3 sentence previews
Posted at: 08/27/2012 1:34 PM
| Updated at: 08/27/2012 10:01 PM
By: J.P. Murrieta, KOB Eyewitness Sports 4
We can sum up most of the high school football teams in the metro area in a mere three sentences.
Albuquerque: Mike Zufall returns for a second season and looks for win number one. The Bulldogs have lost 19 straight games, only winning nine games in the past eight years. Losing is not something running back D'yon Santiago is used to, he was an undefeated state champ in wrestling last season.
Atrisco Heritage: The Jaguars are making the jump to Class 5A under new leadership. Patrick Johnson takes over the program. Quarterback Nate Goode is "good" enough to carry Atrisco Heritage to some wins.
Belen: The Eagles took a step back last season with only one-district win. Nick Kurtz, Xavier Armijo and Andrew Castillo are the players to watch. Head coach John Lerma will have to tighten up a defense from last season that gave up 50-plus points in each of their last three games.
Bernalillo: The Spartans return seven starters on offense and 10 on defense. Head coach Ken Noel is switching to a 4-3 defense to better suit his personnel. Sophomore Ralf Olguin is their new quarterback.
Cibola: Head coach Judge Chavez has to replace some of his biggest assets, his staff. Enrico Marcelli helped the Cougar offense last year and now he's the head coach at Valley, while Ron McMath is no longer leading the Cibola defense and instead is the guy in charge at West Mesa. Look for senior running back Cory Ross to be their playmaker, but with only one returning offensive lineman the young guys will have to open the holes.
Cleveland: The defending champs have a new head coach, Heath Ridenhour, and a new quarterback, Kian Homme, to replace Player of the Year Cole Gautsche. Running back Romel Jordan returns after accounting for over 2,000 yards of offense last season. They will be tested in week one against La Cueva.
Quote: "He was a great quarterback, but when people leave it's time for other people to step up and I want to create my own shadow." -Kian Homme on replacing Gautsche
Del Norte: First year head coach Bruce Binkley takes over a Knights team with only 3 returning starters. Del Norte only had one win last season and their schedule includes games against Aztec and Artesia. This year's team is young with only 6 seniors.
Eldorado: Head coach Charlie Dotson is one of those coaches that always seems to get the most out of the talent on the roster. Sophomore Zach Gentry replaces his brother at quarterback (though the Eagles were playing with their 3rd string quarterback in last week's scrimage with Cleveland). Eldorado's schedule is one of the tougher tests in Albuquerque with non-district matchups with Las Cruces, Mayfield and Rio Rancho before district matchups against La Cueva, Sandia and Manzano.
Highland: Like many Highland teams before, Derek Maestas has some speed at the skill positions. Quarterback Bryan Medina and running back Mustafa Mudada are two players to watch this year. If they can pick up a win or two early in the season, they could gain some big momentum heading into district play, but that's a tall order considering their schedule starts with Rio Rancho and continues with Clovis, La Cueva and Cibola.
La Cueva: Head coach Ed Lucero is now in his second year at La Cueva and should know her personnel a little better this time around. 6'6" defensive lineman Calvin Allen, who committed to Arizona, is one of the top players in the state. The Bears were knocked out of the playoffs by Cleveland last season and La Cueva opens the year against the Storm.
Quote: "He creates a lot of size on our defensive line and I think people are going to have to gameplan against him." -Ed Lucero on Calvin Allen
Los Lunas: Head coach Jeremy Newton is in his third year with the Tigers, coming off back-to-back 9 win seasons. Quarterback Chris Wisnseski should be one of the better arms in the state this season. I would say Los Lunas has one of the toughest openers in the state when they travel to Aztec on the first Friday of the season.
Manzano: Don't expect much of a change in the Monarchs despite a new head coach. Chad Adcox takes over for Aaron O'Campo and Adcox was an assistant in the program for the past nine years. The Monarchs will face a murderer's row of matchups when they take on Clovis, Mayfield and Aztec in three consecutive weeks.
Rio Grande: Head coach Jim Danner begins his 2nd year with the Ravens. You can expect Rio Grande to run the ball more than they throw. Danner expects to get some mileage out of Ryan Lucero and Elmer Marquez.
Rio Rancho: Running back Ulises Astorga, called by his coach as the "pound-for-pound strongest guy on the team", returns with 18 more pounds of muscle to try and improve on his 1800 yard performance last season. Rio Rancho baseball standout Easton Bruere takes over at quarterback as a sophomore to replace Jason Fitzpatrick.
Quote: "He's very versatile, he's a quick back and fast and he's very hard to bring down." -Dallon Brady on teammate Ulises Astorga
Sandia: Finding district wins is tough in a black-and-blue division with Eldorado, La Cueva and Manzano. Last year the Matadors won (and lost) some ugly games and senior Craig Coffman takes over at quarterback this year. This year's team is loaded with seniors but Barker says he's a little concerned with the depth on the line.
St. Pius: Running back T.J. Sanchez is considered one of the most punishing backs in Albuquerque. He returns after his 17 touchdown season last year. Head coach San Juan Mendoza is trying to get his squad back to the grind-it-out style of play that made them so successful in the past.
Valencia: The Jaguars will take a step back from last year's state semifinal squad. They lost their key weapons Noah Brown and Jude Pepke and have a new head coach, Kevin Jolly. Artesia comes to town on September 14th.
Valley: Former Cibola assistant Enrico Marcelli takes over a two-win team from last season. Quarterback Bo Coleman took some licks last year, but has another year of experience under his belt with a much improved team. Senior running back Esteban Loera will have his hands on the ball more than any other back, but their receiving corps is talented enough to find the endzone too.
Volcano Vista: Chad Wallin is in his 5th season with the Hawks and has a team full of seniors this year. The Hawks return quarterback Reid Hendricks and wide receiver Joe Searcy-Ortega, both seniors. Volcano Vista only won 2 games last season, but this year should win more with an easier schedule.
West Mesa: Ron McMath is a first year head coach in charge of the Mustangs. Senior Dominic Davis is considered as one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the area. With a district that is up for grabs, the Mustangs have a chance to get back to the postseason.