Week one of prep football season features compelling opening season matchups
The opening weekend of the prep football season begins Friday night with area teams competing at home and on the road.
Silver Fighting Colts at Kirtland Central Broncos – Both the Colts and Broncos have new head coaches as well as new starting quarterbacks for the season opener. Silver head coach Jerome Ortiz, who came on board earlier this summer after replacing Raul Diaz, will be hoping the same option-style offense the team has been known for will continue to be executed on the road at Bill Cawood Stadium.
The Broncos, with new head coach and offensive coordinator Jeff Schaum patrolling the sidelines, will likely rely heavily on running back Zakk Thomas, while new starting quarterback Kragen Cadman will look to make plays through the air as well as on his feet with a run-pass-option style offense that will focus on the strength of their offensive line.
Farmington Scorpions at Roswell Coyotes – The Coyotes are a younger team this season, having lost a number of skill players to graduation over the summer. Coach Jeff Lynn said this was one of the youngest teams he’s coached in some time.
The Class 5A state champions in 2018 and 2019 figure to be loaded with plenty of talent, “We got 13 seniors, 4 returning on defense and 3 returning on offense,” said Coyotes head coach Jeff Lynn. “We are looking at maybe starting 3 sophomores and a couple more that will contribute. We haven’t had a sophomore start in 6 or 7 years. So, a little different but, this group’s got a good attitude and they are working hard.”
The Scorpions come into the season opener ranked 5th in the state overall by MaxPreps.com, after a perfect 5-0 season last spring. Coach Jeff Dalton appears to have the Scorpions loaded on offense once again, with an up-tempo style that should create scoring opportunities.
Los Lunas Tigers at Piedra Vista Panthers – The Tigers make the trip to Hutchison Stadium to face the Panthers with a new coach and high expectations. Greg Henington took over as Los Lunas head coach shortly after last spring’s abbreviated season. The Tigers are ranked 7th overall in the state by MaxPreps.com, and Panthers coach Jared Howell believes that his team will be up for the challenge.
"The Tigers have a lot of good, talented kids on their roster, so it's a tough start for us," Howell said of the matchup. "But we've got some speed on both sides of the ball and I think that will give us some mismatches on offense."
Look for offensive contributions from running back Jacob Ramsted and multi-purpose player Kelton Mitchell to keep the Panthers on the move against one of the top teams in the state in Class 5A.
For the Tigers, quarterback Paul Cieremans will be looking to target what appears to be a strong and reliable receiving corps.
Miyamura Patriots at Aztec Tigers — Aztec head football coach Eric Stovall will look to get this new season off to a fast start against a Miyamura squad that was outscored by nearly 100 points while going 1-4 last season. Patriots head coach Sean Reeves will look to slow down a Tigers offense that boasts plenty of speed with Tristen McNeal expected to play a key role around an offensive line that should provide plenty of time to make things happen.
St. Pius X Sartans at Bloomfield Bobcats – The Bobcats are ranked 23rd in the state according to MaxPreps.com, and are looking to start strong under new head coach Mike Kovacs. After an abbreviated 1-3 season, the Sartans will look to rebound with a fast start to this campaign under head coach David Montoya.
Monument Valley, Utah Cougars at Navajo Prep Eagles – For both the Eagles and the visiting Cougars, this will be the first football game either team will play in nearly two years. Both Navajo Prep and Monument Valley had their football programs shut down due to coronavirus restrictions earlier this year, even as neighboring schools were allowed to compete.
Head coach Rod Denetso is hoping the Eagles roster will come together quickly as they look to compete in what should be a very tight District 1-3A race this season.
Shiprock Chieftains at Pojoaque Valley Elks – The Chieftains will make the long road trip to Santa Fe with lots of questions to answer entering the season with low roster numbers and slow turnout of new starters, according to head coach Anthony Clah.
Meantime, Elks head coach Pat Mares will be looking to keep the positive momentum going for the team after outscoring their last two opponents last season by a margin of 86-22 to finish the abbreviated season with a record of 2-2.
Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680