Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Johnson offered by regional college programs

(Mayfield quarterback Kavika Johnson carries the ball last season against Gadsden High School/Photo by Robin Zielinski)

Wrote a story this week on Mayfield quarterback Kavika Johnson, who's received offers to play college football from New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, the University of Texas-El Paso and Brigham Young University.

With Johnson as arguably New Mexico's top prep quarterback, expect the Trojans to be right there in the State Championship conversation once again in 2014. He's a big reason why, along with the Trojans having some of the top coaching in state, headlined by their head coach Michael Bradley.

Quarterback play and quality coaching. It's obviously a recipe for success, and I'd expect it to be a theme this season like many others. The same can be said at Las Cruces High (with quarterback Kameron Miller under center, and his father Jim Miller manning the sidelines) and Eldorado (with the combination of quarterback Zach Gentry and head coach Charlie Dotson).

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, June 13, 2014

LINK: ESPN story on former Aggie coach DeWayne Walker

(An ESPN story focused on former New Mexico State head coach DeWayne Walker, and his departure from the football program/Associated Press photo)

A recent ESPN story from Andrea Adelson looked at two college football coaches who recently walked away from head coaching jobs to assume assistant coaching roles with other programs.

One was former Alabama-Birmingham head coach Garrick McGee, who became offensive coordinator at Louisville. The other was former New Mexico State head coach DeWayne Walker, who, as we all know, returned to the NFL to become defensive backs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Walker's story has been hashed over before. Still, it was a good rendition from Adelson, who I thought was fair in her analysis while also speaking with Aggie Athletics Director McKinley Boston.

For Walker at NMSU, it was a resource issue. He made no bones about it during his tenure at the school, from his first couple years with the program until his last.

Yet I will also say this: If Walker had stability at offensive coordinator in all four years with the Aggies, I believe he would have turned it. If Doug Martin - who did a quality job as offensive coordinator in 2011 - returned in 2012, would the Aggies have been a bowl team? I obviously can't say that but, regardless, I know they would have been more competitive. A three-to-five win team in my estimation, not 1-11.

Instead, Walker had four coaches in four years at that key coordinator post, with little chance of developing continuity or consistency.

I still believe Walker's chance will come again, either as an NFL defensive coordinator or as a college head coach somewhere. And, yes, I believe he will be successful with it.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

PREP BASEBALL: Rosters for 2014 Bob Ogas All-Star series

The Bob Ogas North/South All-Star Baseball Classic is this Friday and Saturday at Apodaca Park in Las Cruces. We'll have stories in the coming days on the All-Star series, but for now, a look at the 4A/5A North and South rosters:

4A/5A North
Colby Brown, Abq. Academy
Reed Cunningham, Abq. Academy
Ryan Dow, Cibola
Ambrose Romero, Eldorado
Trey Alexanderson, La Cueva
Connor Calvert, La Cueva
Jeff Deimling, La Cueva
Alex Howard, La Cueva
Chad Smith, La Cueva
Jake Downs, Los Alamos
Othon Delacruz, Rio Grande
Eli Cappello, Rio Rancho
Victor Chavez, Rio Rancho
Marcus Martinez, Rio Rancho
Grant Templin, Rio Rancho
Kent Keeling, St. Pius X
Kyle Piersol, St. Pius X
Tristin Rizek, St. Pius X
Bo Coleman, Valley High
Daniel Herrera, Volcano Vista

4A/5A South
Richard Adler, Alamogordo
Caleb Prentiss, Carlsbad
Luis Sonora, Carlsbad
Jared Rodriguez, Carlsbad
Dev'n Ortiz, Carlsbad
Sergio Ortega, Carlsbad
Ben Koerper, Centennial
Bobby Gannaway, Deming
Isaiah Almanza, Deming
Anthony Acevedo, Gadsden
Josh Wagone, Goddard
Taryn Nunez, Goddard
Cody French, Goddard
Mitchell Weathers, Goddard
Josh Gomez, Mayfield
David Montoya, Mayfield
Justin Rivera, Mayfield
Kevin Harris, Santa Teresa
Josh Baca, Valencia
Tyler Klein, Valencia

Friday, June 6, 2014

Local 2014 football schedules

A look at high school football schedules for local city schools Las Cruces High, Mayfield, Oñate and Centennial. Keep in mind there is district realignment this year in New Mexico high school athletics, with the Bulldawgs, Trojans and Knights moving into the newly-formed District 3-6A, while the Hawks become a member of the reconfigured District 3-5A.

Las Cruces High
Aug. 28 vs. Montwood 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 vs. La Cueva 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 at Volcano Vista 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Rio Rancho 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 vs. Centennial 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Artesia 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. Deming* 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Gadsden* 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 BYE
Oct. 31 vs. Oñate* 7 p.m.
Nov. 7 at Mayfield* 7 p.m.
* District 3-6A game

Aug. 29 vs. Hobbs 1 p.m.
Sept. 5 at Franklin 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 vs. Carlsbad 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 vs. Alamogordo 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 at Eldorado 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 vs. Manzano 1 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Onate * 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 BYE
Oct. 24 at Deming* 7 p.m.
Oct. 30 vs. Gadsden* 7 p.m.
Nov. 7 vs Las Cruces* 7 p.m.
* District 3-6A game

Aug. 29 at Centennial 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 vs. Eastlake 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 vs. Cleveland 1 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Hobbs 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 at West Mesa 1 p.m.
Oct. 3 vs. Rio Grande 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 vs. Mayfield* 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Deming* 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 vs. Gadsden* 7 p.m.
Oct. 31 at Las Cruces* 7 p.m.
Nov. 7 BYE
* District 3-6A game

Aug. 29 vs. Oñate 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 at Gadsden 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 at Del Norte 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Socorro (Texas) 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 at Las Cruces 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 BYE
Oct. 10 at Los Lunas* 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 vs. Chaparral* 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 vs. Valencia* 7 p.m.
Oct. 31 at Belen* 7 p.m.
Nov. 7 at Santa Teresa* 7 p.m.
* District 3-5A game

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Aggies will try to capitalize - and surprise - against a more manageable 2014 schedule

Early reviews on the New Mexico State football team haven't been standout in national magazines such as Athlon Sports and Lindy's Sports, where the Aggies are ranked at or near the bottom of the publications' national rankings.

In a way, it's tough to accept. In another, we're aware the 2014 season will be a transitional one with plenty of new faces both on the team's roster and amongst the program's coaching staff.

Then again, one look at the schedule also sees a substantially easier docket than last year's independent slate of games.

The first four games, in my estimation, are of critical importance. And the first two are paramount - I believe they could make or break the Aggies season.

That would be the season home opener against Cal Poly - a program from the Football Championship Subdivision - and then a road game at a Georgia State team that went winless a season ago. A 2-0 mark would provide NMSU with a necessary boost going into the team's two rivalry games at UTEP (Sept. 13) and vs. New Mexico (Sept. 20). A loss or two, however? It could do just the opposite.

It might not seem substantial, but if the Aggies can go 2-2 in those first four games, there are some contests further down their schedule they could possibly steal. A road game at Idaho stands out (NMSU beat the Vandals last season 24-16) and the team has four home games down the stretch against Georgia Southern, Texas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Monday, June 2, 2014

PODCAST: New Mexico State 2013-14 Year in Review

We sat down with for our final New Mexico State athletics podcast of the 2013-14 academic year. Of course, we recap everything from Aggie baseball and softball, to NMSU men's basketball and football, and much more.

Click here to listen.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Trashaun Nixon joins the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL

Former Aggie linebacker Trashaun Nixon is now with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. Nixon confirmed to the Sun-News that he has in fact signed with the Argonauts, and is listed on the the team's current roster.

Nixon, listed at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, had a tryout with the New Orleans Saints following the 2014 NFL Draft. He will now hope to stick with the Argonauts.

A transfer to NMSU from Ventura College, Nixon was one of the Aggies top defensive players the past two seasons. Last year he played outside linebacker before moving inside. He finished second on the team with 93 tackles and led the way with 13 tackles for a loss. Nixon has a nice blend of size and speed, and he led the Aggies last season with three sacks.

Two other Aggies signed as undrafted free agents this past offseason - wide receiver Austin Franklin and offensive lineman Davonte Wallace - are still on NFL rosters with the St. Louis Rams and Miami Dolphins, respectively.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Link: Putting Ward's departure into context

Former Aggie head baseball coach Rocky Ward saw his contract terminated this past week at New Mexico State University.

It was a tough way to go out for Ward, who was at NMSU for 18 years. While Ward held a career record three games under .500, there were also plenty of years where he and his father Gary got everything they could have out of the program.

Two NCAA Regional appearances and and a 2012 WAC championship were career highlights for Ward, who’s Aggies competed in quality mid-major baseball leagues over the years - the Big West, Sun Belt and Western Athletic Conferences all provided their fair fare share of challenges and quality competition on a year-in, year-out basis.

Here’s a Sunday column, written to put Ward’s tenure into context and see where the Aggie program must go from here.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, May 30, 2014

VIDEO: Rocky Ward era comes to close; a look back at 2013-14 sports year

We recap a disappointing end to the Rocky Ward era at NMSU, while also providing a look back at the 2013-14 year in sports in Las Cruces:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Top 2014 prep sports moment: Las Cruces vs. Mayfield football, in a landslide

We took a look back at some of the top moments of the past year in Las Cruces high school sports in Sunday's Las Cruces Sun-News.

