By Lee Roy Lucero
Enchantment Sports Staff Writer
Opening weekend for the 2019 High School football season has already been exciting as Volcano Vista proved all the doubters wrong by defeating defending champion La Cueva 36-25 on Aug. 22. Third-string quarterback Nathan Sanchez finished the game for Hawks, after star quarterback transfer Diego Pavia went out with an ankle injury.
Pavia scored four touchdowns.
Also on Thursday, Eldorado beat up on West Mesa 51-0, led by a pair of Zack Hoffman scores, and in a game called due to lightning in the area Albuquerque High defeated Valley 17-7.
Opening weekend continues tonight in the state of New Mexico, and of course on ProView Networks and My50 TV. All season long, we will be speaking with ProView Network’s Sebastian Noel about football.z
Centennial at Rio Rancho, 7 p.m.
The My50 TV game of the week is coach Aaron O’Campo’s Centennial Hawks visiting Rio Rancho to play the Rams.
Did Centennial lose too much to compete this season? “I don’t think so,” says Noel. “O’Campo has some pieces coming back and he always finds a way on offense to be effective. He is one of the great offensive minds in the state.”
The Hawks have moved their star wide receiver Aidan Trujillo to quarterback and have a pair of senior running backs coming back.
“Rio Rancho is excited for their season,” says Noel. “Coach (David) Howes and the assistants are really excited for their quarterback Isaiah Chavez and offense. If they can get a good year out of Chavez, and he cuts down on his mistakes, I really like them.”
That is a lot of pressure to put on one player. However, Isaiah Chavez is in the conversation as one of the best quarterbacks in the state, along with Jeff Davison at Cleveland, Chance Harris in Clovis, and Diego Pavia at Volcano.
“I have a feeling Chavez is going to have a big game tonight,” says Noel.
Picks: Noel: Rio Rancho
Lucero: City of Vision
Las Cruces at Manzano, 7 p.m., Wilson Stadium
Manzano has been very good on defense the past few years,” says Noel. “They will need a lot this year as they are offensively challenged.”
The Monarchs have one of the best wide receivers in Austin Erickson and if they can get the ball to him, he will make plays. Coach Phillip Martinez also has to find a way to keep quarterback Jace Melfi upright and healthy.
Las Cruces is really good behind running back Johnny Terrazas, and quarterback Marcos Lopez returns at quarterback.
Noel: Las Cruces
Lucero: Take a ride up the freeway and pick up that “Dubya” for the Bulldawgs.
Sandia at Cibola, 7 p.m., Nusenda Community Stadium
“(Sandia’s) LeShawn Joseph is the second best running back in the state,” says Noel. “The Matadors have a new coach and are implementing a new offense, so it might be a tough season for Sandia. Their winnable games are pre-district as they try and build chemistry, and then a monster district shows up.”
Chad Adcox returns to coaching after a year hiatus and takes over a Sandia team that has quite a few seniors, including Joseph.
Cibola is coming off of a nice season, but graduated its starting quarterback and is looking to find a replacement during this rebuilding time. Sebastian Noel says, “I am hearing good things about freshman Aden Chavez, and I am hearing he may get the start.”
Portales at Hope Milne Stadium
Hope is playing a really tough schedule at the beginning, as it prepares for a district that it should blow right through.
“This is our chance to see Phillip Blidi, the highest-recruited defensive player in the state,” says Noel. ”(Blidi has verbally committed to Texas Tech).
“Hope is looking for a quarterback,” says Noel. “When I went to their camp, they were leaning towards Collin Evans who didn’t play football last year. However, Evans is a starting post for the Huskies and is very athletic.”
If coach Gary Beck can develop Evans into a quality quarterback along with a pair of solid running backs and wide receiver Ryan Cosper, the Huskies could have a good season.
Highland at Rio Grande
That is the super bowl for both programs as they both are struggling with players that go out for football.
“Highland has a nice chunk of seniors and freshman, but not much in the middle. They will get some wins this year and this is one. Rio Grande has quite a few frosh as well, let’s see if they can put it together in the South Valley.”
Onate at Cleveland
I have Cleveland as number one. If Dorian Lewis remains healthy, this team will be unstoppable. Though backup Colten Madison is a solid player as well. They are really deep. Jeff Davison is the best quarterback in the state; he is smart with the ball and can take a hit.
The Storm is loaded at wide receiver with Tre Watson, and their defense is stout as well. “They should be everyone’s number one team,” says Noel. “We haven’t even talked about Trey Ortega, or one of the most underrated, Luke Wysong.”
But come on Sebastian… The Storm are loaded, how much press can one team receive?
Lucero: Storm surge
Dreamstyle Player of the Week
EnchantmentSports.com is proud to announce that Dreamstyle remodeling will be sponsoring the weekly Metro Area High School Player of the Week this year. So stay tuned weekly for the best players in the state to be recognized.
Lee Roy Lucero is an Albuquerque native, former editor of The Red Menace website and a play-by-play announcer for ProView Networks. He is Enchantment Sports’ editor of high school sports. For tips or story ideas, contact Lee Roy Lucero at enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.