Home Sports Local Sports Broncos set to face off with Tyler for title

Broncos set to face off with Tyler for title

The Broncos take the field for a contest earlier this season. NMMI hosts Tyler Junior College for the SWJCFC tourney title at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Wool Bowl. (NMMI Sports Press Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Peter Dindinger
NMMI Sports Press

Playing in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference has been a grind considering how many talented teams there are. On any given Saturday, any team can rise above anyone else.

Now, the New Mexico Military Institute has a chance to separate themselves from the pack by becoming a conference champion. Ranked No. 2 in the nation in the latest NJCAA Division I weekly poll, the Broncos are hosting Tyler Junior College for the SWJCFC tourney title at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Wool Bowl.

This marks NMMI’s first appearance in the SWJCFC conference title game since Nov. 9, 2019, where the Broncos came up short by one point against Navarro College.

NMMI gets a rematch against the Apaches and quarterback General Booty.

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Back on Oct. 16, the Broncos came away with a 49-13 victory over Tyler at the Wool Bowl. Since joining the SWJCFC in 2016, NMMI is 4-2 against the Apaches.

The Broncos are 9-1 overall after winning their last three games by a combined score of 123-35. Tyler enters the contest with a 6-4 mark after narrowly defeating Kilgore College, 34-31, in the other SWJCFC semifinal. The Apaches are ranked No. 14 in the nation and have won three of their last four games.

New Mexico strong

There are currently 21 players from across the state of New Mexico on the Bronco roster, and they are contributing greatly to NMMI’s success. Quarterback Diego Pavia has come on strong as of late, throwing seven touchdowns in his last two outings. Pavia, an Albuquerque native, has amassed 1,204 passing yards and 16 touchdowns on the year. He ranks 11th in the nation in touchdowns. On the ground he has 587 yards on 90 carries with five scores.

Clovis native Malik Phillips has grown into an all-around athlete for the Broncos, grabbing 22 catches for 366 yards and six touchdowns. He has 17 kick returns for 422 yards, which is 10th-best in the nation, while he has rushed for 117 yards on 19 carries.

Other local players that have made an appearance on the gridiron include: Aidan Trujillo (Las Cruces), Dominic Nava (Roswell), Jordan Mendoza (Las Cruces), Gage Guardiola (Las Cruces), Zavier Walker (Rio Rancho), Josh Beaird (Lovington), Cade Manzanares (Roswell), Christian Carreathers (Albuquerque), Jacob Gellhausen (Rio Rancho), Brandon Padilla (Las Vegas) and Sammy Zaragoza (Roswell).

Nation’s top rusher

Anthony Grant, last season’s SWJCFC Most Valuable Player, ranks in the top 10 in four different offensive categories … Grant’s 1,012 rushing yards are fourth-best … He has 164 carries and averages 112.4 yards a game, which ranks fifth and fourth, respectively … His 10 touchdowns are eighth-best.

Just kicking it

William Testa currently sits in the top 10 in six different special team categories … Testa ranks fifth with 11 field goals made out of 13 attempts … His 85 percent field goal percentage is seventh-best … Testa has made 44 of 45 point-after attempts for a percentage of 98 … His 44 PAT’s are sixth-best … Testa has tallied 77 points, which is the best in the NJCAA … His longest field goal of the year was made from 39 yards out on Nov. 6 against Trinity Valley.

Hot offense

As a team, the Broncos rank fifth in NJCAA Division I in scoring with 401 total points … NMMI averages 40.1 points per game which ranks sixth-best … The Broncos have the top rushing attack in the nation, ranking first in rushing yards (2,780), rushing attempts (468) and rushing yards per game (278).

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