Jason Groves wrote a commentary on what stood out during the 2013-14 prep sports year, while we also recapped the top teams locally that won state championships - or came close to doing so.

Is there any debate, however, that the No. 1 prep sports moment in 2013-14 were the high school football games between Las Cruces High and Mayfield? It would be tough to argue any different.

These were spectacular games - both MHS's 28-20 regular-season finale victory, and the Bulldawgs 28-27 State Championship win in early December. Obviously the state title game ended when Jalen Bishop blocked a Mayfield extra-point attempt with 1:31 remaining to preserve the Bulldawgs win.

These two teams continue to operate simply on another level than any other in state. They held a combined 23-3 record in 2014 - with two of those losses coming to each other. They take the field knowing they will win, and more often than not, they do.

Don't expect those intangibles to change this upcoming season, either. Both the Bulldawgs and Trojans have two of the top quarterbacks in the state - Kameron Miller and Kavicka Johnson, specifically - and elite coaching at their disposal.

Like many other years, when it came down the Las Cruces vs. Mayfield football, there were huge crowds, tons of anticipation and then the games lived up to the billing. Tough to beat that, no matter the year.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, May 24, 2014

VIDEO: Where does NMSU football go now along the offensive line?

In our weekly video, we talk about the resignation of NMSU offensive line coach Chris Symington, as well as the Aggie baseball team's chance of winning the WAC Tournament:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Holbrook expected to be hired as offensive coordinator at New Mexico Highlands

Former New Mexico State Aggie quarterback Chase Holbrook is expected to be hired at New Mexico Highlands as the football program's next offensive coordinator.

Holbrook's hire was reported on the website and was also announced on a Facebook page dedicated to New Mexico Highlands football.

An announcement is expected soon. According to a Highlands official, the university is going through the typical human resources process and is hopeful to finalize things in the coming days.

Holbrook, who's final year at NMSU was during the 2009 season, was hired by former Aggie head coach Hal Mumme at McMurry University the following year. He coached running backs at McMurry before coaching quarterbacks with the program.

While Mumme was let go from McMurry following last season - he himself has since landed at Division-III Belhaven - Holbrook now finds himself back in New Mexico, at Las Vegas-based Highlands.

Holbrook starred in the Aggies Air-Raid offense during his playing days at NMSU. He's the school's all-time leader with 11,846 passing yards and 85 touchdowns while being an untraditional player at the position - standing close to 6-foot-5 and weighing 245 pounds, Holbrook's only scholarship offer at quarterback came from Mumme when the coach was at Southeastern Louisiana.

Aside from strong wide receiving corps - highlighted by standout Chris Williams - Holbrook didn't always have the strongest of supporting casts at NMSU. Bad defenses, abysmal kicking games and without the help of a running attack.

Through it all he was a class student-athlete - always humble, playing hurt and perhaps overachieving during his NMSU career - and a good fit in Mumme's quarterback-friendly system, they gave the Aggies a chance to win most weeks.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Aggies need top pitchers available in WAC Tournament

(A healthy Chris Bradley would go a long way towards the Aggies springing a Round 1 win over Utah Valley/Photo by Carlos Javier Sanchez)

Can the New Mexico State Aggie baseball team win the 2014 Western Athletic Conference Tournament this weekend? While it can be hard picturing such a developent, it’s also possible.

For the No. 6-seeded Aggies to have any hope, however, they must have their top-two starting pitchers - Chris Bradley and Billy Conard - to be healthy enough to take the hill.

Bradley has been battling back spasms, while Conard has an injured ankle. The Aggies don’t have a ton of pitching depth the begin with, and need their top-two hurlers atop the rotation to at least give them a shot.

Bradley, a senior, has been very good at times, striking out 61 batters (while walking 46) in 65 innings of work. He sports a 3-6 record and a 4.98 ERA in 13 appearances this season, all of which have been in a starting role.

Conard has a 3-3 record of his own with a 4.94 ERA, while striking out 48 and walking 25 in 62 innings. Of his 14 appearances this year, 11 have been starts.

Behind those two are a handful of wildcards. Riley Barr has been the team’s top pitcher statistically (5-2 record, 2.72 ERA) although he’s been used primarily out of the bullpen. Of Barr’s 23 appearances this season, 21 have come as a reliever.

Robert Kraft, a left hander, has made 12 starts this season, although has been up and down with a 5.46 ERA. Trey Higginbothom, another lefty, has made just two starts this season although one was a solid effort against Arizona State (3.1 innings, two hits, five walks and one earned run).

The point is, the Aggies don’t have a ton of pitching depth. They need this first before the other necessary variables fall into place - such as their offense catching fire over a four-day stretch, and their defense playing at at least a respectable level - in order to win.

NMSU opens the 2014 WAC Tournament on Wednesday at 8 p.m. (MDT) against No. 3-seed Utah Valley. The Tournament will be played in Phoenix, Ariz.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, May 16, 2014

Aggie football loses practice time due to APR score

The New Mexico State Aggie football team was penalized for a low APR score, and as a result will lose four hours of practice time - or one day - per week during the 2014 season.

The APR is a tool the NCAA uses to measure the number of athletes who graduate. Each athlete is worth two points toward the APR score per semester: one point for retention/graduation and one point if a player is academically eligible. If a player transfers and is not eligible, that player counts two points against the APR score as well.

Aggie football had a four-year average of 915 (between the 2009-10 and 2012-13 academic years) and a single-year average of 907. The NCAA requires a score of 930 or the risk of possible sanctions.

Thirty six NCAA athletic programs will face some sort of APR penalty this fall, four of which will be FBS football programs. Idaho and UNLV are banned from postseason play in 2014, while Oklahoma State and NMSU suffered a reduction in practice time.

First off, I think a reduction in practice time can in fact be worked around. Certainly it will take some creativity on the coaching staff's part, and head coach Doug Martin said Friday's walk through sessions will now be moved to Saturday's typical gameday routine - which already counts for three hours of the allotted 20 hours of practice time per week. One would figure some meeting time and film work could also be shaved here and there as well, and players can still put in work away from a coach's supervision - throwing on the side, for instance, or extra film study. These things do not count towards a team's allotted practice schedule.

One thing that should be said: it's not abnormal for a football program like NMSU's - and many others in the country for that matter - to take some academic risks when recruiting student-athletes.

It's a fine line. Of course, a program would like to have both - good academics and a winning record all at once. But pulling off such a feat is easier said than done.

While there are plenty of college football players who may not be academic scholars, they can also help a team win a game or two on its schedule. Plenty of programs would take that risk if it beefs up their overall win record.

Martin - who's entering his second year as head coach at NMSU - has often said the program will move away from junior college transfers and recruit four-year high school players, in part because of academic performance. Time will tell if such an approach produces positive results simultaneously, on the field and in the classroom.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

PODCAST: Talking APR, Aggies in the NFL draft, and postseasons for respective spring sports

We join for another one of our weekly podcasts. Click here to listen.

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (5/15)

In our weekly sports video, we explain APR-mandated sanctions against NMSU football and dive into the New Mexico high school baseball and softball tournaments:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Under circumstances, Symington hire appears to be good one

The New Mexico State Aggies announced the hiring of Chris Symington as offensive line coach last week.

Symington appears to be a good hire for the program, particularly when considering the circumstances surrounding his addition. The Aggies were put in a tough spot when offensive line coach Steve Marshall left for the Green Bay Packers last week. Marshall was hired at NMSU in January, coached spring practices and then departed. Not that he can be necessarily blamed for the move - he has a career to worry about after all, and the NFL is the NFL. With that being said, it wasn't an ideal time for a college program to find a key replacement to its coaching staff.

Symington's connection to the Aggie football program are from his days coaching at Eastern Michigan University of the Mid-American Conference from 2003-08. This was the same period of time Aggie head coach Doug Martin was head coach at Kent State University, and NMSU offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon led the Bowling Green program.

Symington also comes with a pretty good background: previously at Colorado State University-Pueblo, a Division II program in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Symington has also worked at Tennessee State (2000-03), Western Kentucky (1996-99) and Vanderbilt (1990-94).

The CSU-Pueblo website called Symington "potentially the most influential assistant coach in the history of the….football program." The biography continued to say Symington - who was also the ThunderWolves run-game coordinator - produced four All-Americans, six all-region selections and one Gene Upshaw Award finalist in his first four seasons coaching the CSU-Pueblo offensive line. It also said that "under Symington's direction, CSU-Pueblo's offensive line has established itself as one of the top units in the country."

The Thunderwolves had a strong rushing offense last year, averaging 42.7 points per game while rushing for 213 yards per contest and 26 touchdowns.

The Aggies could certainly use stability at the offensive line coaching position - Symington will be the program's fifth coach there over the past four years. That is a mind-boggling statistic, and a reminder of how difficult it is for the NSMU football program to hold its coaches. That turnover alone has been a played a big factor in the team's struggles over the years.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Three Aggies headed to NFL teams as undrafted free agents

Three New Mexico State Aggie football players signed with teams as undrafted free agents following the 2014 NFL Draft on Saturday evening.

Wide receiver Austin Franklin (St. Louis Rams), offensive lineman Davonte Wallace (Miami Dolphins) and linebacker Trashaun Nixon (New Orleans Saints) said they agreed to free agent contracts with their new teams.

We speculated last week all three had a chance of landing on an NFL roster by the conclusion of Draft weekend.

What does it take to make it as an undrafted free agent in the NFL? One would think players who aren't afraid to do the dirty work, provide toughness, and a possess a knack for overachieving have a chance.

