Let’s just say it, the Roswell Coyotes are the most explosive offensive football team in District 4-5A. In their quarterfinal round of the playoffs last week, Roswell made short work of the upstart Alamogordo Tigers, 55-24.
Roswell is ranked as the No. 1 team in the state and will face No. 5 Deming tonight at the Wool Bowl. Roswell is averaging 49.2 points a game through 11 games, and they’re on a 16-game winning streak, having won 22 of 24 of their last games.
The problem Deming is going to have with the Coyotes’ is the versatility of their offense. At quarterback, Roswell has Dominic Nava calling the shots. Nava has made the correct reads and calls during the heat of games. Nava can throw deep, the slant and what really gives defense problems is he can tuck the ball under his arm and scoot 80 yards, whether it’s a designed run or a broken play, all the while leaving tacklers in the dust.
Often teams forget about the stellar play from Roswell’s offensive line. The O-line is underrated but is the key to their high-octane offense. Some of the linemen are Joshua Castillo and Xavier Lomeli. All of the linemen are adapt at pass-blocking, pulling, trapping and able to get downfield on the bubble screens to block for receivers.
When the Coyotes need to run time off the clock, their offense can go back to pounding the ball on the ground with a host of backs led by junior Joel Renteria. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards on the season. On short yardage, look for a combination of Angel Caballero and Roderick Sedillo.
On downs when Nava has to throw the ball, he will look for the emerging Alonzo Acosta for the slant over the middle and the 50-50 balls near the end zone. Deep threats Joel “Mr. Everything” Sanchez is one of Nava’s favorite targets as well as the most elusive player in 5A — Jasia Reese.
Reese has the ability to take the ball the distance on a deep pass or a screen. He has the speed, power and the ability to make players miss. He’s a threat to return an interception, a punt return or kickoff to the end zone every time he touches the ball.
In this game, Deming is going to have to stop Roswell’s ability to score on special teams. There have been few teams that have had an answer for the starburst on kickoffs, or Roswell’s punt returns.
Roswell’s front seven on defense has improved as the season has gone on. The front seven is playing the run well and has held up against running teams, playing their best football against rival Goddard and Alamogordo. The D-line which includes Garbiel Garcia, Zach Buckmister and Isaac Hurst, to name a few, have developed into a cohesive unit as the season has progressed.
Armando Silva has capably replaced Cade Manzanares at linebacker this season, with defensive back ball hawk Talon Sanders being a revelation intercepting three passes in a game against Artesia earlier in the season. Freddie Anaya has made his presence felt this season by adding pressure on the defensive side of the ball.
Since head football coach Greg Simmons has taken over the program, Simmons has put his old-school favor on the Wildcats football team, and it’s worked. Deming’s not particularly big in size or stature, but play bigger than they look and will come ready to fight until the final whistle Friday night.
Deming is three-time District 3-5A champions, which has never been done in the school’s history. The Wildcats’ district record over the three-year period is 9-0. Deming doesn’t play in a strong district and the games that they played against quality teams, they were blown out in losing to Artesia, 55-6 and Goddard 55-0 to finish 8-2 in the regular season.
Their offense has been the key this season as they blew out Belen in the first round of the playoffs. The Wildcats needed their defense to make a play last week as they turned back Farmington, 16-14.
“We’re starting to get physical,” Deming coach Greg Simmons said. “We need to keep taking steps forward. Roswell is a great team. I honestly don’t know if we match up at all. They are on different levels. Coach Lynn and his staff do a great job and the players are big, strong and fast. We are going to have to match them physically, play a great game and hope they make mistakes.”
On offense, when the ‘Cats have the ball, they will run from the read-option and put a man in motion or in a slot. Two big playmakers are senior quarterback Jesse Varela (5-6, 137) and senior fullback Ceazer Chavez (5-9, 170).
Varela (31) is elusive from the backfield and Chavez (22) moves the chains. Both have big-play potential.
Junior wide receiver (32) Jordan Caballero (5-7, 145) is the possession receiver but can also be a deep threat. Deming does not stretch the field with the passing game. Senior wide receiver (88) Jose Jimenez (5-7, 135) has been used on slant and out patterns.
The offensive line is small but stout. Senior center Tyler Wycoff (5-9, 180) No. 52 anchors the line. Senior guards (62) Oscar Arroyos (5-10, 200) and (57) Rey Sotelo (5-11, 180) have played together three years and know the job.
On defense, there are pretty much the same faces (not a lot of depth) except for linebackers (42) Chris Chacon (jr. 5-9, 175), free safety Rudy Alarcon (jr. 5-10, 160) and senior linebacker (34) Aaron Alvarado (5-7, 152).
The defensive line has played well in recent weeks led by (50) Travis (jr. 5-10, 220) and (54) Tyrell Rickman (Jr. 6-1, 211). Junior defensive end (35) Vaugner Pacheco (5-7, 160) and senior defensive end (55) Justin Morgan (5-11, 195) provide the pass rush.
Deming practices turnovers and has 30 takeaways on the season. They practice grabbing and punching the ball out of the ball carrier’s hands.
The secondary is manned by senior (21) Fernie Munoz (5-8, 170), Alarcon. And you will see Varela on pass coverage. Special teams are nothing to talk about.
“We talk to the kids all the time about one play at a time,” Simmons said. “Don’t let the moment get too big, it’s the same game you’ve been playing your whole life. The field’s the same size, the rules are the same, don’t let the stage change what you do. Coach Lynn has built a great program there in Roswell. He’s in the mix every year. It’s what we’re trying to become and we’re going to bring our 33 and compete.”
Last time Roswell and Deming met: Deming, 29-19 over Roswell, Nov. 15, 2013, at Deming.
Roswell hosts Deming at 6 p.m. at the Wool Bowl tonight.
Deming Headlight sports editor Billy Armendariz contributed to this story.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.