For Enchantment Sports
Defending 5A state champion and preseason No. 1 Artesia certainly looked beatable in the season’s first two weeks.
In fact, they were beaten. Twice. But after the Bulldogs started out an uncharacteristic 0-2, then have regained some mojo. They’ve won two straight, having demolished Deming 56-12 last week.
A visit to top-ranked 6A Cleveland Friday night at 7 p.m.
Cleveland head coach, Heath Ridenour said the series started three years ago, “because we are always looking for quality opponents to get us ready for the playoffs, and Artesia fits that bill.”
The Storm (4-0) are rolling. But Ridenour says his bunch is focused, especially about Artesia sophomore quarterback, Clay Houghtaling.
“He isn’t your typical Artesia quarterback” said Ridenour. “He will break the pocket and run, and we have to be disciplined on defense. We have to change our defense so he doesn’t get comfortable.”
In their 41-6 romp at Las Cruces Mayfield last week, the Storm rushed for 170 yards and passed for 230 yards. Junior running back Dorian Lewis rushed for 170 yards and one touchdown at Mayfield (sacks are negative rushing yardage statistically, leading to the 170 total for team and Lewis).
Ridenour knows Lewis has received much of the team’s attention, but sophomore quarterback Jeff Davison is “by far one of the most accurate quarterbacks there is. Davison is 15 years old, so of course there is a learning curve.”
But Cleveland is not simply all about offense. On defense, it starts up front with senior defensive lineman, Isaac C’ debaca, sophomore defensive lineman, Estevan Pargas, and senior defensive lineman George Guerrero. While they are eating up blocks, junior linebacker Colton Madison and senior linebacker Dion Hunter to use their speed to make tackles.
Senior cornerback Chris Thomas is often “left on an island in one-on-one coverage” Ridenour said.
Sophomore safeties, Trey Ortega, Trey Watson and sophomore cornerback Luke Wysong, “don’t play like sophomores” Ridenour stated.
Elsewhere in 5A, the top-ranked Roswell Coyotes, coming off of a big win last week against then No. 1 Los Lunas , will host the winless Miyamura Patriots (0-4) on Friday in the Wool Bowl.
Also on Friday night, third-ranked Belen (3-1) is at seventh-ranked Piedra Vista. Belen senior running back, Diego Casillas has rushed for 668 yards and scored six touchdowns, and has added two receiving TDs. Fourth-ranked Los Lunas (3-1) will try to bounce back from that Roswell loss against Cibola (3-1) on Saturday at Nusenda Community Stadium.
Fifth-ranked Goddard is idle. The Rockets play host to Los Lunas on September 28 and surprising Santa Teresa (4-0) is at ninth-ranked Valencia (3-1) Friday night at 7 p.m.
Eighth- ranked Farmington (2-2) travels to Colorado to face Durango (2-2) on Friday night and 10th-ranked Valley is idle. The Vikings next play Highland (1-3) on September 27 at Milne Stadium.
Ed Nunez is a play-by-play announcer for ProView Networks and a contributor to Enchantment Sports. If you have information, tips or questions for Ed, please send to EnchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.