By Ed Nunez
For Enchantment Sports
This week’s only undefeated and untied team in Class 5A is the Santa Teresa Desert Warriors, coached by Shae Vierra.
The Warriors are 5-0 and ranked No. 7.
They were averaging 31.8 point a game, but showed the could win with defense, too – winning at Valencia last week 14-7. But junior quarterback, Izaiah Velazquez sprained an ankle in the first half last week, and the Warriors could be “pretty one dimensional,” Vierra says for his team’s game in El Paso this week against Horizon (2-2). He says Velazquez’s status is uncertain.
The Warriors have a bye week after this game and Vierra is confident that Velazquez will be ready for the next game, at home against Roswell Goddard.
Before the season, Vierra said that junior center Alexander Ayon was one of the best center’s in the state and he has not disappointed.
“Ayon transferred from California, where he played at highly regarded, Narbonne High” Vierra stated.
On offense, Vierra has 10 seniors, giving the Warriors much-needed experience. On defense, the coach said junior defensive end Guillermo Maldonado (five sacks) and senior safety, Zion Brisby, have been stand outs. Brisby is also a wide receiver on offense.
“We feel like we can compete with any team in our class,” Vierra says. “The schedule has been favorable in the first half of our season (but), we feel like our team is getting it done on both sides of the ball.”
Elsewhere in Class 5A, the second-ranked Los Lunas Tigers (4-1) are at third-ranked Goddard (3-0-1) at 7 on Friday night. The Tigers will play without star senior quarterback Nick Gaerlan.
The Los Lunas quarterback was hurt early of the fourth quarter of the Tigers thrilling, gut wrenching, 38-35 victory against the Cibola Cougars last week.
Los Lunas head coach Jeremy Maupin said that Gaerlan “was at practice and in good spirits, but did not participate.”
Maupin said that Gaerlan’s status for the rest of the season “is undetermined at this time.”
Junior quarterback, Kade Benavidez, who came off the bench late in the game against Cibola and led the Tigers on a game-winning field goal drive, “is a smart quarterback, throws the ball well and the team has rallied around him,” Maupin said.
Without Gaerlan in the running game, Maupin said he is confident in junior running back, Hunter Williamson, junior running back Donald Thomas and senior running back, Nick Tafoya. “Roswell Goddard has had two weeks to get ready for us, they are a hard-hitting football team, and we have our work cut out,” Maupin added.
Also in 5A, eighth-ranked Valley (2-2) faces Highland (1-4) tonight at 7 at Milne.
In other 5A games on Friday, top-ranked Roswell Coyotes (3-1) will travel to Belen to take on the sixth-ranked Eagles (3-2) and fourth-ranked Artesia (2-3) is at Class 4A’s second-ranked Lovington Wildcats (3-2).
Elswewhere, ninth-ranked Farmington (2-3) will host 4A’s eighth-ranked Kirtland Central (2-3) and 10th-ranked Valencia (3-2) is at 4A’s sixth-ranked Bloomfield (3-2).
Ed Nunez is a play-by-play announcer for ProView Networks and a frequent contributor to Enchantment Sports. If you have tips or story ideas for Ed, please email EnchantmentSportsNM@gmail.com.