With the annual Las Cruces High vs. Mayfield football rivalry game set to kick off this Friday, we take a look at the matchup. More news, notes and analysis will follow leading up to the contest. For now, an early-week primer:
• A month ago it looked like this would be a one-sided affair going in favor of the Bulldawgs. And, while an early-week prognostication still leans towards Las Cruces High, Mayfield has flipped a switch its last two games — really, since its bye week. The Trojans have blasted Oñate and Alamogordo their last two times on the field and have at least curtailed their early-season undoing — which was, essentially, a lack of execution in the form of turnovers and penalties. The Trojans haven't beaten themselves in recent weeks. Such a turn of events now at least gives us reason to believe this one can be interesting.
• Las Cruces High is simply a very talented team and has an advantage at most positions. Namely, quarterback where Jonathan Joy has had a solid season, along the offensive line and the team's defensive front-seven. Although Las Cruces High's secondary played better in a mid-season win at Artesia (one of the state's premier pass-happy teams) LCHS could still be vulnerable defending that area of the field. But can Mayfield take advantage if opportunities present themselves in the passing game? The Trojans haven't thrown the ball much this season, but getting a big play or two through the air could tip the scales back in their favor.
• Las Cruces High won big last weekend: A 50-0 triumph over Gadsden that was called at halftime due to the New Mexico Activities Association's mercy rule. Were they looking to make a statement? Any way you slice it, such was an emphatic victory.
• One player to watch for the Trojans: Sophomore quarterback Kavika Johnson, who has the potential to be a super one. He already has the wheels to make an impact in the running game. What about the passing game, though? Friday night could be a good time to find out how this sophomore with potential can spin it downfield.
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