Home Sports Local Sports Fantastic football Friday preview — The Reckoning

Fantastic football Friday preview — The Reckoning

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Roswell’s Justin Carrasco turns the corner and heads downfield against Goddard during last year’s game at the Wool Bowl. (David Rocha File Photo)

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Roswell vs. Goddard

Goddard’s Dalton Bowles runs to daylight during last year’s game against the Roswell Coyotes at the Wool Bowl. (Steve Notz File Photo)

We’ve been here before. The calm before the storm. Everything is just flip-flopped. Last year, Goddard came into the game ranked No. 1 and had been since the fifth week of the season and Roswell was the No. 2-ranked team. Goddard was undefeated last season until their loss to Roswell.

For the second year in a row, both teams come into this game ranked one and two. Roswell (9-0) is No. 1 and undefeated and Goddard (8-1) is No. 2 in District 4-5A. This is the 60th game in the rivalry, and it’s going to be hard to live up to last year’s thriller.

For 365 days, the Goddard Rockets have had to live with the fact that they had a chance to win against their rival, and it all ended with a fumble on the Wool Bowl turf with 1:07 left in the game.

Last year was a game for the ages. Roswell pulled the first of many surprises on the night. When Roswell came back out to play the game, they had changed their uniforms and were decked out in all-black uniforms, including helmets.

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Each team gambled on fourth down, and the momentum changed in the fourth quarter when Goddard’s Dalton Bowles was tackled short of the first down on fourth just inches from the Roswell 12-yard line.

With the ball turned over on downs, Roswell controlled the ball and moved into Goddard territory before Roswell brought out Joel Sanchez. Sanchez kicked a field goal to give Roswell a 24-21 lead with 1:50 to play. In order to win the district championship, Roswell had to win the game by more than three points.

Coming into this game, Goddard is on a four-game losing streak to Roswell and Goddard head coach Chris White is 0-3 vs. Roswell. Coyotes’ football coach Jeff Lynn is 4-2 against Goddard, having won four straight. Roswell is looking to repeat in district and state. What is on the line is seeding and a district crown. Most of these games have come down to the last possession and this game probably will be no different.

The keys to the game will be for Roswell, to stop the run and force Goddard quarterback Robert Aragon to throw the ball consistently. To go further, Roswell has to shut down Aragon — especially when he lines up behind the center and runs the quarterback sneak.

Roswell must find a way to neutralize Goddard’s powerful offensive line. All season long, Goddard runners have been falling forward. Roswell has to have the first tacklers hit Aragon, Sammy Zaragoza and Rion Lee and bring them down. Roswell cannot allow them to make them miss and gain extra yards. Most importantly, they have to get off the field on third down. Roswell must limit long drives from Goddard offensively.

For Goddard to win, they have to limit the big plays to Roswell. They have to control Roswell quarterback Dominic Nava. Nava can throw the long ball as well as the slants and bubble screens. Goddard’s defensive line has to control Roswell’s offensive line.

Goddard has to take Jasia Reese out of the game and not kick to him on special teams. When he is lined up at receiver, they have to double cover him. Also, when Roswell passes, they have to defend the slot receiver, they were hurt repeatedly against Artesia.

Goddard cannot have penalties to stop drives or turn the ball over. Finally, they cannot get 14 points behind or get in a shoot-out. Goddard had trouble kicking extra points against Artesia. Last week after they missed the first PAT, White went for the two-point conversion for the rest of the game. Goddard could be in trouble if this game comes down to a field goal.

These teams aren’t going to be sharing this Thanksgiving together — look for a physical game. Bragging rights are on the table for the next 365 days, which for the loser of this game, could be the longest year of their lives.

Both teams are looking to make a long run in the playoffs again. Roswell went on to win the 5A title last season. Goddard made it to the semifinal game before succumbing to Los Lunas.

Last year, Roswell shocked everyone with their uniform change. In this game, look for one of the teams to do something unusual like try onside kick to start the game. Maybe this is the year Goddard pulls the psychological advantage and change uniforms that they haven’t worn before. Look for coach White to do everything in his power to stop this losing streak.

Should be a good game.

Dexter

Dexter’s Ricardo Contreras runs away from the Eunice defense earlier this season. (David Rocha File Photo)

Dexter has dropped in the rankings as they are No. 5 this week. The good news is Dexter plays the No.1 team in 3A, Tularosa at home. The tables have turned, last year Dexter was the veteran team — where this season, Tularosa has the veteran offensive line with the experienced quarterback.

“It is special to have the chance to repeat,” Dexter coach Arturo Duran said. “Our kids have worked hard all year long and it’s nice they gave themselves a chance to repeat, and that’s all you can ask for.”

Dexter’s only losses have been to the No. 1 ranked teams in 2A and 4A, Eunice and Portales.

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

Dexter has to be concerned with Tularosa’s power offense. They run power offense with their quarterback controlling the ball on every snap. He makes the decision in a split second. They will also run out of an I backfield and sometimes lineup in a pistol.

“We have to control the ball and execute,” Duran said, “we cannot make mistakes. Whoever executes better without making the big mistakes will win the game.”

In a possible playoff matchup, this could be a preview of what is in store for the Demons. Both teams are undefeated in district play and this game is for the district championship. Dexter won the district title last year. No matter the outcome of this game, Dexter is already in the playoffs and seeding remains a concern.

Hagerman

In this file photo from last season, Hagerman’s quarterback Jakob Bejarano prepares to hand the ball off to one of his running backs against Dexter. Hagerman made it back to the Class 2A playoffs for the second straight season after finishing with five wins for the first time since 2015. Hagerman will host a playoff game for the first time since 2014. The Bobcats play Jal Saturday at 2 p.m. (Shawn Naranjo File Photo)

Give kudos to second-year coach Guy Rivers, he has won five games in his second season and also made back-to-back playoffs apperances. Now, Rivers is going big-game hunting and looking for his and Hagerman’s first playoff win in years.

Rivers is quick to give credit to his team. This is the first time that Hagerman has had the same system in place for consecutive years in a long time. The Bobcats’ goal was to make the playoffs and to earn a better seed. They also wanted a home playoff game.

“Our kids are excited about making the playoffs,” Rivers said. “This home playoff game means a lot to the school and community. The fans, parents and community are getting a chance to watch the kids play one more game.”

NMMI’s Elijah Evans with a punt return in the first half against Texico on Sept. 6. He had three returns for 85 yards. NMMI (5-4, 0-2 4-3A) will host Tucumcari (1-8, 0-2 4-3A) tonight in the regular season finale at 7 p.m. at Colt Field. (Christopher Mumba File Photo)

Two things will help. On Saturday, Hagerman will open their playoff season at home. The second part of the good news is they will play a Jal team they just spanked last week, 33-14. Another good thing about Rivers this season is that he will have his first winning season no matter when it ends. Hagerman is the No. 6-ranked team in the state.

Rivers has wanted the program to improve with every game, every season and to get back to being mentioned as a contender for a Blue Trophy. He also wants to develop consistency with the football program and have the expectation to be playing football in November.

“We watched the film of Jal,” Rivers said. “I showed them that we didn’t dominate the game like they thought they did. We had a lot of mistakes, and if we don’t clean them up, Jal will beat us.”

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

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