, scored 70 touchdowns and finished as the second all-time rusher in New Mexico high football. Zaragoza, only a junior, has the potential to be in that same conversation.

The Goddard offense Friday was like a well-oiled machine, they scored all seven times they had the football. And the defense on several occasions lifted the Desert Warriors into the air, much like the signature superplexes of Brock Lesnar.

“Our guys came to play, we were prepared and we played like it,” said coach White. As for being compared to those title teams from a decade ago, “That’s a nice compliment. But every team every year is different and our goal just like theirs is to win the state championship.”

The Rockets may be on their way — district play begins Friday when they travel to Alamogordo.

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