NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Championship week is here for classes 3A-6A. Here is a preview of Saturday’s slate of title games.
Cleveland and La Cueva are playing for the 6A title. Storm head coach Robert Garza and running back Josh Perry, as well as Bears head coach Brandon Back and quarterback Aiden Armenta joined Van and Jared in studio to preview the matchup.
First Class Learning Center First Class Performance
This week’s First Class Learning Center First Class performance goes to La Cueva running back Gabriel Buie. During the Bears semi-final win over Centennial, Buie rushed for 208 yards and four touchdowns.
Artesia and Piedra Vista are meeting for the 5A trophy. Both teams are confident that the Artesia system has what it takes to add to their record number of titles, however Piedra Vista believes they have seen a formula on how to take them down.
“I think they are going to have to adjust some things and I think what they do we have played a similar more offense to that style the last several weeks and so I think its just going to be about us matching up with the community and personnel and then they kind of match our speed and our quickness on the offensive side. I think its going to be a good game,” Artesia coach Jeremy Maupin said.
“[Their system] can be beat too,” said Piedra Vista coach Jared Howell. “It’s been beat before, and we hope to be one of those people that do that again. But they handle adversity well when they travel. They do the little things very well, that’s what those championship programs do.”
NMAA Student Athlete of the Week
This week’s NMAA Student Athlete of the Week is Cleveland quarterback Evan Wysong. The Storm senior has been a problem for opposing defenses all season, as he has racked up just under 2,000 passing yards and over 1,000 rushing yards to go along with 39 total touchdowns. He also does solid work in the classroom, as he maintains a 3.5 GPA.
Everguard Solar Shining Light
This week’s Everguard Solar Shining Light goes to Raton senior Cayden Walton. The Tigers running back set the single season rushing record last week against Ruidoso. Walton’s record stands at 3,123 yards.
The class 4A title game features the top two seeds with Silver and Bloomfield. The Colts come into the game on a six-game win streak and an 11-1 overall record, while the Bobcats also have only one loss, which happened to come against Silver.
“You know they really got the best of us and we have had to do some adjustments because of that game and I think our adjustments have payed off since that game,” Bloomfield coach Mike Kovacs said. “You know, that first time with Silver City coach Ortiz had his team ready, they are tenacious, they get after you and we just have to match that intensity when we played them and we are going to put a couple wrinkles here and there and just be ready to play.”
American Home Furniture & Mattress Driving It Home
The American Home Furniture & Mattress Driving It Home play of the week goes to Piedra Vista running back Jacob Ramsted. During the Panthers semi-final game against Roswell, Ramsted provided his team with the go-ahead touchdown to seal the 13-7 victory.
Both teams in the class 3A matchup are both returning to a championship game. St. Michael’s lost last season to Robertson, while Ruidoso was playing in class 4A. Both teams are looking to avenge their losses in 2021, and send their seniors off right.
“I think when we went into the state championship we were going in not to lose, and this year we’re going in it to win,” Horsemen coach Joey Fernandez said. “Our kids remember what it felt like walking off the field last year, and I think that was the big thing. They were hungry, they put in the work in the offseason and I think that was one of the big keys. Once we got going during the season, just a lot of hard work, they’re a great practice team, and they’re ready for this.”
“This group of seniors they are really upset after losing last year and are just really working hard and this is what it has come down to is that they have made it back to the game and now they just have to go play ball,” said Ruidoso coach Kief Johnson.
Superstitions are very prevalent in sports culture. Some of the coaches share their personal superstitions with KRQE sports, as they are willing to do whatever it takes to life the blue trophy.
All games are scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. KRQE Sports will provide coverage of all championship games.