Home Sports Local Sports 031921 Fantastic football Friday preview

031921 Fantastic football Friday preview

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Goddard’s Robert Aragon runs wild on a 65-yard touchdown in the first quarter against Lovington at the Wool Bowl in 2018. The Rockets host Lovington tonight at 7 p.m. at the Wool Bowl. (Daily Record File Photo)

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Most football fans might be overlooking this week. That would be a big mistake. Next week will take care of itself. This may be the most dangerous week in football for both Goddard and Roswell. Because everyone in Roswell knows this week is trap-game week. Everyone knows what lies ahead in one week. But next week won’t be as meaningful if both teams don’t take care of business tonight.

Goddard welcomes the Lovington Wildcats into the Wool Bowl to open their home season. Goddard coach Chris White will have his team ready to play. No one knows how big this game is more than coach White.

In last year’s decisive victory over the Wildcats, the ground game was unstoppable. Goddard ran for over 400 yards on the ground. They also had two running backs (Rion Lee and Sammy Zaragoza) rush for over 100 yards and two touchdowns each. If Lovington is to have any chance, they will have to score quickly and hope to keep Goddard’s offense off the field.

Lovington’s defense will have to not wear down and make Goddard get off the field in three downs. In last year’s game, the Wildcats could not get off the field on third or fourth down. The Rockets simply ran at will and in the fourth quarter the game was over, because Goddard had run over Lovington on Brian Urlacher Night.

If the Wildcats blitzed or brought an extra defender down in the box, Goddard either ran away from it or threw the ball deep to wide receiver Nate Stone. The Wildcats must turn Goddard into a throwing team if they want to have a chance to win. Don’t look for Goddard to abandon the run no matter who they face, and no matter how many points they are trailing. Goddard is a run-first and run-last team.

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That is not to say Goddard will not throw the ball, because they will. Especially if they catch a defensive back playing up toward the line of scrimmage instead of watching a Goddard receiver. If that happens, look for Goddard to go over the top for an easy score.

On offense, look for more of the same with all-state lineman Larry Luna opening up running lanes for running backs Zaragoza and sophomore running back Javyn Morales.

In last week’s game, Goddard put away Artesia early in the third quarter after the Bulldogs failed to convert on a couple of fourth downs. Those turnovers on downs left Goddard with a short field, and they were able to score easily.

Lovington is 2-0 on the season after upsetting Hobbs last week. Wildcats’ coach Anthony Gonzales will use his spread offense to try and keep the “Big Blue Defense” from pinning their ears back and wreaking havoc on their quarterback. The game will come down to if Lovington’s offensive and defensive lines can withstand the physicality of Goddard’s offensive and defensive lines.

If they cannot, it might be an early night in the Wool Bowl.

Roswell

Roswell’s Talon Sanders (9) intercepts an Artesia pass during a 2019 game at the Wool Bowl. Roswell travels to Artesia tonight for a 7 p.m. game. (Daily Record File Photo)

If any of the teams want to blame a team for unleashing the two-year dominance Roswell has been on, look no further than the Artesia Bulldogs. They are the last team to beat Roswell, 36-35 in an instant classic at the Bulldog Bowl.

That loss sent the Coyotes on a 19-game winning streak. Not only that, but Roswell has won the last two state championships. This is the place where it all started for Roswell. The last thing that Roswell can do is take this game for granted because Artesia has lost their last two games.

Coyote coach Jeff Lynn will have his players focused on this game. Artesia’s passing game has always given Roswell’s defense trouble. This game will come down to if Roswell can slow down Bulldogs’ quarterback Cord Cox. Cox will look for Braxton McDonald often.

Look for Roswell to be fresher and much crisper coming into this game, and for quarterback Zeke Gonzales to be in total control with a game under his belt. He will have the talented Joel Renteria to get the tough yards and also speedster “Fast” Freddie Anaya. Not only has he done it on the defensive side of the field with big hits and interceptions, but he has done it on the offensive side of the ball as well.

Against Carlsbad, Anaya was able to make the tough run. He would run the ball in the middle of the line and was able to get to the outside as well. He was able to make the key first downs when Roswell needed it. If Artesia is to have a chance, they will have to stop Roswell’s running game and control the tempo of the game.

Roswell’s defense dominated in the second half against Carlsbad and wore down their big offensive line. With the hard-hitting Talon Sanders setting the tone, look for additional playmakers on the defensive side of the ball to have big games. Look for T.J. Fletcher in the defensive backfield and Zack Buckmister on the defensive line, along with linebacker Armando Silva.

One of the things that has been overlooked during Roswell’s run has been the stellar play of their offensive line. They have been formidable regardless of who they have played. When they need big plays throughout this run, it has been the offensive line that has been able to get a key play.

Another overlooked quality of the Coyotes’ run is that their coaching staff has made in-game adjustments as well as any team they have played. Roswell continues to evolve in this shortened season. This a game that Artesia believes it can win. Roswell will need to ready.

Hagerman

Hagerman’s Romelo Sanchez (25) prepares to catch a pass with a Loving defender in the area during their game on March 12. Hagerman travels to Jal for a 7 p.m. game tonight. (David Rocha Photo)

Look for Hagerman to continue to improve. Last week they mercy-ruled Loving. The game was not close. If not for a couple of plays here and there, Hagerman could have upset the defending champions.

Coach Guy Rivers has brought excitement to the players and fans, and now they expect to win. Rivers’ quarterback Jonah Bejarano is able to throw and hit his favorite target, David Chacon. Look for the defense to continue to come up and hit like they have been all season.

Rivers knows that in next week’s showdown with Dexter, this game is a confidence builder.

Gateway Christian

This is the chance to see how the Warriors bounce back. They opened the season with a 50-0 victory over Dora. Last week they lost to Mountainair; Gateway coach Shaun Wigley will try and get his team back on track. Look for the Warriors to be ready to play.

Dexter

With a wide-open offense, and in a game that Dexter won handily last year, look for the Demons to unleash more offensive firepower on Tucumcari than they can handle. With the spread offense stymied by Portales last week, look for Demons’ coach Arturo Duran to exploit the secondary of Tucumcari. Duran will tell his players to concern themselves with taking it one game at a time, but in the end they will be getting ready for next week’s Battle of the Bridges.

NMMI

New Mexico Military Institute head coach Randy Montoya is looking for answers. He has to find the right mix between running and passing on offense. It seems like when they get something going well, there is a mistake that sets them back. NMMI has had trouble putting a whole game together on both sides of the ball.

Now come the defending state champs in Hope Christian. To win this game, the defense is going to have to play well, and offensively they’re going to have to control the ball and the clock.

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

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