ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state’s leading high school receiver has been putting defenses on notice all season. La Cueva senior Ian Sanchez currently ranks 14th in the nation with 1,189 receiving yards and racking up 15 touchdowns.

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Through eight games this season, Sanchez is averaging 8.5 receptions for 148.6 yards (17.5 yards per reception) and almost two touchdowns per contest. Over the last two weeks, Sanchez has stepped his game up even further, as he recorded 293 yards against Eldorado (6th all-time in the state) and 201 yards with five touchdowns (tied for the state record) against West Mesa.

2022 has been a break-out season of sorts for Sanchez. Last year, fellow receiver Exodus Ayers drew many of the Bear’s targets, and Sanchez ended the season with 466 yards and four touchdowns. With Ayers no longer on the team, Sanchez has been able to shine as a true WR1.

La Cueva is currently one of the top teams in New Mexico, ranked No. 3 in the state, and the Bears, with a 7-1 record, are primed to make a run in the postseason. The team is led by future Lobo quarterback Aiden Armenta and a running attack that averages 135 yards per game, and while Sanchez remains a major component of the offense, he doesn’t want to draw any attention away from his teammate’s success.

“At the end of the day, winning is what matters,” he said. “I do feel like I’m a key player, and I do for sure feel confident going up against any other player because I know I’m one of the top players in the state. I just like to keep myself humble because that’s the best way to go about things, I think.”

In addition to his outstanding play on the field, Sanchez is also an accomplished student. He holds a 4.3 GPA and intends to study physical therapy or kinesiology in college. Sanchez hopes to play at the next level and currently has an offer from NAIA school Clarke Pride in Dubuque, Iowa. Despite his impressive stats, Clarke Pride remains his only offer.

“I think it’s been big to put up those high numbers and touchdowns just to catch college coach’s eyes,” said Sanchez. “And obviously the yards, 14th in the nation, that should get you some looks. I’m just hoping some college coaches stumble upon me and see what I can do.”