By Ed Nunez
Enchantment Sports Writer
It’s another monster matchup in District 4-5A as the No. 1 Roswell Goddard Rockets (7-0-1, 1-0) host No. 3 Artesia Bulldogs (5-3, 1-0) on Friday night at 7.
Artesia used a late touchdown and a 2-point conversion by junior quarterback/wide receiver Clay Houghtaling to upset the then-No. 1 Roswell 36-35 last week.
Artesia head coach Rex Henderson said his team has improved every week since starting out a surprising 0-2.
“They’ve really come to work at practice and at the games to continue to get better,” Henderson said. “The tough schedule that we play obviously helps us.”
That rugged slate continues against the new No. 1 team in 5A — the Rockets.
“Coach (Chris) White has done a good job continuing the Goddard legacy,” Henderson said. “(Senior quarterback) Dalton Bowles is their best player; they do a good job of running sets that play to his strengths.”
On defense, the Rockets “play hard and fast, try to limit your big plays; typical Goddard team,” said Henderson. “This is not a make-or-break game; three teams from our district (Artesia, Goddard and Roswell) should be in the playoffs. But winning builds momentum, and it is our goal to be district champs.”
White also weighed in on what he sees out of the Bulldogs.
“We don’t look at Artesia’s losses; they play a pretty tough schedule,” said White. “Senior quarterback Trent Taylor has returned to the Bulldog line up and Houghtaling makes plays as a wideout and must be accounted for.
“On defense, Artesia flies to the ball and will gang tackle with a lot of speed. The game will likely come down to the fourth quarter and who executes better.”
In other 5A games Friday at 7 p.m:
Second-ranked Roswell (6-2, 0-1 4-5A) plays at Alamogordo (1-7, 0-1 4-5A). The fourth-ranked Los Lunas Tigers (5-3, 1-0 5-5A) are at eighth-ranked Valley (5-3, 0-1) in a pivotal district game. The Vikings were thrashed 40-14 at Belen last week in their district opener and most likely need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The fifth-ranked Piedra Vista Panthers (5-3, 1-0 1-5A) host the Highland Hornets (1-7, 0-1 1-5A and sixth-ranked Belen (5-3, 1-0 in 5-5A) is at 10th-ranked Valencia (6-2, 0-1 5-5A).
The seventh-ranked Santa Teresa Desert Warriors, who started the season 6-0 but have dropped two straight (6-2, 0-1 in 3-5A/4A),l host 4A’s 10th-ranked Silver Fighting Colts (5-2, 1-0 3-5A/4A). Also, Ninth-ranked (4-3, 1-0 3-5A/4A) is at Chaparral (1-7, 0-1).
Ed Nunez is a play-by-play announcer for ProView Networks and a contributor to Enchantment Sports. If you have information, tips or questions for Ed, please send to EnchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.