Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
In anticipation of Friday night’s big game between the Coyotes and Rockets, RDR Sports is taking a look back this week at some of each team’s memorable victories over their crosstown rivals. In 2018, for the Roswell football team, it was all about swag culture and that starts with Coyote coach Jeff Lynn. Lynn believed in his team and himself even when things were tough. His players have taken their persona from him. It took him three years to break through and defeat crosstown rival Goddard. When Roswell finally won the big game for the first time, the Coyotes had been on a four-game winning streak. So much was riding on the outcome of the game between the top-ranked teams in the state. The winner of the game would end up with a bye and the district championship. We look back at this instant classic, the Coyotes’ 2018 victory, as we lead up to the game Friday night.
Editor’s note: This story originally ran in the Nov. 3, 2018 edition of the Roswell Daily Record.
Champions are not great all the time, just when they have to be. Roswell showed why they are the district champions for the first time in Roswell coach Jeff Lynn’s six-year tenure as head coach. Lynn had the nerve of a jewel thief as he called plays and mastered the Coyotes into scoring position down the stretch. In fact, Lynn took a page out of rival coach Chris White’s playbook a week earlier, as he took all the time off the clock before Goddard kicked a field goal to defeat Artesia with five seconds on the clock. This wasn’t as dramatic, but almost.
What was dramatic was that Roswell came out in their red uniforms for pregame warmups, but when they returned to the field to play the game they changed into new uniforms — all black and new helmets with red outlined numbers.
“We try to do something special every year for our kids,” Lynn said. “You should have seen the kids’ faces light up when we busted out the black uniforms. It is good for those kids. We just want them to have an experience they can remember.”
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A lot of times championship games don’t live up to the billing. On this night it did. The No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in District 5A waged a battle that was settled in the last minute of the game. Both teams went back and forth, each team giving as much as they received. The only question was which team would have the ball last, and which defense would rise up.
Goddard’s Player of the Year candidate matched runs with Roswell’s Player of the Year candidate, until a Goddard fumble on a pass reception — Roswell recovered the ball at Goddard’s 42-yard — that settled the issue with 1:15 left to play in the game. Roswell hung on to win the game 24-21 and upset the No. 1 ranked Goddard Rockets at the Wool Bowl Friday night in an instant classic.
“Joel Sanchez is good from the 10-15 yard line,” Lynn said. “We felt comfortable with him. Joel is probably our Most Valuable Player this year. He does everything for us and doesn’t come off the field.”
The teams took a 21-21 tie into the fourth quarter and it looked like the scoring would continue as each team moved the ball. Each team gambled on fourth down, and the momentum changed in the fourth when Goddard’s Dalton Bowles was stuffed on fourth and inches at the Roswell 12-yard line to turn the ball over on downs as an excited Goddard coach Chris White ran on the field to ask for a measurement.
It showed the Rockets were inches short as the ball went over on downs to the Coyotes.
“It was a big win,” Lynn said. “It was great for the city of Roswell. I mean you’ve got 100 boys out here that have paid the price in sweat and blood and done all those things and done the right things. Just a credit to Roswell for producing all of those great football players. Dalton Bowles is a great football player. Goddard has a lot of good football players over there, proud to be a part of this rivalry.”
After taking over the ball late in the fourth, Roderick Sedillo, filling in for a dazed Justin Carrasco, ran for a 39-yard gain to the Rockets’ 45. As the clocked ticked down the Coyotes maneuvered the ball to Goddard’s 13-yard line and with the clock ticking, on fourth and six, Lynn sent out Joel Sanchez to kick a 30-yard field goal with a 1:50 left to play in the game.
Goddard received the kickoff and Bowles, who played magnificently in the game, picked up a first down. With the clock working against Goddard they had to throw the ball and completed one of their passes for the first down to their 36-yard line. On the next play Bowles threw and as soon as the receiver caught the ball he was hit hard and fumbled it immediately as a Roswell defensive player pounced on it. In essence, the game was over as the Coyotes snapped the ball twice to end the game.
Coming into the game ranked the No. 2 team in District 5A they had to beat Goddard by more than two points to win the district championship and become the No. 1 seed throughout the playoffs.
“You would think we would be the No. 1 seed,” Lynn said. “This is probably the best high school football game I have ever been associated with. It was just one of those games back and forth, it just feels good to be district champs. We came here six years ago as an afterthought and we had lost to Goddard 16 years in a row — just the pride and how far we have come down at Roswell. The kids and community have bought in, it just feels good. We are playing good football and getting healthy at the right time.”
This group of seniors has never lost to Goddard. Jeff Lynn is 4-2 against Goddard.
Justin Carrasco: “Goddard is the hardest-hitting team we’ve faced this season. We just persevered and won.”
Ethan Valenzuela: “It feels good to beat Goddard. Being No. 1 is going to help us because we will have a week off.”
Jasia Reese: “This is for our seniors. They wanted it and we went out and got it for them.”
Dylan Tucker: “This win means everything to us, seniors. To come out with the win, I will remember this for the rest of my life.”
Joel Sanchez: “I was pretty confident in the kick that’s why I made it. I just knew I was going to make it. We practice this every day in practice.”
Dominic Nava: “The call was Sierra, I just popped up and scored on the slant. We have the home crowd advantage going into the playoffs.”
Roswell finishes the regular season at 8-2 and 2-1 in the district.