ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – La Cueva comes into the football season with an almost identical roster to last year, on offense at least. There are nine returning starters on offense compared to only two on defense, and the Bears know their success is going to come down to the side with more returners.

“Our offense is probably going to have to lead us a lot, especially early on, and we got the right guys to do it,” coach Back said. “Starting with Aiden Armenta at quarterback, I think he’s going to make good calls, and he’s going to put us in the right spot.”

Armenta had a successful junior season under center with the Bears, accounting for nearly 3,000 total yards while racking up 33 total touchdowns. With a full season of calling the shots and an offseason working with receivers, coaches believe he is capable of leading La Cueva deep into the postseason and having two workhorse backs

“Yeah we have playmakers everywhere on the field,” Armenta said. “I think just having two versatile running backs with Gabe Buie and Myah Robertson, that’s just going to help us so much open up the pass game. Those guys being able to run all four downs and then us being able to throw whenever we want to, it’s going to make defenses respect us even more.”

The Bears will however be without a major part of their offensive. Talented receiver Exodus Ayers has left the program and is transferring to Proctor Academy in Andover, New Hampshire.

Ayers racked up 901 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns with the Bears in 2021 and continued to impress in the offseason. He participated on the Big 12 seven-on-seven team in Portland and got noticed by his new prep school and was offered a scholarship. His family said the opportunity was too good to pass up.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime, God-given opportunity,” his father Corley said. “Not only will he be able to be at one of the top college prep schools in the country, he’s going to also be able to, you know, academically soar.”

Even without Ayers, La Cueva is still primed for success. The team is coming off a state semi-finals loss to Rio Rancho, and the Bears will have a shot at revenge week one when the team plays at the Ram’s house on Friday, August 19.