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to see any of the three above players make their respective teams' practice squads. Franklin has the physical tools, although must continue to mature at his new home; Wallace was a steady, four-year player at NMSU at left offensive tackle, and I think he can develop as a guard on the next level; and Nixon is an underrated player who has the size and speed to get a shot.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, May 8, 2014

State Baseball and Softball Championships preview capsules

The 2014 State Baseball and Softball Championships open this weekend throughout New Mexico, with a number of local teams taking the field on Friday and Saturday.

In the local baseball circuit, all five District 3-5A teams - No. 6 Mayfield, No. 10 Gadsden, No. 12 Oñate, No. 13 Alamogordo and No. 15 Las Cruces - qualified for the State Tournament.

The No. 6-seeded Trojans have had a solid season and will host No. 11-seeded Rio Grande in opening-round play.

Oñate (No. 2 seed in Class 5A) and Centennial (No. 3 seed in Class 4A) are highly ranked on the softball diamond.

The baseball playoffs feature opening-round series (best-of-three games), while the state softball competition is a first-round single-elimination format.

Below, a look at local teams - and their matchups - entering the weekend:

Class 5A
Who: No. 10 Gadsden at No. 7 Cleveland
Where: Cleveland High School
When: Game 1 is Friday at 4 p.m.; possible Saturday doubleheader scheduled for 10 a.m.
Preview: Typically underestimated, the Panthers finished with a 6-6 record in District 3-5A, which was good enough for a second-place finish in the league standings. Gadsden, which holds a 13-12 overall mark, is going to come at the opposition head on and plays hard for every out of every inning. The team's offense is effective, as is ace pitcher Tony Acevedo. Still, going on the road to face Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho (which holds a 17-9 overall record and a 5-4 mark in District 1-5A) would be a highly difficult task for any of the state's southern-based teams this time of year.

Who: No. 12 Oñate at No. 5 Volcano Vista
Where: Volcano Vista High School
When: Game 1 is Friday at 4 p.m.; possible Saturday doubleheader scheduled for 10 a.m.
Preview: A tough opening series for the Knights, who've dropped four of their last five games and five of their last seven contests. Still, Oñate (13-13 overall, 5-7 in District 3-5A) salvaged a playoff spot and heads north to face a quality Volcano Vista team. Oñate has struggled hitting with runners on base this season, a trend that will need to change if the Knights want to take down the Hawks (17-7 overall, 6-3 in District 1-5A).

Who: No. 15 Las Cruces at No. 2 Eldorado
Where: Eldorado High School
When: Game 1 is Friday at 4 p.m.; possible Saturday doubleheader scheduled for 10 a.m.
Preview: After winning the Las Cruces Baseball Invitational early in the season, it was bumpy beginning for the Bulldawgs in District 3-5A play. The team got its league schedule started by being swept at Gadsden, which led to them dropping their first five games against district competition. Sure enough, however, LCHS has played better, and enter State Tournament play as winners of three of their last four contests to hold a 13-13 overall record and 4-8 mark in league. LCHS has some pitching depth, and could perhaps give Eldorado some trouble, even in the role of underdog. With that being said, the Eagles are a powerhouse program (19-5 overall, 5-4 in District 2-5A), and will be a formidable foe on their homefield in Albuquerque.

Class 4A
Who: No. 10 Centennial at No. 7 Los Alamos
Where: Bomber Field in Los Alamos
When: Game 1 is Friday at 5 p.m.; possible Saturday doubleheader scheduled for 10 a.m.
Preview: No District 3-4A state playoff representatives - that being No. 9 Deming, No. 10 Centennial or No. 15 Santa Teresa - received home games this week. For the Hawks, a second-year program that's continuing to build under head coach Rusty Evans, heading to Los Alamos will be yet another challenge. Centennial finished the regular season with a 17-9 overall record and a 9-3 mark in District 3-A play. Los Alamos, on the other hand, was 20-6 during the regular season, including a 12-0 District 2-4A record.

Who: No. 15 Santa Teresa at No. 2 Goddard
Where: Goddard High School
When: Game 1 is Friday at 5 p.m.; possible Saturday doubleheader scheduled for 10 a.m.
Preview: The Desert Warriors, who were a state semifinals team last year, finished 2014 regular-season play with a 13-13 overall record, while going 6-6 in District 3-4A play. They'll visit a Goddard team ranked No. 2 overall in Class 4A, after a 22-4 showing in 2014 along with an 8-0 District 4-4A record.

Class 5A
Who: No. 15 Clovis at No. 2 Oñate
Where: Field of Dreams
When: Friday, 6 p.m.
Preview: The Knights are legitimate and had no trouble rolling through their District 3-5A schedule. The team holds a 24-2 record on the season and 11-1 mark against its league counterparts. Now they'll face Clovis in the State Tournament's opening round, leading up to double-elimination play in Albuquerque next week. The Knights have some heavy artillery on offense and their pitching has gotten the job done to this point. Defensively, the team has been sound. No doubt Oñate is a top team in state - the No. 2 seed just behind No. 1 Rio Rancho - but are they a state championship club? That's what will be determined in the coming weeks.

Who: No. 9 Las Cruces at No. 8 Albuquerque High
Where: Albuquerque High
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Preview: Make no mistake, the Bulldawgs are a talented team capable of making some noise come state tournament time. LCHS returned pieces from last year's state championship team and knocked off Oñate last week in the final doubleheader of District 3-5A regular-season play (LCHS finished the regular season with a 17-9 overall record, along with a 7-5 record in District 3-5A). Repeating as state champions will be a tall order for the Bulldawgs. Then again, a first-round road win in the state playoffs isn't out of the question either.

Class 4A
Who: No. 14 Kirtland Central at No. 3 Centennial
Where: Field of Dreams
When: Saturday, 11 a.m.
Preview: Centennial, in just its second year of existence, is seeded No. 3 and gets a first-round state playoff game to show for it. The Hawks (21-5 overall record, 12-0 mark in District 3-4A) are young and have some talent, so expect them to hold serve on their home turf this weekend. The double-elimination rounds in Albuquerque will provide a different set of challenges, however. Waiting in the wings could be No. 6 Los Lunas - which beat Centennial earlier this season - as well as traditionally strong programs in No. 2-seed Aztec and No. 1-seed Piedra Vista.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Another darkhorse Aggie as a possible pro prospect: Cayle Chapman-Brown

Wrote a Sunday story on Aggie football prospects for the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. And make no mistake, Austin Franklin, Davonte Wallace and Trashaun Nixon are three that should at least get a look on the next level.

Another who I think could get into a training camp? That would be punter Cayle Chapman-Brown, who I believe is a darkhorse player as a possible pro prospect.

From my understanding, the punter position in the NFL is highly competitive, with many punters holding prolonged careers and, therefore, not a lot of turnover or opportunity presents itself at the position on a year-to-year basis.

With that being said, I think Chapman-Brown should at least be worthy of a look. For starters, he was a very productive punter during his two years at NMSU, sporting a strong leg and good hang time on his punts.

He's also a big player - listed at 6-foot-5, 231 pounds last year on the Aggie roster, he's got the height and wingspan to get to poor snaps that come his way. He's also a left-footed punter, which is seen as a plus as well.

Certainly, the potential is there for Chapman-Brown to get a look from a professional team. The question becomes, will the opportunity follow?

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, May 1, 2014

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (5/1)

Solo this week, I take a look at NMSU prospects in the upcoming NFL and NBA drafts. We also break down the NMSU baseball and softball seasons and discuss the high school baseball and softball scene:

PODCAST: Recapping Aggie spring football, and Sim Bhullar's decision to turn pro

We sit down with to rehash Aggie spring football as well as New Mexico State sophomore center Sim Bhullar's decision to pursue a professional career. Click here to listen in.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Trojans clinch District 3-5A baseball title

The Mayfield Trojans are 2014 District 3-5A baseball champions.

Yes, Mayfield has two games remaining on its regular-season schedule - both coming in a Thursday-night doubleheader at Alamogordo. But the Trojans (who hold an 8-2 district record) already have a three-game lead on 5-5 Alamogordo entering the twinbill.

The Tigers lost on Tuesday night to 3-7 Las Cruces High by a final score of 13-4, eliminating any chance the Tigers had at staying alive for the league's top spot.

Mayfield's gotten solid contributions this year throughout its roster, including from sophomore Gabe Castillo, who's been a fixture behind the plate and as the No. 4 hitter in the team's batting order.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, April 24, 2014

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (4/24)

Will Sim Bhullar play in the NBA? What stood out from the Aggie football spring game? And what price would you pay to watch the El Paso Chihuahuas? Teddy and Brook discuss:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Takeaways, observations from 2014 Aggie spring football game

(Quarterback Tyler Rogers, handing the ball to Xavier Hall, had a strong showing running the Aggie offense during Saturday's Aggie spring game/Photo by Carlos Javier Sanchez)

The New Mexico State Aggies put on a relatively encouraging performance on Saturday during their annual spring football game.

Yes, relative to Aggie football and relative to the fact it's the Aggie offense facing the Aggie defense. Always tough to truly evaluate during a spring contest. But there were also some true bright spots to take away from the evening.

The first was quarterback Tyler Rogers, who really had an exceptional performance. Rogers showed ability to throw the ball short, intermediate and deep. The Arizona Western College transfer was really on target - he showed a quick release and was accurate in the passing game. Player statistics weren't provided following the contest, although Rogers' would have been quite impressive in any capacity. It was a strong showing for the soon-to-be sophomore.

