Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Prep football capsules

Prep football practice opens Aug. 1, and once again we have the usual suspects who look to be in contention in District 3-5A.
Are Mayfield and Las Cruces High ever going to have a down season?
Maybe one of these years, but it won’t be in 2011.
These two clubs are sure to be loaded — in a wide-open state no less. It seems that all bets are off for a 2011 District 3-5A champion.
With fall camp opening in less than two weeks, we take a look at our local teams and what to expect.

Mayfield Trojans
The skinny: The defending state champions are back at it, not looking to rebuild but simply looking to reload. This will be one of the top teams in the state once again.
Quarterback keeper: Quarterback Axten Franzoy looks to be in for a big year. He came on strong down the stretch of last season and during the playoffs, performing flawlessly in the Trojans 69-42 state championship victory over Manzano.
Hitting the hole: Running back Ricky Milks returns to the Trojans after a big second half of the 2010 season. In summary, Milks has top-end speed, which makes him a gamebreaker every time he touches the ball.
In the trenches: The Trojans are traditionally strong on the lines of scrimmage and this year there are some prime candidates. Linebackers Isaac Ramirez and Mundo Gonzales and defensive linemen Jesus Olivas, Heber Escamilla and Cayman Greene are all names to keep an eye on.

Las Cruces Bulldawgs
The skinny: This is a talented team that should contend, with weapons on offense to go along with a precocious defense.
Running man: Quarterback Devin Perez proved he could do the job last year, inserted for an injured Jeremy Buurma and leading the Bulldawgs to an undefeated record in District 3-5A. Perez is a running quarterback who will need to throw the ball more effectively in 2011. With that being said, head coach Jim Miller and coordinator Mark Lopez know what it takes to build an offense, and a quarterback.
Artillery: Is running back Xavier Hall the best in the state? He’s certainly in the mix and will do big things if healthy. Another intriguing piece is the tight end combination of Geoff Segovia and Kamryn Dixon, who can both provide a matchup nightmare in the passing game. Troy Honeycutt anchors the offensive line.
Young and restless: The Bulldawgs defense is young and aggressive.
Defensive linemen Taylor Tisby and Jacob Banegas are two players to watch going forward.
Segovia and Dixon will also be in the mix up front while cornerback David Baca will be a key piece once again.

Oñate Knights
The skinny: This team will be better than a season ago, but will it show in the win column? A new coach is on board and OHS features arguably the district’s toughest schedule.
New sheriff: The Knights needed a new voice in their locker room and got one when they hired Caleb Hull to be their new head coach this offseason. Hull is young and brash, looking to make an impact and change the brand at OHS. Offseason reviews have been positive for Hull and his young coaching staff. Will the honeymoon last into the season?
Some talent: Were the Knights better than it appeared last year, finishing with a 2-8 record while featuring a rock-solid schedule? Possibly. Some holdovers remain. Look for Raymon Carbajal to make an impact at quarterback and Caesar Chavez to perform at running back. Shaquille Pettes and Moises Ibarra look to be leaders on the offensive line.
Multiple look: The Knights will have different philosophies on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, OHS is going from a run-first, second and third attack to a more spread-out approach. Think Las Cruces High — Hull’s previous stomping grounds — with a bit more passing.
Defensively, the Knights will switch from a 4-3 base to an aggressive 5-2 or 3-4 alignment.
In theory it should be more fan friendly from a season ago. Of course, the most fan-friendly brand of football is a competitive team.

Best of the rest
Gadsden High School
Expect Gadsden to be an improved team in 2011.
Will they contend for a District 3-5A title? Don’t bet on that.
But the Panthers could very well push for third place in the league.
This is head coach Jim Hite’s fourth year with the program and, despite losing standout running back Matt Minton, the Panthers should have talent.
Don’t sleep on this South County program.

This team simply hasn’t been a threat and don’t expect it to change in 2011.
The Tigers are young and inexperienced after pocketing two wins a season ago.
A tough schedule also awaits — of course Las Cruces High and Mayfield are on the docket along with Clovis, Goddard, Hobbs and Carlsbad.
Don’t expect much from the Tigers in 2011.

Mesilla Valley Christian

This local Class 1A school could very well win the District 3-1A championship and possibly a state title.
The SonBlazers have had two successful years under head coach Charles Gleghorn, qualifying for the state playoffs last year.
They're fun to watch and will put a ton of points on the board this year.

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