By Ed Nuñez
For Enchantment Sports
The top-ranked Roswell Coyotes (12-0) have every reason to be confident as they head to Los Lunas (10-2)
for the Class 5A state title game at 2 p.m. on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s championship game.
After all, Roswell rolled in 2018 title game 42-6 and it was more of the same when the two met in September — the Coyotes winning that one 56-33.
The teams have met five times in recent years, and Roswell has won every time.
“The biggest thing between the two teams is that there are no secrets,” said Roswell coach Jeff Lynn. “We’ve played five times in three years (but) there will be adjustments. It’s a cat and mouse game.
Since that loss in September, the Tigers have reeled off eight straight wins.
“They are a lot better since we played the them the first time; at running the ball, their offensive line has come together, we need to be gap-sound,” Lynn said. “They have as good of a defensive front that we have seen.
“Everyone knows about their defensive ends (junior Tyler Kiehne and senior Bryce Santana), and their quarterback (senior Kade Benavidez) has gotten much better. You worry about overconfidence, but this is the state championship. We have to give them their proper respect,” Lynn added.
For his part, Los Lunas head coach Jeremy Maupin knows he has his hands full.
“They are ranked number one, they are undefeated,” Maupin said. “We know we have to play perfect football to win. Our kids went through a tough stretch at the beginning of the year, but they have responded.
“Our kids played very well against Artesia, we had a great win against Roswell Goddard last week in the Wool bowl (35-14) — it was the first time we had won there since 2015.”
Maupin added that “Roswell is fast. (Senior CB/WR) Jasia Reece is dangerous. They will line him up all over, he is one of the best football players in the state regardless of class.
“We have to limit their big plays and put some pressure on (senior quarterback) Dominic Nava. He is good. They are very efficient on third down, we have to try to get them off of the field.”
Roswell average 49.2 points per game while the Tigers average 38.3 points a game.
3A CHAMPIONSHIP: The Hope Huskies (10-2) play at Socorro (11-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Huskies enacted some revenge on the Las Vegas Robertson Cardinals, defeating them last Saturday in Las Vegas by the score of 36-0.
Since losing to Bloomfield on Sept. 20, the Huskies have reeled off seven straight wins — including winning 36-0 last week at Las Vegas Robertson, avenging a loss to the team that knocked them out of last year’s playoffs.
“The win was great, it vindicated us from last year,” said Hope coach Gary Beck. “It was rough. Las Vegas Robertson was ready to play.
“Last year, we were a little cocky going into the Robertson game, but we did keep most of our offensive and defensive lines intact from last season.
Senior quarterback Colin Evans hadn’t played football since sixth grade, “but at 6-4 we finally have a quarterback that can see over the line,” Beck stated. “Our offensive coordinator is Alan Evans (Colin’s brother) and he was the backup to Zack Gentry at Eldorado. Alan has really helped Colin.
Beck said that “Socorro is super-fast. They have beat teams that we have.
Socorro coach coach Damien Ocampo is the brother of Centennial head coach Aaron Ocampo.
Hope is outscoring its opponents by an average of 38-6 during a season that Beck said could be a big one for the future.
“It is the first time we have competed for a football championship,” Beck said. “Even getting there helps our program tremendously. We struggle with numbers,so this may convince more kids to come out for football. It’s great that we made it to the big game, but we need to win it.”
Ed Nuñez is a play-by-play announcer for ProView Networks and a contributor to with Enchantment Sports. If you have information, tips or questions for Ed, please send to EnchantmentSportsNM@gmail.com.