Overall, the Aggie passing attack looked good and I liked the gameplan from the offense - the team used plenty of four and five wide receiver sets and spread the ball to many targets: Jerrel Brown, Greg Hogan, Jordan Bergstrom, Josh Bowen, Adam Shapiro and Teldrick Morgan were all involved in the act. All made quality catches, while Morgan - a player the coaching staff believes has ability - showed good speed and nice moves.

This facet of the game was my No. 1 takeaway on the evening.


Of course, there were portions of the offense I don't believe were entirely revealed during the contest.

I would expect the Aggies to implement more quarterback-run game - some option and bootlegs - and throw the ball downfield a bit more as well.

There were also very few tight end sets in the formation. Andy Dean, who was listed atop the spring depth chart, is currently out with an ankle injury. Anthony Joyner is next in line at the position.

At running back, the team utilized Xavier Hall and Terrance Yelder. Both looked good when given the opportunity. Yelder was somewhat of a surprise, a transfer from Dickenson State University.

One player who didn't carry the ball on the evening - one that I was actually looking forward to seeing - was redshirt freshman Marquette Washington, who was out due to a concussion suffered leading up to Saturday's scrimmage.


Lets start out with the positive regarding the Aggie defense: there will be a plan and structure around the unit this year. Longtime coordinator Larry Coyer will have his group prepared each week, and that alone is a good step forward.

This should be no surprise, however. Coyer is a veteran coach - over 50 years on NFL and collegiate sidelines - who's been through the wars and certainly knows what's in front of him.

The defense also did some good things on Saturday. I thought members of the secondary made some plays. Cornerback Kedeem Thomas-Davis was active, with an interception and a big hit. Kawe Johnson, a playmaker last year, had an interception and a big hit of his own. Travaughn Colwell laid some shots from his free safety position, and Winston Rose played well. The team played a bit more zone in the defensive backfield than man-to-man coverage. I do think this position group's come a long way.

But it goes without being said there are inexperienced players in the secondary and the unit could very well get younger - there are freshmen coming in at the secondary spot, and perhaps one of the incoming freshmen quarterbacks will also get a look in the defensive backfield if things don't pan out at QB. There's also converted quarterbacks such as Colwell and King Davis III (cornerback) that were getting their first looks in the secondary this spring.

Point being, this is a group that could have its growing pains - particularly early in the season - in defending the pass. Again, on Saturday evening, NMSU's offense had a lot of success throwing the ball.

I think things are somewhat similar on the defensive front-seven, where the team lost some key players this offseason - Trashaun Nixon, Bryan Bonilla, Willie Mobley and Matt Ramondo (who is currently a backup at offensive guard). When facing run-heavy teams, the Aggies could face some challenges as well, simply because the front-four will be breaking in new parts as well.

Two players that stood out on the defensive front-seven on Saturday night: defensive end Clint Barnard and middle linebacker Rodney Butler.


Back to Rogers, who got rid of the ball very quickly on Saturday, which in turn allowed him to avoid getting pressured and sacked much, if at all. I think this a byproduct of the Aggie scheme - again, four and five receiver sets, a quick passing game in place. With that being said, Rogers really didn't face a pass rush either, so it'll be interesting seeing him under that sort of duress once the season begins.

Following the contest, offensive line coach Steve Marshall said the Aggies are working Houston Clemente and Peter Foreman at left tackle. The team figures to play Andy Cunningham and Thomas McGwire at the right tackle spot.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What to watch for thought entering tonight's Aggie spring game

New Mexico State football takes the field tonight at 6 p.m. for its annual spring game. Looking for what to keep an eye on when the Aggies face the Aggies? Below is some food for thought:

• Quarterback play: This really goes for one individual, that being junior college transfer Tyler Rogers, who came to NMSU this offseason from Arizona Western College and has gotten the majority of snaps this spring. Rogers seems to have a leg up on the quarterback competition entering fall camp, with the five incoming freshmen who could be in the mix yet to arrive on campus. Rogers has thrown the ball pretty well during spring drills and has also shown some ability to operate in the run game. During last Saturday’s scrimmage he threw some interceptions as well, but Rogers has looked OK overall. One thing is likely: not unlike many quarterbacks, he needs a quality supporting cast, from offensive line protection, to the running game taking off some of the burden, to wide receivers making plays.

• Marquette Washington: This is a wildcard right here, although I believe Washington could supply the Aggies with a necessity entering the season - that is, a big back that can pound the ball between the tackles. A redshirt freshman, Washington showed some potential in last Saturday’s scrimmage and has some size (5-10, 215). Xavier Hall, who's atop the depth chart, performed well last year as a hard runner as well. The team will also bring in two freshmen - Larry Rose and Royce Caldwell - and members of the coaching staff have spoken highly of both players' speed. If Hall can pick up where he left off, along with Washington providing some power and perhaps some big-play pop form a freshman, the Aggies might have something to work with here. Another likely scenario: the ground game will be critical this year for the Aggies, for one to balance the offense and for another to help protect a developing defense.

• Left tackle: The team began spring practices with Matt Ramondo here, although he’s been playing more guard as practices have gone on. Head coach Doug Martin referenced Houston Clemente (a former offensive lineman who moved to nose tackle this spring, and has since returned to offensive line) and Peter Foreman as having a chance at the left tackle spot. He also said Andy Cunningham (a junior who’s played guard and tackle over the years) and Thomas McGwire could be options if need be (both are currently slotted at right tackle). Either way, the Aggies are apparently looking for an answer at left tackle, a critical spot along an otherwise fairly solid unit during spring practices.

• Defense: This is an overall group in transition, and it will be interesting to see things unfold moving forward. From the front-seven to the secondary, new faces are just about everywhere, including at coordinator where Larry Coyer took over this offseason. Expect the team to run a 4-3 defense up front. Coyer’s track record speaks for itself - over 50 years coaching both in the college and professional ranks, he's been through the wars. With that being said, the venerable coach is will build this group from the ground up.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Aggie football notes: Thoughts and observations from recent scrimmage

The Aggie football team had a solid two hour practice last Saturday that featured a lot of scrimmage work. Here’s some observations from Saturday’s session:

• Thought all units of the offense looked adequate to solid.

The team’s offensive line, as we’ve written before, looked good enough for the Aggies.

At running back, Xavier Hall continued to run well, as did redshirt freshman Marquette Washington.

The team’s wide receiver has looked solid this spring. Aggie coaches have spoken highly of players such as Adam Shapiro and Josh Bowen this spring, while Teldrick Morgan made some plays on the outside.

And quarterback Tyler Rogers made some good throws. The Aggie coaching staff is high on Rogers and he showed good arm strength. During this past week of practice, offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon said he was happy with Rogers’ progress in the Aggie run game.

“I think he’s made decent progress,” Brandon said. “He has a good grasp of most of the offense. I think he does a nice job in the run game, play-actions. He’s just got to keep improving and getting better.”

The transfer from Arizona Western College also tossed some interceptions, mainly when he was on the run or under pressure.

Brandon said following Wedesday’s practice that Rogers simply needs to get better taking care of the football, a natural progression for a player making the transition to Division I football. Rogers will be entering his sophomore year of eligibility in 2014.

“He can’t throw that ball back, inside across his body, to nobody,” Brandon said. “What he got away with in high school, what he got away with in junior college, you can’t get away with in Division I. The players are that much faster, that much more athletic, that much better coached. He’s got to understand that. He’s got a little cowboy in him that way.”

One would think Rogers will be the frontrunner for the starting job heading into the season, considering his experience and the fact he’s received the majority of snaps during spring drills. Of course, the team is bringing in five freshmen to compete for the job as well, so we'll see how things shake out.

• We knew entering spring ball that the Aggie defense would be a major work in progress and it certainly looked that way during Saturday’s scrimmage work.

The Aggies will need to find a pass rush from a defensive front-seven that lost some major pieces this past offseason. Clint Barnard is a returning player, moved from middle linebacker to left defensive end, and he can be solid for the team. On the defensive line, one would think the Aggies will also rely on redshirt junior Stephen Meredith, who suffered a torn ACL at the end of last season and remains out of spring practices. Kalei Aulua is another returning player from last season on the defensive line.

NMSU is hopeful Rodney Butler will continue his progression at middle linebacker after having a nice freshman year in 2013 (39 tackles, two tackles for a loss and a pass breakout). Ditto for Dior Moore, a junior college transfer from Butte College who got some experience from last season.

Saturday’s scrimmage saw the Aggie secondary have two converted quarterbacks getting plenty of work - Travaughn Colwell at free safety, King Davis III at cornerback. For his part, Colwell looks like he could have potential at the position - standing at 6-foot-3, he has the athleticism and range to possibly play a role entering his senior season.

A couple other returning players from last season in the secondary will be Kawe Johnson (he actually showed some playmaking ability last season at safety, with two interceptions and four passes defensed), Thomas Warren and cornerbacks Kadeem Thomas-Davis and Lewis Hill (who’s been out this spring with a shoulder injury).

The team also is bringing in a handful of freshmen for fall camp that will compete for playing time.

“No question,” defensive backs coach Will Martin said. “And that’s what we’re doing here, we’re allowing these guys to compete to see what they can do, so when the freshmen come in we know exactly where they’re at. And then we’ll give those freshmen a chance.”

