Photos courtesy of David Montes (DavidMontesPhotography.com)
By Ed Nuñez
Enchantment Sports staff writer
At 5-feet, 6-inches, 130 pounds, Noah Lopez wouldn’t seem to turn many heads on a football field.
Until you try to tackle him.
Lopez, a senior running back/quarterback at Highland High, has been turning heads and opening eyes all season. And this week, he is the Dreamstyle/Enchantment Sports Metro Player of the Week.
On Friday (Sept. 27), Lopez rushed for 306 yards and two touchdowns in the Hive’s 58-13 rout of Valley.
Lopez transferred from Valley, and had to sit out his junior year because of a knee injury. But he is making up for lost time this season for HHS and coach Phil Lovato.
And he is comfortable all over the field.
“We alternate Noah and his brother at quarterback, but Nathan is the one more under center than Noah,” Lovato said.
Nathan was at HHS as a freshman, but got to team with his brother after Noah transferred. They wanted to go to a school where they could both play together and be on varsity right away.
“Even though they are separated by two years, there are similarities,” Lovato said. “They fight and bicker, but they love playing together. In the game against Valley, it was sloppy in the first half, but Noah was more patient in the second half and our line blocked well.
“Our offensive line loves blocking for Noah. We had 161 snaps during Friday’s game and most of our kids played all 161 of them,” Lovato said.
For the season, Noah Lopez has 790 rushing yards on 113 carries with six touchdowns. He also has 12 catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
Noah also plays cornerback on defense and has 20 tackles, six passes broke up, one sack and one fumble return for a touchdown.
“We’ve been preparing for this for two years,” Lovato said. “We lost our starting tackle with a torn ACL early on, but we’ve kept moving forward. In many ways, it’s been like a perfect storm.”
While Noah is a dynamo on the field, he is anything but cocky off of it.
“I followed the opening when I broke through the line,” Noah said of Friday’s game. “I had no idea what my stats were. The line did a really good job of blocking,” said Lopez of the game against Valley last Friday.
On playing with his younger brother, Noah said, “It never gets old. At the end of the day, I have his back and he has mine.”
Noah was equally complimentary of Lovato.
“Coach is tough, but he knows what he is talking about. We all pretty much just take his word.”
The Highland football teams’ struggles with numbers have been well documented, the Hornets are a robust 4-1 and ranked 7th in this week’s 5A poll.
“It feels a lot better coming off of the season we had last year. Noah said, “I think if we can stay healthy, we can go deep in the playoffs.”
Ed Nuñez is a play-by-play announcer for ProView Networks and a staff writer with Enchantment Sports. If you have information, tips or questions for Ed, please send to EnchantmentSportsNM@gmail.com.
The Metro Player of the Week feature is chosen by Enchantment Sports with the assistance of ProView Networks, and sponsored by Dreamstyle Remodeling. Each week, we will feature a top-notch athlete from the area.