Rivalry game is this weekend folks.....Keys to the Friday's 7 p.m. contest between Las Cruces High and Mayfield at Aggie Memorial Stadium:
• The mental game: Las Cruces High has won four straight games in this series and the question becomes is LCHS head coach Jim Miller in the Trojans’ head? The past two years the Bulldawgs beat the Trojans in the second half. And then there’s the other variables — how will certain players perform in front of 20,000-plus fans and in what direction will the momentum shift? Simply put, this game is different than any other either team has played this year.
• Quarterback play: Mayfield has a fine QB in Axten Franzoy — a senior who won the state title last year, he’s playing at a high level. As for Las Cruces High, Devin Perez is a runner and the team’s passing game has underwhelmed at times. Perez has been most effective when throwing outside the pocket and Mayfield’s secondary has been susceptible in coverage this year. But will the Bulldawgs call some shots downfield, and, if so, will the throws be delivered accurately? Both teams must be balanced offensively.
• Who will get going first?: With Las Cruces High’s passing game, it stands to reason the Bulldawgs aren’t as equipped to come from behind. If Mayfield can jump out to an early lead, it be the deciding the factor.
• The weather: Forecasts call for possibly strong wind, which could have a major impact. In this case, it could very well favor Las Cruces High — such conditions could ground Mayfield’s passing attack and keep the game close. As for LCHS, they’re more than capable of winning a grinder with standout running back Xavier Hall leading a ball-controlled attack.
• Trenches, turnovers: You could say this about any Las Cruces High vs. Mayfield game. Expect a close contest and, whoever wins along the lines of scrimmage and comes out on top in the turnover battle will likely win the game. It could very well be that simple.