FARMINGTON — After winning a state championship for the first time since 1952, it's no surprise that seven Farmington High players headlined the 4A Football All-State team.
Logan Welling, offensive lineman/defensive lineman, and Xander Walker, secondary/punter, each earned two spots on first-team all-state. They were joined by Jacob Lucas, quarterback; Brian Farley, linebacker; Cesar Haro-Torres, defensive end; Champ Mendoza, defensive lineman; and Kyle Reynolds, secondary, in representing the Scorpions after being chosen to the squad by the New Mexico High School Coaches Association on Friday.
Six of the 11 FHS defensive starters were named to the team after the unit held opposing offensive to just 6.7 points per game.
"I think it's a great honor for the guys," said FHS head coach Gary Bradley. "It's voted on by all the 4A coaches. It's always tough to get a lot of guys voted on even during a season like this. Those guys had to really impress the other coaches."
The Scorpions had four shutouts during the year, their last being a 7-0 victory against Goddard to earn the 4A state title.
Defensive coordinator Jeffrey Dalton was glad to see so many guys from the Scorps' defense get first-team honors.
"It's great, and it's kind of what we talked about all year," Dalton said. "We talked about not looking for any credit and just doing your job, and by doing that, the recognition will come."
Bradley said that his entire defensive unit had the talent to make the all-state team.
"That's our strength all year. The whole defense deserves the first-team honors," Bradley said. "Sometimes not everybody gets recognized. All-state is just strange. Sometimes, it just depends on when or if a coach saw you. Tierney (Staley), Austin (Foutz) and all of those guys deserve it. There's just a little bit of luck involved with other coaches remembering or recognizing your name."
Welling and Haro-Torres both earned spots on the team as linemen, and Bradley was proud to see those two seniors get a little recognition.
"The defensive line is a grueling, selfless position," he said. "You don't make a lot of plays, but they allowed Brian and Tierney and our other linebackers to get in there and make some tackles. Logan was a force, and Cesar was just solid all year. Neither one are too flashy, but they just sum up how our team played."
Walker's punting was a key to the FHS team all season as well.
"It's funny because we came into the season needing a punter. Xander stepped right in and was first team all-state," Bradley said. "His punting in the playoffs was an asset and fit into our plan of just playing smart football."
Reynolds joined Walker in making first-team from the Scorpion secondary.
"What fans don't see is how much Kyle watches film and studies the game," Dalton said. "Some people might just think it's instinct, but he puts in the work to know where to be to make plays. Our cornerbacks also allow Kyle and Xander to make plays, too. A guy like Shane (Goeckner) doesn't really have any stats, because he covered his guy so well, the quarterbacks wouldn't even throw his direction and just force it over the middle."
Mendoza was the lone FHS junior named to the all-state team, and he will play a major role next season when the Scorps begin their title defense.
"I'm real proud of Champ," Bradley said. "We had a great crop of juniors who fit right in with our seniors. Our seniors were so experienced and made a lot of the plays, but those guys really filled their roles."
Farley and Haro-Torres also received second team all-state honors for their play at running back and the offensive line.
Piedra Vista's Beau Clafton was named to the team in four spots, first-team for kick returner and second team for running back, tight end/slot and secondary.
"You don't see too many kids on there for more than one spot, and it shows you he played everywhere," said PV head coach Jared Howell. "It's a testament to his athletic ability and what he meant to this team."
PV's Isaiah Valdez (quarterback) and Nick Varley (linebacker) also represented the Panthers on the second-team all-state.
"(Valdez) had the stats to be up in there. His numbers were balanced both running and passing," Howell said. "Nick did a great job quarterbacking the defense."
The Panthers ended the year with a 7-4 record after losing in the first round of the playoffs to Valencia.
Aztec's Josh Harris, wide receiver, was the lone Tiger representative, making second-team all-state.
In 3A, Bloomfield's Adrian Vigil, kick returner, and James Eklund, offensive lineman, were named first-team all-state for the Bobcats.
"It's pretty cool," Vigil said on making the team. "(I) didn't even know until somebody told me on Facebook."
Vigil said he had four returns for touchdowns this season despite missing three games with a knee injury.
The junior was also happy to see his teammate, Eklund, join him with all-state honors.
"Eklund had a good year. He came back from a knee injury that he had surgery on," Vigil said. "He came back strong and played his heart out."
The Bobcats also had Robert Lyon, quarterback; Ray Sanchez, tight end/slot and secondary; and Austin DeHerrera, secondary, earn second-team all-state.
Bloomfield finished the year 7-4 and earned a first-round bye in the playoffs before losing to Taos in the quarterfinals.
In 2A, three Navajo Prep players were named second-team all-state.
Tyler Sorenson, quarterback; Mikaele Mauga, wide receiver; and Isaiah Yazzie, wide receiver, were named to the team after all three set state records this season.
"It's great for the kids to be mentioned with all the guys down south," said Prep head coach Rod Denetso. "I feel Mika had the stats the last couple of years to earn a first-team spot, but, either way, we're really excited for all the boys. We hope that kids around the school will see the recognition and it will get them excited to play football."
Sorenson threw for the most yards in a game with 628 against Escalante. Yazzie set the single game receiving mark against Escalante as well with 338 yards.
Mauga had the most receiving touchdowns in a season with 25.
The Eagles won a school-record 10 games and advanced to the 2A quarterfinals before losing to Santa Rosa.