Watch these storylines during Farmington's opening weekend of 2022 high school football

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The opening weekend of the 2022 high school football season comes with an interesting array of attractive matchups and intriguing storylines.

With a pair of new head coaches set to make their debut on the sidelines this weekend, and the renewal of a crosstown rivalry set to take center stage on Friday night, there's a little something for everyone.

Here's a look at some of the more fascinating storylines for this opening weekend of football action.

Farmington vs. Piedra Vista, Friday, 7 p.m. at Hutchison Stadium

There's something about a rivalry game that stands out over most other games on a schedule.

The crosstown showdown between the Panthers and Scorpions, though no longer a district game between the two schools, is steeped in tradition that dates back to its initial playing in 2000.

Now in its 23rd renewal, the series is knotted up at 11 wins apiece, with the Scorpions having won each of the last three games between the two schools.

The last two times the game has been played as the season opener for both teams, Piedra Vista came out on top. In 2016, the Panthers shut out the Scorpions 20-0. The following year, again on opening night, Piedra Vista topped Farmington 17-14.

The Piedra Vista football team lifts the milk can trophy after beating rival Farmington in a 2016 football game at Hutchison Stadium.

"It's a really big deal for the fans and for the spectators," said Farmington coach Jeff Dalton. "The kids get into it, and it's an important game for both of us."

The Scorpions have won each of the last three meetings between the two schools, outscoring Piedra Vista by a combined margin of 122-33.

The Panthers come into the opener ranked sixth in the state in Class 5A, according to a poll released by MaxPreps. According to the website, early season rankings are based on a number of factors, including quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents) and strength of schedule.

Farmington High football players Sir Ryan Sandoval (56), Aaron Hewey (44) and Patrick Shay (2) lead the Scorpions onto the field before their game against Durango, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 at Hutchison Stadium.

Farmington, making its debut in Class 6A this season, is the 12th-ranked team in the classification. District 2-5/6A rivals La Cueva (second), Sandia (ninth) and Eldorado (11th) are all ranked ahead of the Scorpions coming into the season.

The Scorpions vs. Panthers game will be our featured Daily-Times Game of the Week, featuring live in-game updates and more. Check out our live coverage on our website throughout the game beginning Friday night.

Aztec at Miyamura, Friday, 7 p.m.

Hank Strauss, who took over as Aztec's head football coach last spring, is anxious to get the first game of the season underway.

The Tigers will look to get the season kicked off right when they visit Miyamura, who beat the Tigers last season when they met at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium.

"We're all real anxious to get back on the field in front of the fans," Strauss said. "There's only so much you learn about yourselves when you're in practice, so it's exciting to have this game coming up."

The Tigers and Patriots have split their most recent pair of games, dating back to the spring football season of 2021, when Aztec clobbered Miyamura by a final score of 40-8.

Kirtland Central at Silver, Friday, 7 p.m.

Nine months after Kirtland Central saw its season come to an end in the Class 4A playoffs, losing at Silver 40-9, the Broncos will be hoping to erase those memories.

First-year head coach Travis Clary, who has spent more than a decade working as an assistant at both Kirtland Central and Farmington High, will guide the Broncos on another long road trip, some 420 miles away, for a chance at redemption.

Meanwhile, second-year head coach Jerome Ortiz, who guided the Fighting Colts to a 7-5 record last year, will be looking to validate the team's preseason standing as the fourth-ranked team in the state at Class 4A. Silver is ranked behind Lovington, Albuquerque Academy and Bloomfield in the MaxPreps poll, which was released last weekend.

Shiprock at Tohatchi, Friday, 7 p.m.

The road has not been the kindest of places for the Chieftains in recent years. The Shiprock High School football team is 3-7 in road openers dating back to 2013.

Playing as a freelance team representing Class 4A, the Chieftains are one of three schools playing as an independent squad, joining the Rio Grande Ravens out of Albuquerque and the Tse' Yi' Gai Warriors, who play their home games in Cuba.

Both Tohatchi and Shiprock enter the season ranked 17th in the state according to MaxPreps. For Tohatchi, the ranking places them ahead of District 1-3A rivals like Zuni and Newcomb, while Navajo Prep will debut next week as the eighth-ranked team in the state at Class 3A.

The preseason ranking has Shiprock last in the state at Class 4A.