ALBUQUERQUE – While the attention during Saturday's Class 4A state football championship game was on the victorious Taos Tigers, fans might have seen next year's leading contender for the title.
The Bloomfield Bobcats will have plenty of talent returning to make another deep run into the playoffs. Their top three rushers and top four receivers will be back next season.
Among that group were the two players who were a part of the two longest plays of the game – junior receiver Noah Gurule, who caught a 43-yard touchdown pass, and Kenyon Mosley, who had the 40-yard catch that set up the Bobcats at the Taos 2-yard line.
Bloomfield will also return the majority of its secondary that held Taos quarterback Justin Good to just 44 passing yards, while Mosley and sophomore lineman Jeremy Burnham were the Bobcats' top two pass rushers.
The biggest issue Bloomfield will have is replacing quarterback Rogelio Gonzales, although junior Vincent Marquez saw some time in the regular season behind center.
The New Mexico Bowl – without New Mexico teams
The New Mexico Bowl shapes up as a decent game Dec. 15 in Albuquerque as 10-2 Utah State of the Mountain West Conference meets 9-3 North Texas of Conference USA.
And, yes, it's the New Mexico Bowl, one of the few unbranded bowl games still going. That's because Gildan, the game's title sponsor since its inception, pulled out as the holder of naming rights earlier this year. It leaves the ESPN-owned bowl with its original name.
In case you're scoring at home, the Mountain West Conference representative has lost this game twice in a row just one time in the previous 12 contests. Colorado State lost to Marshall last year. Utah State is playing in the New Mexico Bowl for the second time; it defeated UTEP in 2015.
Lobos vs. New Mexico State tonight
The University of New Mexico men's basketball team usually doesn't waste any time packing its bags and heading out of town after a road game. This weekend was a rare exception as the team stayed overnight in Peoria, Ill., after Saturday's win at Bradley and practiced Sunday morning before heading to Chicago for a flight to El Paso.
The Lobos play again Tuesday night in Las Cruces against New Mexico State, meaning the two-game road swing actually began during the team's flight out of town Friday morning and will finally end in the wee hours of Wednesday morning when the team buses back to Albuquerque after the Aggie game.
NMSU has won four straight games in the Rio Grande Rivalry, its longest streak since sweeping the annual series in 1994 and 1995. They haven't won five in a row against New Mexico between 1954-56.
A.D. /coach out for treatment
New Mexico School for the Deaf athletic director and head boys basketball coach Letty Perez told The New Mexican on Saturday that she will not be coaching the team for at least the first month of the season as she received cancer treatment in Houston.
Perez said she learned of her condition in late October and is having surgery on Tuesday with the expectation she will return to the sidelines in January.
In the interim, assistant coach Leo Gutierrez will oversee the program, which has its first game on Tuesday at home against Monte del Sol.