We take a look back at some teams that made an impact on the high school playing fields in 2012:
Santa Teresa boys basketball
Long an overlooked basketball team, the Desert Warriors won the Class 4A state championship a season ago with a 58-43 win over Gallup at The Pit in Albuquerque. The Desert Warriors entered the tournament undervalued - a well-coached team under veteran Bob Haack, Santa Teresa was seeded No. 7 and anchored by District 3-4A Player of the Year Adrian Ortegon. They opened postseason play with a 46-32 win over No. 11 Atrisco Heritage and then beat No. 2 Roswell 65-48 at The Pit. Then came the win over Gallup, which brought a raucous contingency to Albuquerque for the game only to see the Desert Warriors play the role of spoiler.
Chaparral boys soccer
Seeded No. 2 in the Class 4A soccer bracket, the Chaparral Lobos didn't disappoint, going the distance to capture the state championship. The Lobos beat Farmington 1-0 in the title game, played in Albuquerque this past November. Senior Adrian Cosio scored the game-winning goal in the contest, assisted by fellow seniors Enrique Martinez and Edgar Lopez. In total, Chaparral had 12 seniors on its state-championship roster. It was the first state title captured by the school, now in its seventh year of existence.
At some schools, finishing the football season with a 5-5 record is considered fairly pedestrian, at others a disappointment. But at Gadsden High School? Such a performance is a standout effort. Coming off a winless season and recording just five combined wins for all of 2008, the Panthers broke even and head coach Roy Gerela was named NMPreps.com South Coach of the Year. The Panthers won their season opener, 34-33 over Hobbs, before beating fellow south county rivals Chaparral and Santa Teresa by a combined score of 90-30. Once in District 3-5A play, the Panthers captured victories over Oñate and Alamogordo.
Las Cruces High soccer
While the Bulldawgs had a solid year on the soccer field and captured the District 3-5A championship, it was the ending of their season that garnered some attention, and controversy. Facing No. 1-seed Eldorado in the Class 5A State Tournament semifinals, the Bulldawgs lost 1-0 on a rebound off a corner kick in the 80th minute. In short, the Bulldawgs protested vociferously that an Eagles player was offsides on the play, yet to no avail as the game quickly ended and LCHS's state-title hopes were dashed. Things became so heated in the aftermath that Albuquerque Public Schools police came onto the field and even threatened to arrest coaches before clearing the field. The team was eventually escorted off, albeit with a bitter taste in its mouth.
Las Cruces High boys basketball
A very talented team, the Bulldawgs showed flashes of being a state-championship team in 2012. A versatile club, they finished the regular-season ranked No. 1 in the state, finished District 3-5A play with a 9-0 record and have a handful of other impressive wins on their resume during the year. The opening round of the state playoffs saw the Bulldawgs absolutely blow out Rio Rancho at LCHS. But in the state quarterfinals the team hit a roadblock, losing to No. 8 Clovis 69-58 in Albuquerque. It was an early-morning tipoff and an oddly-officiated contest, with many whistles being blown both ways and Bulldawgs point guard Joseph Garza - a key piece to the team's success - plagued with foul trouble. Clovis' John Dawson finished with a game-high 23 points, including some dagger 3-pointers in the second half.