ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Volcano Vista Football Team is coming off a 10-win season and one of the best years in program history. However, like plenty of other high schools from around the country, the Hawks have some key players on both sides of the ball.

This year, the number of seniors is down compared to most years and plenty of younger pieces are forced to fill some big roles. It’s taken time throughout camp to find an identity, and the team hopes to iron things out over the first few weeks to get ready for district play.

“For us, the program expectations are to be in the playoffs and make a run,” said Head Coach Chad Wallin. “This year, we don’t return as much, so we really have to take the approach of getting better week by week. Whereas last year, we kind of knew what we had starting week one, but with new faces and new places, we have to get better each week.”

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One key piece is returning for the Hawks this season on offense. Senior running back and now three-year starter Alijah Gonzales is expected to have a bigger role as the Hawks plan to grind games out on the ground.

“Our goal is to get the rushing record for Volcano,” Gonzales said. “It’s like 1500, 1600 yards, so our goal is to get 1,700 [individual], and 2,000 [team] yards this season.”

“We’re going to get that goal for sure,” said tight end Davon Smith. “I’m very confident in our O-line and our running backs and tight ends blocking.”

Volcano Vista opens the season on the road against Las Cruces on Friday, August 18.