ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico Football Friday Night is back for another season. COVID-19 delayed and shortened High School football in 2020, but teams are now geared up to start fresh in 2021.
Here is a look at Van Tate’s and Jared Chester’s Power Poll for Class 6A:
2. LAS CRUCES
4. LA CUEVA
5. RIO RANCHO
7. VOLCANO VISTA
Van Tate then speaks with Cleveland Storm Head Coach Heath Ridenour about their upcoming season. The Storm were Class 6A State Champions in 2019 and they also went undefeated in a shortened COVID season in 2012. Jared Chester then speaks with Storm QB Evan Wysong about the team’s outlook heading into 2021.
Van Tate returns to talk about the Cibola Cougars and star QB Aden Chavez. Cibola Feels very confident coming into 2021. The Cougars season-opening opponent is up next, as Van and Jared preview the La Cueva Bears. La Cueva also comes into this season with a standout QB Aidan Armenta.
The Albuquerque High School Bulldogs are in studio next, as Van Tate previews the team with their head coach Timothy Williams. Jared Chester has a player perspective after that with standout D-lineman Landon Williams.
In this week’s preview episode, the Volcano Vista Hawks are the Cheerleaders of the week.
The crew then previews the Roswell Coyotes out of the gates. The Coyotes don’t return a lot of upperclassmen this season, which is unusual, but Head Coach Jeff Lynn Likes the players he has coming in and says they have on their offensive and defensive line.
The Artesia Bulldogs are up next on the Football Show, as they come into the 2021 season with a new mentality and a new Head Coach. Jeremy Maupin comes to his hometown of Artesia to head the Bulldogs in 2021, and he hopes to bring back the winning tradition at Artesia. The Bulldogs have not won a State Title since 2017.
Artesia and Roswell may come in as an early favorite, but you can’t count out Goddard. The Rockets return 20 seniors this season and Coach White likes the speed they bring into this year. COVID-19 would strike early in the year though, as news came down on Friday night Goddard High School was forced to shut down after four positive cases. The Football team now must take a forfeit in week one, as all activities are suspended.
The Valley Vikings are up next. Head Coach Judge Chavez made the trip to the station to talk about his team with Van Tate. Vikings QB Caeden Jojola also came to the studio and Jared Chester had a chance to get his perspective on the upcoming season.
Next, New Mexico Football Friday picks up with Class 4A football. Like the Valley Vikings in 5A, the Portales Rams have seen the numbers of player participation dip since the pandemic. “You don’t know what kids are not coming out for football because they have gotten used to working, they have gotten used to not doing sports,” said Rams Head Coach Jaime Ramirez. “I hope that’s not the case here in New Mexico and I pray that all the guys that missed out this last year that they have a new appreciation for how sports can be taken away from them and that they come back out and start playing like they should.”
At Albuquerque Academy, Shaun Gehres is in his third season and believes the culture is improving in his program. “A lot of our roster for the past couple of years has been these younger guys and now, they are just starting to become these upperclassmen,” said Gehres. “So, the junior and senior class is really nice, but we are also just trying to make sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves because we are trying to learn how to win still, but we do have a really nice group coming with us this year.”
New Mexico Military Institute plays in one of the toughest districts in Class 3A. In district 4, you also find perennial powers Hope Christian and Dexter. NMMI head coach Randy Montoya is going into his 11th season and is quite optimistic about 2021. “We are a little young this year so, we are going to be a little raw,” said Montoya. “Up front, the kids are still young, but they got a lot of reps last year. So, up front, I feel pretty comfortable with what’s up there. The rest of the guys, we will see what we will get, put all the puzzle pieces together, but it is what it is and we don’t make any excuses. We just try to do the best that we can.”
Speaking of doing the best. The Eunice Cardinals were declared the champion of Class AA in a COVID shortened 2020. The Cardinals beat Texico in a bowl game 26-19 and are hoping to fourpeat in 2021. “We’re going to return eight starters on offense and we’re going to return nine kids who started on defense,” said Cardinals Head Coach Gary Jackson. “So, as far as experience goes, this is probably the most experienced group I’ve been around. Within our district, Jal is going to be extremely tough. Hagerman is going to be tough as always.”
That’s bad news for opponents. When it comes to eight-man football, go ahead and circle the Melrose Buffalos in for a championship. “We bring almost all of our kids back,” said Head Coach Caleb King. “We had a really good summer. We return our quarterback and most of our offensive line so, that’s always really good. You know, we got a couple of skilled, key skill positions that we return. We’re looking forward to this year and we’re going to be really competitive in our district.” The season starts Aug. 27 against Magdalena.