When asked if the Aggie defense is still working primarily on fundamental football this spring, coordinator Larry Coyer said, “Absolutely. We are for the next two years. We’re not fundamentally very good right now.”


The Aggies will hold their annual spring football game on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Aggie Memorial Stadium. Admission to the game is free.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Catching up with former Aggie, current Green Bay Packer Davon House

Former New Mexico State Aggie cornerback Davon House will be entering his third season in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers.

House has been a contributor the past two years in Green Bay, both as a starter and as a reserve. Standing at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, House has the tools to continue getting better on the pro level, as he enters the third year of his four-year rookie contract signed following the 2011 NFL Draft.

The past two years has seen House make 70 tackles, record an interception, a sack and break up 15 passes.

House put on a kids clinic in Las Cruces this past Saturday, and took a few minutes to catch up during Aggie spring practice.

How has the journey been thus far?
"It's been good. A learning process. I feel like I'm getting better and better every year. I still feel like I haven't reached my full potential."

Obviously every year there's new goals. What are your goals for this season?
"My goal this year is to solidify myself to start and keep my job. And prove that I'm not just a fourth-round pick from New Mexico State. Show everyone that I'm an elite player."

Talk about your playoff game against San Francisco, going up against players like Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. How did you feel you did?
"I think I did really good. I think I maybe left one or two plays out there. Numbers wise, it was really good. They targeted me nine times, they completed three balls for, like, 30-something yards. I had, like, three pass breakups I believe. So, it was good. I feel like that's just a stepping stone. I feel like I could have done better than what I did, but I feel like I still had a good game."

Give fans an idea of what it takes on the professional level, staying on top of your game season after season?
"Every year, they're bringing in guys to replace you. It is a job….That's how you provide for your kids, and yourself. Every year I've got to find a way to get better."

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, April 11, 2014

King Davis III moves to defensive back for Aggie football

King Davis III’s stay at running back didn’t last long.

The former quarterback, who was moved to running back this spring, has been moved to defensive back according to Aggie coaches.

Defensive coordinator Larry Coyer and secondary coach Will Martin said they’re excited about the move for Davis. They cited his athleticism - which is impressive - while Coyer mentioned the fact that as a player with quarterback experience, Davis understands the game.

Coyer spoke of another former Aggie quarterback, Travaughn Colwell, who similar to Davis is playing defensive back this spring. While Colwell will be a senior player in 2014, Davis is entering his sophomore year of eligibility.

“They know situations, they know how to study tendencies," Coyer said. "They know all that. They’re both good guys.”

Similar personnel moves could follow for the Aggies going into the 2014 season. The team is in fact bringing in five freshmen quarterbacks for fall football, yet one would think not all will remain at the position entering the season.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Aggie football: Spring practice notes

Yes, I realize we’ve been harping on the offensive line here in recent days, although it's for good reason.

This is a unit of utmost importance, perhaps most important when constructing a football team. And while the Aggies do have questions at a handful of positions on this year's spring depth chart, the offensive front is one that continues to look good during workouts.

It was evident during last Saturday’s spring session, when the Aggies broke into the Oklahoma Drill and players along the offensive line stood out. Senior center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke looked good in run-blocking, and the coaching staff is high on a handful of young players on the unit. Head coach Doug Martin and offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon have both mentioned Thomas McGwire as a player they believe has a bright future. Brandon also said Peter Foreman has played well during spring practices.

And, as mentioned last week, the team returns Ume-Ezeoke, flanked by last year’s starting guards Abram Holland and Isaiah Folasa-Lutui. Andy Cunningham will be back in the fall and is a player the Aggies have started at guard and tackle over recent seasons.

The one area the program must get solidified is left tackle. While Matt Ramondo started spring practices atop the depth chart at that spot, he’s also been playing at guard during spring drills.

“If we’re going to turn this thing around, it starts up front,” Brandon said following last Friday’s practice session.

Certainly that’s a good place to start building a foundation.


The other good spot to start building a football foundation? That would be quarterback, of course.

The Aggies have in fact moved King Davis III from QB to running back on their spring roster, and he has been playing there during recent spring workouts. That leaves junior college transfer Tyler Rogers taking plenty of snaps this spring.

Rogers, who’s listed at 6-foot-3 on the Aggie roster, has looked fine making many throws during practices - showing a quick release and nice touch.

Of course, there’s certain intangibles that are difficult to quantify at the present time. One of which is, how will a quarterback hold up against a pass rush - a quality that separates many QBs from the rest of the pack. Also, the Aggies are practicing a large amount of zone-read in their running game, indicating the quarterback will have to do some things with his legs to help the team’s effort in the rushing attack.

Rogers started one season at Arizona Western before transferring to NMSU. He will be entering his sophomore season of eligibility, while the team is also bringing in five freshmen this fall to compete for the quarterback job.


Speaking of former Aggie quarterbacks, as written previously, Davis has been taking snaps at running back during recent spring workouts.

He certainly is a terrific athlete, and could be used in the role of H-back or slotback - perhaps not necessarily a 30-carry per game runner, but one the team looks to get in space and to the second level of a defense.


And, again, speaking of former quarterbacks, Travaughn Colwell is lining up at safety for NMSU during spring workouts.

It’s astounding that Colwell is already a senior, as he’s truly played all over the field during recent years. From quarterback his first two seasons with the team, to running back/wide receiver last year, and now to defensive back this spring.

Colwell is also a tremendous athlete and has some physicality to his game. He’s listed at 6-foot-3 - he can run and has range - meaning he has the attributes to play in the defensive backfield. With that being said, he’s also never played the position before, at least not on the college level.

During a recent practice, Colwell put a big hit on a ball carrier, as teammates and coaches gathered around him in celebration. Certainly one would figure Colwell would be eager to get on the field this season, after experiencing such a sporadic and ever-changing role during recent years.


Wide receivers coach R. Todd Littlejohn said the team is hopeful that Greg Hogan can supply some big-play pop at the wide receiver position. He also said Teldrick Morgan, who will be a redshirt sophomore in 2014, also has the potential to fill such a role.

“I think if those two come around, now you’ve solidified the group in general,” Littlejohn said last weekend.

He would continue on Hogan, “He’s got kind of a combination of different things. He can make people miss in the open field. He has the ability to take a simple play on the long run. He can also stretch the field. He kind of gives you a little bit of everything that way.”

Here’s a story that appeared in Sunday’s Las Cruces Sun-News on Aggie wide receiver Adam Shapiro, and the entire unit in general.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Monday, April 7, 2014

PODCAST: Breaking down Aggie hoops, NMSU spring football

We sit down with to talk all things Aggie sports at the outset of April. Click here to listen.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (4/4)

LCSN duo start off with NMSU spring football, followed by baseball and softball at the college and prep level, and finish with some talk on the Final Four:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

On veteran line, Ramondo lining up at left tackle during spring drills

The New Mexico State Aggie football team does bring back a handful of returning players at one of the game’s most crucial position groupings: the offensive line.

Of course there’s the mainstays: center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke will be entering his fourth year as a starter with the program, while soon-to-be junior Andy Cunningham (currently out of action due to a knee injury, although expected back in the fall) is a player the program’s started at guard and tackle during recent years.

Left guard Isaiah Folasa-Lutui is a returning starter from a season ago, as is right guard Abram Holland.

This past offseason, head coach Doug Martin spoke highly of redshirt freshman Thomas McGwire.

With all that being said, the Aggies do have to replace their best offensive lineman over recent years: left tackle Davonte Wallace was a four-year starter at arguably the line’s most crucial position, a spot reserved for top-tier athletes. Good footspeed is required at the weakside spot, with such a player often protecting the quarterback’s blindside, while going one-on-one with the opposition’s top pass rusher. In truth, Wallace seldom if ever had breakdowns at the position for the Aggies, and will likely get a look on an NFL roster either as a late-round draft pick or as an undrafted free agent.

With that being said, the Aggies moved Matt Ramondo from nose tackle to offensive line this offseason, and the soon-to-be junior is getting snaps at left tackle during 2014 spring drills.

Ramondo is a Mayfield High School graduate who played both ways during his prep days as a Trojan. He signed with Michigan State out of high school, only to transfer to NMSU two years ago. Last year he had a fairly ordinary season on the defensive line, although has the potential be a quality nose tackle on that side of the ball. With that being said, his skills should translate well to the offensive line as well - a handful of schools recruited him as an offensive lineman out of high school, and Ramondo said during a recent interview he believes he's better suited for the position. Still, left tackle should be a good test for the 6-foot-5, 310 pounder.

We caught up with Ramondo following practice on Monday morning to talk about his transition to offensive line:

Q: How are your feeling about the change?
A: “It’s something new. I don’t have any negative things about it. Whatever I can do to help the team. I don’t have any quarrels about it. It’s fun, it’s different. I’m trying to learn as much as I can. And it’s kind of fun learning it again. I haven’t played it since high school.”

Q: You were recruited as an offensive and defensive lineman, although chose Michigan State and then NMSU because of the opportunity to play defense?
A: “I wanted to stay as a defensive player. It was kind of me being hardheaded. Just wanted to continue being the defensive player that I thought I was. I know I’m kind of better at offense. It just kind of comes easy to me....(Defensive tackle) was the position that I knew and I loved. I was so set on playing defense. And coach just asked me (to play offensive line) and I was just like, ‘Yeah. Whatever the team needs.’ He made it seem like this is what I wanted. He asked me, and (there) was no hesitation like, ‘yeah, of course.’ I never thought I’d say I want to play offense. But I want to play offense for coach Martin.”

