Home Sports Local Sports 030521 Fantastic football Friday preview

030521 Fantastic football Friday preview

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Dexter’s Marvin Johnson (4) runs the ball through the NMMI defense during a 2019 game in Dexter. The Demons travel to NMMI to take on the Colts tonight at 7 p.m. (Daily Record File Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Welcome back Friday night lights! Yes, there is football and sports are back. It has taken a year for seniors to suit up again. Even though some teams will play four games and some teams three, it is good to see them lining up ready to hit an opposing team again.

Dexter at NMMI

Friday, 7 p.m.

The key District 4-3A matchup will showcase two run-heavy teams. NMMI will welcome the Dexter Demons under the lights. Last year’s game was one in which the opportunistic Demons’ defense took advantage of two turnovers. Not just turnovers, but NMMI had the ball in the red zone and ended up throwing two pick-sixes for scores to end their night before losing 28-18.

In this matchup, neither team will be fluid and look for whoever can be more physical to win the game. Both teams want to run the ball. Dexter will come out in their wishbone offense.

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Look for solid senior quarterback Marco Munoz to be a wizard with the ball. He has mastered when to keep the ball and when to pitch it. Dexter will test the middle of NMMI’s defense early and if they have success running between the tackles it could be a long night for NMMI.

Both teams have been in pads since Feb. 22. For both coaches, football is football no matter when it is played; the main concern will be conditioning mentally and physically. Neither of the coaches knew if there would be a season, and with being in the pods, a lot was affected.

“This season has been kind of awkward because of COVID-19,” Dexter coach Arturo Duran said. “It was hard because we didn’t know if we were going to have a season or not. We tried to prepare and once we got the green light, we had to get the kids in shape mentally and physically. It’s been a little bit tough.”

Dexter will not have the normal number of players because some of their players have opted out. Dexter coach Arturo Duran stresses they have to stay healthy. His team will be young on both sides of the ball.

NMMI’s coach Randy Montoya having to start anew each season is nothing new. Because of not knowing who will be returning each year, he has become adept at playing with the talent he has. NMMI graduated 22 seniors last year but has all-district quarterback Daniel Xibille back.

“Daniel (Xibille) runs the ball very well,” Montoya said. “He throws the ball on the run pretty well.”

NMMI will be young on both sides of the ball; he will have to replace the offensive line. On defense, NMMI will return five players and the strength of the team will be the back seven.

“It all starts up front,” Montoya said. “If we can’t block nobody, I don’t care what kind of running backs we have back there, we have to move people.”

Montoya said it’s important that his four seniors compete on the playing field.

“We know it’s not a perfect situation,” Montoya said. “It’s not a perfect season, but we get to put on the pads and play again. We’re grateful for that. Let’s enjoy it and have some fun and try and win every game we can.”

Hagerman

Saturday at 1 p.m.

Hagerman’s Roberto Delacruz (3) runs the ball during a playoff game at Lordsburg in 2019. (Daily Record File Photo)

Hagerman head coach Guy Rivers has taken the team to the playoffs in both his seasons as head coach. Before Rivers started coaching at Hagerman, they had not made the playoffs in three consecutive years. Rivers finished the season with a 7-4-1 record and was one win away from the state championship game.

Rivers said he is glad to have football back, but his opening game is against three-time defending District 4-2A state champion Eunice. The good news is that Eunice will be starting over after having to replace a senior-laden team.

Both teams will be rebuilding. Hagerman lost 13 seniors last season but still has quarterback Jonah Bejarano back. The running game will be running back by committee. Tuesday was the first day of hitting for Hagerman.

“I think we have some kids that will step up,” Rivers said. “Overall, I’m happy with the progress we made. We have over 30 kids come out for the team. We have some eighth graders and freshmen come out for the team.”

Rivers said he is from the school that they reload instead of rebuilding. Hagerman will lean heavily on the three seniors they have coming back for leadership. He knows that Eunice is Eunice and that it will be a tough physical football game. According to Rivers, the strength of the team will be their offensive line, with three returning players.

On defense, the Bobcats will run a 53 defense and shift to a 43. With two returning players on defense, Hagerman will have to replace hard-hitting Jose Rodriguez.

“Let’s go out there,” Rivers said. “Let’s have some fun and put the pads on and do something we haven’t done in a year and play some football and enjoy ourselves.”

Rivers said hopefully these three seniors can go out on a high note.

Gateway Christian

Saturday at 1 p.m.

Gateway Christian’s Gage Estes runs with the ball during a 2018 playoff game against Mesilla Valley Christian at Warrior Stadium. (Daily Record File Photo)

Newsflash, Gateway Christian has moved down to six-man football.

Because of New Mexico teams lacking the ability to field eight-man teams, Gateway Christian has decided to drop down to six-man football.

Gateway opens its season on the road against Dora. Gateway is coming off a rough season in which they won two games. Warriors’ head coach Shaun Wigley said he sees a silver lining in the rough season. It was Wigley’s first losing season in his career.

The team was coming off of a state championship run and lost 13 seniors, so they were young and inexperienced at all positions. The team had two seniors last season that started on the offensive line.

Last year the team had a lot of drives and moved the ball between the 20-yard lines, but had trouble scoring in the red zone. Wigley said another problem was the team lacked breakaway speed and the ability to score easy touchdowns.

“We struggled to put up points last year,” Wigley said. “We did a decent job on defense, but we never had the horses. It just makes being young like we were last year. The first thing that will plague you is inconsistency.”

Wigley said the tough season he encountered encouraged his faith and developed the team’s character, not only on the field but in life and in their testimony for Christ.

Wigley said to expect scores to be in the 60s and shootouts, instead of the 30-40 point range. Gateway is going to be young again.

“Everybody breathing right now understands what it means to have adversity,” Wigley said. “Everybody is in the same boat; we’re just doing the best we can with what we have. Ultimately, we want to have the kids get some reps, play some games, and have some fun. We all want to win.”

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

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