Two weeks into the prep football season and we’re starting to get a feel for who’s who around here. This much we do know: The Demons are better than they’ve been in years, Capital will be a thorn in everyone’s side and St. Michael’s is chomping at the bit to face anyone not ranked in the top four in 4A after losses to defending state champion Taos and current 4A favorite Portales, and this weekend’s date with unbeaten Bloomfield.
Three of Santa Fe’s four teams are home this weekend (Santa Fe Indian School is off), so there’s plenty to choose from when trying to decide if your hard-earned bucks should go to a seat in aluminum bleachers or a seat in a theater to see It: Chapter Two. Tough choice, we know.
Here’s the games to watch this week:
Española Valley (0-2) at Santa Fe High (1-1)
Game time: 7 p.m.
Last week: Española lost, 51-0, to Abq. Hope Christian. Santa Fe High beat Moriarty, 19-13.
Overview: The Demons might not have much in the way of offense yet, but you can’t deny the work of the team’s defense. The unit has surrendered just 19 points and was the hero last week against the Pintos with a stop at the Demons 3-yard line to end the game. That, alone, has given rise to something the city’s flagship program hasn’t experienced in years — a healthy dose of momentum. The offense scored its first points of the season thanks in large part to quarterback Luc Jaramillo. If Española has any shot to keep this game close, it has to find a way to get big plays in the passing game, something Santa Fe High has done well to stop thus far.
The favorite: Santa Fe High by 20.
Why: Simply put, this is a battle of two teams headed in different directions. The Demons could easily turn this into a rout.
Lovington (1-1) at Capital (1-1)
Game time: 7 p.m.
Last week: Lovington lost, 76-54, to Roswell. Capital lost, 22-14, to Deming.
Overview: As Luke Padilla goes, so goes the Capital offense. That’s not exactly news. The versatile and hard-charging running back scored twice and was a big part of the Jaguars rolling up 221 yards on the ground against Deming. The bad news? The passing game generated just 15 yards. It’s safe to say that more can (and should) be expected from that little thing called the forward pass. Stopping Lovington means putting the clamps on Wildcats quarterback Casey Perez. All he did against Roswell was throw for 300 yards, rush for 200 and toss four touchdowns.
The favorite: Lovington by 14.
Why: Hey, the ‘Cats just hung 54 points on the reigning 5A champs. They have firepower for days. Can Capital stop it? Can the Jaguars keep up is perhaps the bigger question.
Pojoaque Valley (1-1) at Los Alamos (1-1)
Game time: 7 p.m.
Last week: Pojoaque beat Santa Fe Indian School, 21-14. Los Alamos lost, 44-27, to Taos.
Overview: Hilltoppers quarterback Tyler Weiss has the big-play ability lots of teams lack. His speed allows him to break big runs, something he did repeatedly against Taos last week. Give him any kind of window and he’ll torture your defense with his ball-carrying skills. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (which shouldn’t be all that hard to find up on the hill) to figure out that Pojoaque must limit the explosive plays and keep the ball between the tackles. Truth is, the Elks are just a play or two from being undefeated, but the trip to Los Alamos is a test far greater than weeks 1 and 2.
The favorite: Los Alamos by 9.
Why: Neither team has much depth but the lack of players wearing Hilltoppers uniforms is much better equipped than the lack of depth in the Elks’ shade of green.
Bloomfield (2-0) at St. Michael’s (0-2)
Game time: 1:30 p.m.
Last week: Bloomfield beat Escalante, 63-12. St. Michael’s lost, 49-6, to Portales.
Overview: Another week, another Horsemen game against a team from last year’s final four in 4A. We all know St. Mike’s will be one of the last teams standing in 3A, but the biggest concerns right now are injuries, a lack of size in the trenches and a case of the dropsies with the receivers. This is another stiff test for the Horsemen, who enter the city phase of the schedule next week with back-to-back games against Capital and Santa Fe High. Bottom line, Lucas Coriz has no choice but to raise the offense to greater heights. We all know about his cannon arm, but can he complete enough throws to make it interesting?
The favorite: Bloomfield by 13.
Why: The Bobcats haven’t exactly faced the ‘27 Yankees, scoring more points than any 4A team in wins over Raton and Escalante. If it’s close late, advantage to the hungry Horsemen.