Q: Talk about playing left tackle against some of the game’s elite pass rushers?
A: “Coach (Steve) Marshall has us moving around to a bunch of different positions. Kind of just see where we’re at. I think every position is kind of like that. Every position has its strengths. Left tackle kind of gets the spotlight of the offensive line. Just because it’s the blindside of the quarterback. But every position definitely has what’s hard about it and what’s not. Every player on the offensive line has experience, they’re doing great. They’re pulling me along and I really appreciate it.”

Ramondo's move does leave inexperience at defensive nose tackle, where converted offensive linemen Alexander Trujillo and Houston Clemente are listed on the depth chart. When asked if he'd ever be willing to play both offensive and defensive line in 2014, Ramondo smiled, nodded his head and reiterated he'd do whatever it takes to help the team.


While the Aggies spring depth chart features very few returning starters from last season, two are currently not listed due to injury: linebacker Stephen Meredith (ACL) and cornerback Lewis Hill (shoulder) are both expected back for the fall season, according to NMSU coaches.


The team currently has redshirt freshman Gregory Hogan listed at kickoff and punt returns.

Head coach Doug Martin spoke highly of Hogan this offseason, and perhaps having him at such positions on the depth chart - including listed as a backup to senior wide receiver Adam Shapiro - indicates the team’s hopeful Hogan can replace some of the big-play elements Austin Franklin brought to the table.

The Aggie wide receiving corps - with Shapiro, Jerrel Brown, Joshua Bowen, Joseph Matthews and Jordan Bergtrom all listed on the depth chart - certainly brings back a lot of experience for the 2014 season.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Aggies 2014 schedule: a more manageable lineup

The New Mexico State Aggie football team will enter the 2014 season with something they didn’t have at their fingertips last year: on paper, a manageable schedule.

Last year’s independent docket featured the likes of power programs Texas, UCLA, Minnesota and Boston College; quality mid-majors Rice, San Diego State and Louisiana-Lafayette; and teams such as Florida Atlantic and Idaho (who the Aggies beat in 2013) that weren’t pushovers for NMSU.

Such a slate’s been replaced by a 2014 schedule comprised of newly-established Sun Belt schools (Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Texas State and Idaho); some Sun Belt mainstays (Troy, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State); an FCS school (Cal Poly); typical rivals UTEP and New Mexico; and one money big-money game at LSU.

At a glance, this is a much more realistic lineup most weeks.

Not that there aren’t challenges. This is not the same Sun Belt Conference Aggie fans will remember prior to NMSU’s eight-year stay in the Western Athletic Conference. Lafayette beat the Aggies last year, then beat Tulane in a bowl game. Arkansas State has been a good team in recent years, and was a postseason winner in 2014 as well.

Seven of the Sun Belt’s eight teams last season were bowl eligible - the lone team that wasn’t was an 0-12 Georgia State team, which the Aggies will face in Week 2 of the season in Atlanta, Ga. UTEP will be played in the Sun Bowl, while UNM will come to Las Cruces. While the Aggies beat Idaho last year, this year’s affair will take place in the Pacific Northwest, where NMSU rarely has an easy go of it.

And Cal Poly? This is not a poor Football Championship Subdivision program, rather one that’s 28-18 over the past four years and operates an effective rushing offense (ranking No. 1 in the FCS last year with 308.8 rushing yards per game). The Aggies will host the Mustangs in Week 1 of the season.

2014 Aggie football schedule
Aug. 28 Cal Poly
Sept. 6 at Georgia State*
Sept. 13 at UTEP
Sept. 20 New Mexico
Sept. 27 at LSU
Oct. 4 Georgia Southern*
Oct. 11 at Troy*
Oct. 18 at Idaho*
Oct. 25 Bye
Nov. 1 Texas State*
Nov. 8 Lafayette*
Nov. 15 Bye
Nov. 22 UL-Monroe*
Nov. 29 at Arkansas State*
* Sun Belt Conference game

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Aggie football question: can quality coordinators develop young personnel?

(Larry Coyer was brought in to help build the Aggie defense/Photo by Carlos Javier Sanchez)

While the New Mexico State football team took the spring practice field last week - and then took this week off for spring break - we look at the program's offensive and defensive coordinators, and what type of impact they can have on this particular team, and program.

Lets start out by saying, it's our belief the Aggies have two quality coaches in these spots: Gregg Brandon, who coordinates the offense, is experienced, and showed his capabilities last season, as the team's offense grew and improved over the course of the year. As for first-year defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, his track record and resume - nearly five decades coaching in the college and NFL ranks - speak for themselves.

With that, it appears the Aggies are on a certain track of their own. Brandon (who makes $180,000 per season) and Coyer (who earns $150,000 annually) were big investments for a program that has rarely if ever paid its coordinators that type of money. Not saying that these aren't good investments - having quality people at these two key coaching positions are essential in building a team. And it also shows the emphasis and direction the program is at least trying to move in.

Simply take a look at this past year's reruiting class, where the team signed 23 of a possible 25 players that will be true freshmen in 2014. While that is currently a youthful group, it's also a key one moving forward - these players could very well be the team's foundation in two, three and four years down the road.

And we've also said this before: 2014 could very well be an experimental season for Aggie football. Again, it will be a young team, with questions currently at various positions on the spring depth chart - quarterback, running back, a big-play wide receiver and across the defense.

But with quality coaching, the hope is that quality player development will follow. Perhaps the team will show improvement, and take steps forward. In actuality, seeing such rays of hope might be all fans and followers need at this point anyway.

We won't necessarily call it a surefire plan. But it appears to be a key ingredient nonetheless. And something to keep an eye on leading up to and throughout the 2014 season.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Betancourt out of spring drills; other Aggie football news/notes

(After running tough in 2013, Xavier Hall will return to the Aggie backfield for his sophomore season/Photo by Carlos Javier Sanchez)

New Mexico State head football coach Doug Martin said last week that running back Brandon Betancourt will not take the field with the Aggies during spring practices.

Betancourt suffered a foot injury that knocked him out for the season last year, during a Oct. 26 game against Abilene Christian.

Running back appears to be somewhat of a question for the Aggies at the outset of spring practices. Xavier Hall and Betancourt - two Las Cruces high school football standouts in their prep playing days - had surprise breakout seasons a year ago. Last year, the Aggies also had tough senior running back Germi Morrison, who's obviously no longer with the program.

This spring's roster has Hall and Marquette Washington - who was a redshirt player as a true freshman last year - listed atop the depth chart.

The Aggies also signed two running backs this past February - Larry Rose (Fairfield, Texas) and Royce Caldwell (Columbus, Texas) - who they're hopeful can help.

At the end of the day, this is a young backfield with some unproven parts. The team could also could use a pounder between the tackles. Hall, who really was great at the end of last year, is a tough runner although isn't the biggest of backs (listed at 5-foot-8, 182 pounds). Both freshman aren't big on paper either (Rose was listed at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds on signing day; Caldwell was listed at 5-foot-7, 170 pounds).

Can Washington be that guy? He's listed at 5-foot-10, 215 pounds, so perhaps he can play the role of big back in the offense.


The Aggies also lost the services of Austin Franklin this past offseason, as the standout wide receiver entered the NFL Draft following his junior season. Replacing Franklin - with essentially the same personnel as a season ago - is going to be another challenge for the Aggies.

The team's wide receiver unit was a solid one a season ago, although the addition of Franklin - who missed the first four games due to academics - lifted the entire unit's performance. He brought a playmaker's presence to the offense, while he was surrounded by nice complementary pieces.

Following Wednesday's morning practice, Aggie offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon said players are going to have to step up to replace Franklin's production. It might be a collective group effort.

During the offseason, Martin spoke highly of Greg Hogan, who will be a redshirt freshman this season.

Still, Franklin's shoes will be big ones to fill.


Brandon also said last week that King Davis III and Tyler Rogers continue competing for the starting quarterback job this spring.

Martin indicated this offseason the Aggies were looking to move Davis to a wide receiver/running back position in 2014, although the sophomore's still taking snaps at QB at the moment. The head coach also called Rogers' experience and the fact the junior college transfer is here this spring and getting in work with the offense as "huge."

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if a freshman ends up starting at some point this fall under center - the team signed five during last February's signing day, and perhaps a couple have what it takes to get the nod.


This could very well be an experimental year for the Aggies, when considering the team's youth and some of the holes on their spring roster.

Take the defense, for instance.

The Aggies secondary is starting all over again. After a run of quality talent in the defensive backfield, the Aggies have youth and inexperience across the board this spring. Travaughn Colwell, the former quarterback (and wide receiver/running back) is now playing cornerback. He's joined by Winston Rose (who missed most of last season due to injury), Jerrion Burton and Kedeem Thomas-Davis on the depth chart.

At safety, the Aggies have Jermichael Selders, Jaden Wright, James Ooten and Kawe Johnson listed on the two-deep.

Perhaps similar to running back, defensive backs coach Will Martin said some freshmen coming in this fall will get a long look in the secondary.

As for the defensive front-seven, there are some returning pieces. Clint Barnard, who produced pretty well at middle linebacker last season, is listed at left defensive end on the spring depth chart.

Samual Oyenuga, a former cornerback, is listed at outside linebacker. Alexander Trujillo and Houston Clemente, previously offensive linemen, are now lining up on the defensive line.

Other players back who took snaps on the defensive side of the ball last year are Jay Eakins (defensive line), Mason Russell (defensive line), Kalei Auelua (linebacker), Rodney Butler (linebacker) and Dior Moore (linebacker).

