Last Thursday’s prep football game at Santa Fe Indian School had an unusual energy about it, something from the crowd that offered just a little more than the standard, “Yay-we-just-completed-a-7-yard-pass,” kind of reaction.
Sure, it was the all-city matchup between the host Braves and St. Michael’s. Yes, it was a District 2-3A game SFIS absolutely had to win. Those elements made it interesting in and of itself.
What made this one different was a group of fans occupying the south end of the home bleachers on the Braves’ side of the field. Most of them were decked out in basic black and red sweatsuits despite temperatures hovering in the low 40s by game’s end.
They spent the night cheering at odd times — like giving their raucous ovation when a 5-yard illegal procedure call wiped out a play or when a punt bounced awkwardly out of bounds without anyone touching it — and absolutely loving it when “Old Town Road” came on over the public address system in the fourth quarter.
Turns out it was the National Danish Performance Team, which was in town to do a show for the students at SFIS the following day. The coed team is on a worldwide tour and its Facebook page suggests that it stages routines along the same lines of the old Riverdance shows, blending gymnastics and dance in sort of a Cirque du Soleil feel.
It was obvious that the Danes weren’t all that familiar with American football. They did engineer a wave at one point and spent parts of each quarter chanting, “Go Braves!” and giving standing ovations for anything remotely positive, like a 22-yard return on a kickoff.
They also seemed confused when SFIS drove inside the St. Michael’s red zone late in the third quarter and the Horsemen firmly in control with a 41-0 lead. A pass to an open receiver was tipped into the hands of St. Michael’s defensive back Rico Gurule, who returned it about 90 yards for a touchdown.
Most of the Danes stood and cheered as though the points were awarded to SFIS.
While their enthusiasm may have been a little misdirected, there was no denying that a small part of Denmark has a soft spot for Santa Fe Indian School football.
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This month is “Dig Pink” month for prep volleyball programs around the state, and Las Vegas Robertson did its part in raising money for breast cancer awareness. Lady Cardinals head coach Stacy Fulgenzi said her program’s “Dig Pink” match against West Las Vegas on Oct. 8 raised more than $3,000 for Cathy Lucero, a retired teacher who worked for Las Vegas City Schools and the West Las Vegas School District who was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and is undergoing treatment to battle it.
The program raised money through a variety of fundraisers, from a raffle for three $100 gift cards to T-shirts to even a Facebook fundraiser that collected more than $2,200 as of Sunday.
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Television history will be made next weekend as all three of the state’s NCAA Division II football teams will have their games broadcast live on the same network.
Next Saturday, Albuquerque-based ProView Networks will air the New Mexico Highlands game against Black Hills State at 1 p.m. from Las Vegas, N.M., on Comcast channel 26. At 7 p.m. the network will carry the Eastern New Mexico-Western New Mexico game from Silver City on the same station.
According to ProView’s Marty Watts, it’s the first time the state’s small schools have been live on the same network.
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Now that we’ve broached the topic of Highlands, there’s no easy way to sell this: It has been a tough go for the university’s fall sports programs.
The football team is 0-5 and been outscored 176-54. All five losses are in league play, making the Cowboys the only winless team in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Their quarterbacks have completed just 31.7 percent of their passes and have thrown 10 interceptions in just 126 attempts. They have punted for more yardage (1,407) than they’ve gained in total offense (951).
The volleyball team is 1-16 overall and 0-9 in the RMAC. The Cowgirls are already on their second coach.
They’ve won more than one set just twice in 17 matches, getting swept 10 times. That includes a brutal five-match stretch of 3-0 losses between Sept. 14-27.
The women’s soccer team was still winless heading into Sunday’s match against Black Hills State. At 0-8 overall and 0-6 in league play, they had been outscored 38-1 in their first eight games and getting outshot 23.7 to 7.4 per match.
What’s more, Highlands is basically Santa Fe’s team. The playing surface at Sanchez Family Stadium (formerly Perkins Stadium) has been deemed unsafe for soccer. The field’s drains are dangerously close to the end lines and visiting teams refuse to play there.
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The Academy for Technology and the Classics girls soccer team is on the cusp of a remarkable achievement for the 11-year-old program: its first district title. This week will determine if it happens, as the Phoenix (10-1-2 overall, 3-0-1 in District 1-1A/3A) play Navajo Prep at home on Tuesday and head to Gallup to play Rehoboth, which is in second place, on Thursday to complete the district schedule.
If ATC sweeps the two matches, it will win the title outright. If the Phoenix beat the Lady Eagles and lose to the Lady Lynx, they can earn the title if they lose by fewer than four goals since ATC beat Rehoboth 6-1 at home to take the head-to-head tiebreaker. That would likely cement a home match for the Class 1A/3A State Tournament that starts at the end of the month.
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In keeping with the girls soccer theme, the St. Michael’s Lady Horsemen lead the state in goals scored regardless of class with 94. They are doing it with a incredibly balanced attack that features five players with at least 10 goals and the team has assisted on almost half of its scores (45). If the Lady Horsemen beat Albuquerque Bosque School on Tuesday, it sets up a showdown with District 2-1A/3A leader Albuquerque Sandia Prep on Oct. 22 for the district title and the No. 1 seed in the 1A/3A bracket.
NMHU played all of its home games in Taos two years ago. This year they play every home match at the Municipal Recreation Complex in Santa Fe. There is no charge for admission.