Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Will vs. Will
Folks, that is all this game will be about. Goddard’s will, against Roswell’s will. It is a shortened season, and both teams are happy to play football again. But the main reason football had to come back: the seniors can play at the Wool Bowl one last time and get that special feeling as they walk onto the field before warmups.
It is an electric atmosphere in the Wool Bowl and one of the most anticipated events on the Roswell-Chaves County calendar all year. This game is only heightened by both teams having to wait over a year to play it.
Tonight, both teams’ seniors have a chance to write their names in the record book of the Goddard-Roswell rivalry. There are no do-overs, this is it. Each player and team must be ready. What is on the line is nothing more than bragging rights. At the end of the game, one team will feel the exhilaration of victory, and the other will have to live with the bitter taste of defeat for a whole year.
Looking back, Goddard has lost five straight games to Roswell. This game does not have the ramifications of a district title on the line or a No. 1 seed. This is about bragging rights, and to be honest, this game is about this year — but more importantly, next year. Football conditioning will begin in early July, so the offseason will be noticeably short.
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Goddard comes in with all the confidence in the world, winners of two straight. The games were not close, but landslide wins over Artesia, 50-22, and a 50-0 annihilation of Lovington. It is safe to say that Goddard has been so good that they have not been tested.
Goddard has a lot to prove tonight. This is their chance to fulfill their preseason goal of winning every game on their schedule and making a case they would have been favorites to win a state title had there been a complete high school football season. Goddard is loaded up front with New Mexico commit Larry Luna opening holes for quarterback Adrian Solis, Sammy Zaragoza, and Javyn Morales. Solis will look to throw the ball to Nate Stone, Hector Salvarrey as well as Caleb Burrell.
The truth is Goddard watched the tape of the Roswell-Artesia game. They saw how the Bulldogs scored the first time they touched the ball. That game has nothing to do with this game. If you don’t think Goddard will test Roswell’s defense at the point of attack from the first play of the game to the last play, then … it doesn’t get windy here in Roswell. Goddard is going to test Roswell’s front seven and it will be a physical battle.
Roswell will need to be ready from the first play of the game until the last. Artesia’s running back Jake Barrera scored on the first play of the game from 58-yards out.
For Roswell, it has taken time to find their game legs. There have been a lot of moving parts for them. As Coyote coach Jeff Lynn said after the Artesia game, they’re not the same team they have been in the past. Can that change in a week? We’ll all find out Friday night.
If there is a good news scenario for Roswell, it’s this: In all likely circumstances, they don’t have to worry about stopping the pass and the run. Because Goddard doesn’t run the sophisticated offense of run-pass that Artesia does.
The bad news is Roswell will only have to concern themselves with stopping the run. Goddard will give Roswell a big dose of run, run, run behind all-state tackle Luna. Look for Goddard to be prepared to use all four downs to make the Coyotes stop them. It will be a bad sign of things to come if Goddard has any success with a running play. Then look for them to continue to run that play until Roswell stops it.
In the Artesia game, Roswell had trouble stopping Artesia’s running back and quarterback. In this game Roswell must be physical at the point of attack and get off blocks. They cannot let the Rockets’ running back get 5 yards before they are touched — if they do, it will be a long night for the defense.
On offense, look for Lynn to go for it on fourth down regards less of time, down or distance. In the Artesia game, he went for it on fourth and 24 at the 31-yard line of Artesia. Coyote quarterback Zeke Gonzales hit Alonzo Acosta for a 45-yard gain to the 1-yard line.
Roswell’s offense is not like last year’s, but they can put up points. They are never out of a game and will mix the run in with the pass effectively. Roswell needs to have a big game from senior Joel Renteria rushing the ball. Roswell will need to keep the ball in the hands of quarterback Zeke Gonzales. He has been very elusive and has the make-tacklers-miss ability.
What has been surprising has been Gonzales’ ability to pass the ball. Gonzales has the deep ball working when he has time to throw the ball. His favorite target has been senior Alonzo Acosta, who had 11 catches for 246 yards and two touchdowns against Artesia.
Gonzales will also look for Jaden Valenzuela. Roswell needs to avoid turnovers and penalties in this game. In two games so far, Roswell has shown the ability to score quickly and to put together time-consuming drives. In this game, they may need to do both.
In the last two years, Roswell has done something special and different. Two years ago, they changed uniforms and came out in all black. Last year, they wrapped their helmets.
This year look for Goddard to pull the element of surprise and change uniforms. Look for them to pull an on-side kick when they have to kickoff, or after a score. Going for it on fourth down is nothing new for both coaches, but look for them to do it when it is least expected.
A Goddard fan should not be surprised if coach White opens the game with an on-side kick to start the game if he has to kick off. If not, then when he must start the second half. It would not be a far-fetched scenario to see Goddard on-side kick it after a touchdown.
Also, on Goddard’s first possession, look for them to fake the run, and come up throwing to wide receiver Nate Stone on a go route down the sideline. In this rivalry expect the unexpected.
What could be a key factor in the game is Roswell has not tried an extra point this season or a field goal. The game could come down to a field goal. Maybe that’s the surprise Coyote coach Jeff Lynn is waiting to spring on Goddard for this game.
Dexter really took Tucumcari to the woodshed last week. In a game that was nothing more than a scrimmage, the Demons had too much firepower for them. Demons head coach Arturo Duran had a chance to play some younger players as he worked on things for this week’s game against rival Hagerman.
In this Battle of the Bridges, it will be important for Dexter to jump on the Bobcats immediately. This looks like a mismatch on paper, especially after Hagerman was beaten by Jal, 62-19. Dexter has given teams fits this season with their spread offense. For Dexter to be successful in this game, they must shut down Hagerman’s running game and stop the passing combination of Jonah Bejarano to big tight end David Chacon.
Hagerman coach Guy Rivers expected a physical football game but probably didn’t expect the results his team received in a lopsided loss to Jal, 62-19. If they are to win this game, they will have to shut down Dexter’s explosive spread attack. Dexter can score points in a hurry. Defensively they have gotten better as the season has gone on.
Hagerman is going to have to run the ball on offense and take time off the clock. They are also going to have to throw the ball well and in a timely manner. ‘Cats tight end David Chacon is a matchup nightmare for most teams and will be for the Demons. The best way to play him will be for the Demons to go man up on him with a defender over the top. Chacon has the speed to run away from Demon defenders.
For Gateway Christian coach Shaun Wigley, this season is turning out to be one of enjoyment and adaptation in learning and teaching 6-man football. The Warriors’ offense has been putting points on the board at a record pace this season. They scored 54 in their victory against Hondo Valley.
Gateway will have their work cut out for them this week as they go up against undefeated Lake Arthur. Lake Arthur is 2-0 and looking to complete an undefeated season.
A victory is what the doctor ordered for New Mexico Military Institute coach Randy Montoya. He never quit coaching or believing in his team. The Colts rewarded him with a 19-7 upset victory over state champion Hope Christian on Saturday. Now, the goal is to keep the momentum going and end the season on a positive note as they head into the offseason and get ready for the next campaign.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.