The Aggies obviously hired Larry Coyer this offseason to coordinate the defense and he certainly has an impressive track record and history as a football coach. It looks like he'll be molding a young unit in 2014.


Martin said Brock Baca will be the Aggies punter this spring.

Baca, a Mayfield High School graduate, handled kickoff duties for the Aggies last season.

He'll take over for a great punter for the team over the past two seasons, Cayle Chapman-Brown.


Offensive lineman Andy Cunningham is out of action at the moment due to a knee injury. Brandon indicated the ailment isn't serious and the team expects a healthy Cunningham to return to the lineup.

The reality is, for a player of Cunningham's caliber - experienced, and one the coaching staff has played at different spots along the line over the years (guard and tackle, specifically) - spring football probably isn't a necessity. Might as well get some young players work during such workouts.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Friday, March 21, 2014

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (2/21)

We recap the Aggies 73-69 NCAA Tournament overtime to loss to San Diego State. In case you missed our preview of the game, click here. Recap video below in this post:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

VIDEOS: Aggies talk NCAA Tournament, first-round foe San Diego State

Head coach Marvin Menzies, guard Daniel Mullings and big man Tshilidzi Nephawe talk NCAA Tournament opponent San Diego State prior to departing for Spokane, Wash. on Tuesday morning:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Aggie basketball back in NCAAs: ticket info, recent story links

The New Mexico State men's basketball program returns to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five years, following the Aggies 77-55 win over Idaho on Saturday in the WAC Tournament championship.

The Aggies will get San Diego State in the tournament's opening round, a Thursday game tentatively scheduled for 7:57 p.m. on Thursday night in Spokane, Wash.

Below is ticket information pertaining to the NCAA game from NMSU athletics, for those interested in attending:

New Mexico State NCAA Tournament tickets are available Monday at 8 a.m. at the Pan American Center Ticket office. The ticket office will be open exclusively to season tickets holders and Aggie Athletic Club members from 8 a.m. to noon on Monday. After noon, all tickets will be available for reservation. For tickets, visit the Pan American Center ticket office or call 575-646-1420.

Here is some recent coverage of the Aggies WAC Tournament championship and upcoming game against the Aztecs:

Members of Aggie coaching staff have ties to San Diego State basketball

Aggies draw Aztecs in opening round of NCAA Tournament (with videos)

Aggies win WAC Tournament championship for third-straight season (with videos)

Of course, follow NMSU basketball beat writer Jason Groves' blog here for the latest news and analysis on the team.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

VIDEOS: Aggie basketball prepares for 2014 WAC Tournament

Head coach Marvin Menzies, center Sim Bhullar and guard Daniel Mullings talk postseason basketball on Tuesday, prior to leaving for Las Vegas, Nev.:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Former Aggie, Canadian Football League quarterback kicks off coaching career

(Former Aggie and CFL standout Buck Pierce/Photo by the Canadian Press)

Former New Mexico State Aggie and Canadian Football League star Buck Pierce will now shift his sights to the next step in his football career: coaching professionally.

Pierce, who announced his retirement from the CFL earlier this week, was named running backs coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday.

Pierce played nine seasons with Winnipeg and the B.C. Lions, finishing with 15,289 passing yards, 76 touchdowns and 1,200 completions in 130 games played. He won a Grey Cup championship with B.C. in 2006 and led Winnipeg to the 2011 CFL championship game.

Pierce spent five seasons in B.C., signed with Winnipeg as a free agent in 2010, before being traded back to the Lions in September, 2013. In a press release sent out by Winnipeg on Friday, the team called Pierce a "fan favorite" and "one of the most popular players to don a Bomber uniform over the past decade."

Prior to his CFL tenure Pierce was a popular player for New Mexico State, taking the field for the team from 2001-04. Pierce threw 30 touchdowns during that time (compared to 12 interceptions) while completing 66 percent of his passes (397 of 599) for 4,927 yards. He also ran for 734 yards and three touchdowns during his NMSU career.

Under head coach Tony Samuel, the Aggies held a 20-27 record during that four-year period, and put up a 7-5 mark in 2002.

In a message via his personal Twitter account, Pierce said he's owned a house in Las Cruces since 2007, and returns to the area during the CFL's offseason.

"Deciding not to play anymore was a difficult decision, but having the opportunity to re-join the Bombers in a coaching role was really a perfect fit," Pierce said in the team's press release. "I am thrilled they wanted me to be a part of what I believe will be a great thing here in Winnipeg. I said when I was traded that I hoped one day I would be back in some capacity, and today is a really special day for my family and me."

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg

Thursday, March 6, 2014

VIDEO: Teddy and Brook Show (3/6)

We give our take on the New Mexico State-Utah Valley altercation and discuss the upcoming high school basketball tournaments:

Monday, March 3, 2014

State Basketball Championships: First-round matchups

A list of first-round games in the 2014 New Mexico State Basketball Championships:

All games on Saturday
Class 5A
First round
At home sites

No. 16 Cibola at No. 1 Valley, 7 p.m.
No. 15 Rio Rancho at No. 2 Sandia, 5 p.m.
No. 14 Alamogordo at No. 3 Atrisco Heritage, 7 p.m.
No. 13 West Mesa at No. 4 Volcano Vista, 7 p.m.
No. 12 Gadsden at No. 5 Hobbs, 6 p.m.
No. 11 Carlsbad at No. 6 Cleveland, 5 p.m.
No. 10 Las Cruces at No. 7 Eldorado, 5 p.m.
No. 9 Highland at No. 8 Mayfield, 7 p.m.
Class 4A
First round
At home sites

No. 16 Valencia at No. 1 Roswell, 5 p.m.
No. 15 Capital at No. 2 Los Lunas, 7 p.m.
No. 14 Belen at No. 3 St. Pius, 5 p.m.
No. 13 Piedra Vista at No. 4 Centennial, 3 p.m.
No. 12 Artesia at No. 5 Kirtland Central, 5 p.m.
No. 11 Grants at No. 6 Goddard, 3 p.m.
No. 10 Farmington at No. 7 Albuquerque Academy, 6 p.m.
No. 9 Española Valley at No. 8 Gallup, 7 p.m.
Class 3A
First round
At home sites

No. 16 Raton at No. 1 Raton, 5 p.m.
No. 15 Robertson at No. 2 St. Michael's, 6 p.m.
No. 14 Santa Fe Indian at No. 3 Silver, 1 p.m.
No. 13 Thoreau at No. 4 West Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
No. 12 Ruidoso at No. 5 Taos, 6 p.m.
No. 11 Pojoaque Valley at No. 6 Lovington, 6 p.m.
No. 10 Shiprock at No. 7 Sandia Prep, 5 p.m.
No. 9 Portales at No. 8 Wingate, 2 p.m.
Class 2A
First round
At home sites

No. 16 Eunice at No. 1 Laguna Acoma, 2 p.m.
No. 15 Bosque at No. 2 Dexter, 4 p.m.
No. 14 Dulce at No. 3 Clayton, 6 p.m.
No. 13 Peñasco at No. 4 Texico, 6 p.m.
No. 12 Crownpoint at No. 5 Santa Fe Prep, 6 p.m.
No. 11 Mora at No. 6 Mesilla Valley Christian, 2 p.m.
No. 10 Santa Rosa at No. 7 Lordsburg, 4 p.m.
No. 9 Tularosa at No. 8 Tohatchi
Class 1A
First round
At home sites

No. 16 Tse Yi Gai at No. 1 Cliff, 6 p.m.
No. 15 Shiprock at No. 2 Magdalena, 4 p.m.
No. 14 Jemez Valley at No. 3 Hagerman, 3 p.m.
No. 13 Capitan at No. 4 Dora, 6 p.m.
No. 12 Floyd at No. 5 Escalante, 5 p.m.
No. 11 To'jajiilee at No. 6 Logan, 6 p.m.
No. 10 Fort Sumner at No. 7 Springer, 6 p.m.
No. 9 McCurdy at No. 8 Melrose, 6 p.m.

