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Here are some key football games to watch during the first week of the season

Matt Hollinshead, mhollinshead@daily-times.com

Kirtland Central vs. Farmington

The Scorpions’ offense lost at least eight key skill players to graduation in the last two years alone. Younger and less experience players will have a tall order in KC, but they picked things up rather quickly in training camp.

The backfield is getting well-timed bursts taking off down the sides and in between the tackles, and the receivers are creating some space for quick out routes going downfield. 

Now that Caleb Carrillo’s experienced the big stage in last year’s 5A playoff game at Deming and has established himself as FHS’s quarterback, that could make the transition even smoother.

Kirtland, meanwhile, should put on another high-scoring show with players like Troy White-David, Dallin Mangelson, Brock Dowdy and Ty Jenks back leading the Broncos’ passing attack.

KC will put up points, but it remains to be seen whether Farmington counters every time.

Kirtland Central's Dallin Mangleson scores a touchdown against Farmington, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018 at Hutchison Stadium in Farmington. Kirtland and FHS will do battle in Friday's 2019 opener at KCHS.

Piedra Vista vs. Los Lunas

PV won last year’s District 1-5A title and hosted a first-round playoff game, demonstrating that facing Rio Rancho and Cleveland in the now-defunct Class 6A made them even more battle-tested. 

The Panthers beat teams like St. Pius, Valley and Belen in 2018, but they couldn’t get it done playing on the road against 5A heavyweights Los Lunas and Roswell. Roswell beat Los Lunas in last year’s 5A state title game.

Now PV can redeem itself against those two foes, playing in a friendly confines of Hutchison Stadium. Right off the bat, a win over Los Lunas would do wonders for PV’s playoff résumé.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.