For the Roswell football team, they’re being celebrated as the king of the city and the football field in the state of New Mexico. And why not? They have taken on all challengers and beat them. The only question is will anyone be able to knock them off their two-year throne?
Last year, Roswell had seven performers make all-state, and that’s after losing New Mexico Preps Player of the Year in Cade Manzanares. This year, they put nine players on the all-state team, with Joshua Castillo, Jasia Reese and Isaac Hurst returning to the team.
It’s taken Roswell coach Jeff Lynn six years to win a title, and in the last two years, he has won two. Lynn has the program to where it’s next man up. The program has been so dominant that they’ve had troubling scheduling games for the next season according to Jeff Lynn. Four teams have dropped the Coyotes. Roswell will play Mayfield, Carlsbad and Farmington next season.
In the games against top-flight competition, Roswell is 5-0 against Los Lunas in the regular season and championship games. Roswell is on a five-game winning streak against Goddard in the last five seasons, and in the last two seasons, they are 24-2.
Isaac Hurst returns as a defensive lineman — this year he made the first-team. Hurst was a run stuffer and dominant against the best. He had great technique and he was super physical. Just a great hardworking kid.”
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“Isaac’s a two-year starter,” Lynn said. “He’s about as fundamentally sound as a kid we’ve had.”
Armando Silva answered a lot of questions about whether he was good enough — good enough to replace Manzanares. Yes, he was. Silva served his apprenticeship well by making all-state. Silva just had a nose for the football and will be counted on to lead the defense next season.
“He led us in tackles,” Lynn said. “He replaced Cade Manzanares and did a great job. We’re looking forward to having him back.”
Freddie Anaya was nothing but an attack linebacker, he came from the blindside, and the strong side. Anaya turned into a hitting machine as he sacked the quarterback. Anaya is not just a run-stuffer, he made the game-winning interception against Los Lunas. What started as a weakness for the Coyotes has turned into a strength as they went from a bend-but-don’t-break defense to a shutdown defense.
“He’s an outside linebacker for us,” Lynn said. “He flies around the ball and he’s probably as physical of a kid as we have in our program. He’ll hit you — we’re excited to have him back next year.”
Many people that follow the Coyotes’ defense would lose a lot by having Dominic Nava just play quarterback. All Lynn did was stuff in ball-hawking Talon Sanders. Sanders leads the team in interceptions and had three in one game.
“He had a really good year,” Lynn said. “He’s a ball-hawking safety, he played centerfield for us. He’s a physical safety that will tackle.”
Lynn has gone from a ground and pound to the greatest offense in New Mexico. Lynn threw the ball and run the ball with ease as they kept defenses on their heels. Roswell put up over 600 points and averaged 49.3 points a game.
Dominic Nava is coach Lynn’s first quarterback to make all-state first-team. Nava could do it all and is being looked at as a quarterback at the next level, according to Lynn. Nava was comfortable throwing the slant or bubble screen or a 50-50 ball. He never panicked as kayos were normal for him.
“Dominic can do it all,” Lynn said. “He can run the ball and throw the ball. He’s a good operator, he checks the ball at the line of scrimmage. Just a really good high school quarterback that has a great feel for it.”
When he needed to be bailed out, Nava could hand the ball off to two players that made first-team all-state in running back Jasia “Sweet Feet” Reese and wide receiver Joel “Mr. Everything” Sanchez. Both would score TDs on jet sweeps.
“Everybody knows about Jasia,” Lynn said. “Hands down probably the best running back in the state. Super quick and he’ll run through some tackles. Just a great running back.”
Nothing worked for the Coyotes without the two all-state players, in first-teamers Joshua Castillo and Xavier Lomeli. Lomeli was healthy all season for the first time in his career. Lynn credits a commitment to the weight room for his success.
“Our two tackles,” Lynn said, “Xavier Lomeli has great feet and has a mean streak to him. I think his commitment to the weight room allowed him to stay healthy. Josh Castillo, same thing, big kid and a three-year starter for us. Really smart football player and one of the most physical linemen we’ve had in our program.”
“Joel Sanchez,” Lynn said. “‘Mr. Football.’ He ran for a touchdown, he threw for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass. He also had a pick-six and kicked a game-winning field goal. He kind of did it all for us, and to be all-state wide receiver, it’s a big deal.”
Lynn noted that Reese has some offers from colleges, including Missouri Western, University of Nebraska Kearny and NMMI. Nava has been offered by NMMI, and so has Lomeli.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.