All games on Friday
Class 5A
First round
At home sites

No. 16 Oñate at No. 1 Clovis, 7 p.m.
No. 15 Rio Grande at No. 2 Cibola, 7 p.m.
No. 14 Sandia at No. 3 Mayfield, 6 p.m.
No. 13 Rio Rancho at No. 4 Hobbs, 7 p.m.
No. 12 Gadsden at No. 5 Volcano Vista, 5:30 p.m.
No. 11 Las Cruces at No. 6 Eldorado, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Albuquerque High at No. 7 La Cueva, 6 p.m.
No. 9 Carlsbad at No. 8 Valley
Class 4A
First round
At home sites

No. 16 Kirtland Central at No. 1 Los Lunas, 6 p.m.
No. 15 Grants at No. 2 Santa Fe, 6 p.m.
No. 14 Los Alamos at No. 3 St. Pius, 6 p.m.
No. 13 Artesia at No. 4 Gallup, 6 p.m.
No. 12 Belen at No. 5 Española Valley, 7 p.m.
No. 11 Del Norte at No. 6 Valencia, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Centennial at No. 7 Roswell, 7 p.m.
No. 9 Miyamura at No. 8 Piedra Vista, 7 p.m.
Class 3A
First round
At home sites

No. 16 Taos at No. 1 Shiprock, 7 p.m.
No. 15 Socorro at No. 2 Lovington, 6 p.m.
No. 14 Santa Fe Indian at No. 3 Portales, 6 p.m.
No. 13 Wingate at No. 4 Hope Christian, 6 p.m.
No. 12 Thoreau at No. 5 West Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
No. 11 Raton at No. 6 Sandia Prep, 6 p.m.
No. 10 Pojoaque Valley at No. 7 St. Michael's, 7 p.m.
No. 9 Silver at No. 8 Robertson, 6 p.m.
Class 2A
First round
At home sites

No. 16 Santa Fe Prep at No. 1 Texico, 6 p.m.
No. 15 Loving at No. 2 Tularosa, 6 p.m.
No. 14 Tohatchi at No. 3 Mora, 6 p.m.
No. 13 Mesa Vista at No. 4 Navajo Prep, 6 p.m.
No. 12 Santa Rosa at No. 5 Laguna Acoma, 6 p.m.
No. 11 Zuni at No. 6 Hatch Valley, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Ramah at No. 7 Cuba, 6 p.m.
No. 9 Clayton at No. 8 Eunice, 5 p.m.
Class 1A
First round
At home sites

No. 16 Tse Yi Gai at No. 1 Tatum, 6 p.m.
No. 15 Capitan at No. 2 Cliff, 6 p.m.
No. 14 Cimarron at No. 3 Melros, 5 p.m.
No. 13 Fort Sumner at No. 4 Magdalena, 6 p.m.
No. 12 Mountainair at No. 5 Logan, 7 p.m.
No. 11 Hagerman at No. 6 Floyd, 6 p.m.
No. 10 McCurdy at No. 7 Springer, 6 p.m.
No. 9 Dora at No. 8 Jemez Valley, 5 p.m.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

New Mexico State releases 2014 college football schedule

New Mexico State's 2014 football schedule was officially released Saturday.

Certainly we'll have more analysis in the coming days, but the immediate reaction? That the first four games are of critical importance.

Cal Poly will not be a Football Championship Subdivision pushover, while Georgia State didn't win a single game last year.

UTEP and New Mexico are always games of monumental importance, for obvious reasons.

Yes, the Aggies will need to grab some wins early on.

The Aggies will need to get quality play on the offensive side of the ball right from the get-go, simply because they'll be breaking in a very young defense led by veteran coordinator Larry Coyer (who will be in his first season at NMSU). It's a youth movement across the board on the team, however, including at quarterback, where five freshman will be on the roster along with a junior college transfer Tyler Rogers (who has three years of eligibility remaining). This particular position - quarterback - will be one the team will need to solidify and get strong play from right off the bat in season.

Below, a look at the 2014 season schedule:

2014 Aggie football schedule
Aug. 28 Cal Poly
Sept. 6 at Georgia State*
Sept. 13 at UTEP
Sept. 20 New Mexico
Sept. 27 at LSU
Oct. 4 Georgia Southern*
Oct. 11 at Troy*
Oct. 18 at Idaho*
Oct. 25 Bye
Nov. 1 Texas State*
Nov. 8 Lafayette*
Nov. 15 Bye
Nov. 22 UL-Monroe*
Nov. 29 at Arkansas State*
* Sun Belt Conference game

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Content from Thursday's Aggie men's basketball altercation at Utah Valley

Jason Groves has been churning out content following the Aggie men's basketball team's brawl at Utah Valley on Thursday night.

Certainly not the way a club wants to make headlines - and national headlines no less. In any event, here's stories that have appeared in recent days at and in the daily paper. NMSU plays at California-Bakersfield tonight holding a 10-4 WAC record...

Basketball brawl puts Aggies in national spotlight

K.C. Ross-Miller, Renaldo Dixon suspended for involvement in Thursday night Aggie basketball brawl

ANALYSIS: Aggies must move forward without two rotation players

VIDEO: New Mexico State Athletics Director McKinley Boston addresses Aggie basketball post-game scuffle

Aggies lose game, then cool at Utah Valley

More coverage on Jason Groves' blog can be found here

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Some key upcoming dates this spring for Aggie football

The New Mexico State Aggies are expected to open spring practices on Sunday, March 16. The team’s also expected to hold its annual spring game on Sunday, April 19.

The Aggies will also hold their annual pro day on March 5 at Aggie Memorial Stadium. Here’s the press release put out by the school:

LAS CRUCES - The New Mexico State football team is holding its annual pro day on March 5.

The event, which features NFL scouts working out Aggie players from the past year who will not return to the program in 2014, will begin at 9:15 a.m. in the Coca-Cola Weight Center. Weight room workouts will be followed by a trip to Aggie Memorial Stadium for the 40-yard dash and field drills.

Below is a list of the drills and tests to be done at pro day:
Anthropometric measures
225-pound bench press
Flexibility tests
Vertical jump
Broad jump
40-yard dash
Pro shuttle
Agility testing and other individual position workouts

Athletes Participating:
Bryan Bonilla, LB
Xzavian Brandon, WR
George Callender, S
Davis Cazares, S
Cayle Chapman-Brown, P
Kalvin Cruz, DL
Anthony Edwards, DB
Austin Franklin, WR
Cameron Fuller, DB
Darien Johnson, DB
Dele Junaid, LB
Mike Kaiser, LS
Kevin Laudermill, DL
Andrew McDonald, QB
Willie Mobley, DL
Trashaun Nixon, LB
Nick Oliva, DL
Yolandus Pratt, RB
Dada Richards, OL
Perris Scoggins, TE
Davonte Wallace, OL

Monday, February 24, 2014

District 3-5A boys basketball preview: Team capsules

(Las Cruces High School's Anthony Collins and Mayfield's Lloyd Gardner dive for a loose ball during a Jan. 28 contest at LCHS. The two teams split their two league games in 2014, yet Mayfield claimed the No. 1 seed in this week's district tournament/Photo by Gary Mook)

The Mayfield Trojans were the victors in a very balanced District 3-5A boys basketball regular-season race this season.

Mayfield rattled off six-straight league wins - they finished with a 6-2 overall record in district play - to win the regular-season championship.

The team will now be seeded No. 1 in the District Tournament, and will host Saturday’s title game.
With that being said, it would appear a handful of teams have a legitimate shot - the tough Trojans, the dangerous Gadsden Panthers, the improving Las Cruces Bulldawgs and the talented Alamogordo Tigers would all like to think they can come out on top.

With that, we take a capsule look at each team in District 3-5A, and what strengths - and weaknesses - they bring to the table with the 2013-14 postseason officially here:

Mayfield Trojans
Seed: No. 1
Record (Overall, district): 16-10, 6-2
Key players: G Isaac Rivera, G Josh Luevano, G/F Kavika Johnson
Rundown: This is a gritty team that’s pulled off some monster comeback victories during the second-half of district play - wins over Las Cruces High, at Alamogordo and at Gadsden all stood out as such. Mayfield also has some toughness - frontcourt player Dominic Carrasco is another contributor to watch in this regard. The Trojans began district play this season with an 0-2 record - and looked horrible in the process - but recovered to win six straight games to close out league play. They enter the district tournament as the top seed and with a bye all the way until Saturday’s championship round. Still, perhaps the best way to describe Mayfield is this: a team that can beat anybody on any given night, yet one that could fall just as easily in the same instance.

Gadsden Panthers
Seed: No. 2
Record: 19-7, 5-3
Key players: F Rafael Martinez, G Tommy Cano, F William Contreras
Rundown: The Panthers are a true team, one that might not necessarily have a true star player, yet a unit that also plays very well together. The Panthers don’t make many mistakes and typically don’t beat themselves under head coach Mike Harper. They also run an underrated offense with good ball handlers. A dangerous team that will have a home game in Thursday’s semifinal.

Las Cruces Bulldawgs
Seed: No. 3
Record: 15-11, 5-3
Key players: G/F Malik Woods; F J.T. Romney; C Cody Murrillo; AC
Rundown: One could make the argument the Bulldawgs are playing better than anyone in district at this point. After a 1-5 start to the season - when the team was fitting in new pieces after winning a State Championship in 2012-13 - the Bulldawgs now sit at 15-11 and have won six of their last seven games. Granted, the team has lost some head scratchers this season, including a home game against Alamogordo to open district (minus the senior Romney) and blowing a big fourth quarter lead to Mayfield less than two weeks ago (in an eventual 58-54 defeat). But the Bulldawgs have seen some players round into form - such as point guard Anthony Collins - and are capable of reaching, and winning, a district championship game.

Alamogordo Tigers
Seed: No. 4
Record: 17-9, 4-4
Key players: F JoJo Jones, F JJ Johnson, F Andrew Yates
Rundown: This team is right there with anyone - or in some cases, could surpass some of its district counterparts - from a talent standpoint. The Tigers have a balanced team and one with size, and have also put together some nice wins on their resume - at Las Cruces (again, minus Romney) and a blowout home victory over Gadsden. Still, Alamogordo hasn’t quite seemed to turn the corner either, with their only other district wins coming against Oñate. One would figure they can get past their opening-round game Monday against the Knights. With that being, a tall order would await at Las Cruces High in the district quarterfinals round.

Oñate Knights
Seed: No. 5
Record: 4-22, 0-8
Key players: F Kal McCorkle, G Josh Gandara, F/G Jacob Gandara
Rundown: It’s been quite the fall from grace for the Knights, who won a State Championship three years ago, only to not have a District 3-5A win on their resume for the entire 2013-14 season. Perhaps they can get one at Alamogordo to open the league tournament, although they’re the clear underdog.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg