Coach: Rico Marcelli (3rd year; 18-5)
Last season: 11-1; lost to Las Cruces in Class 5A semifinals
Returning starters: 2 offense, 7 defense
Key players: Jordan Velasquez, sr. (5-11, 180, QB/CB); Jaime Ramirez, sr. (5-7, 160, WR/S); Dominic Brown, sr. (6-0, 280, DT); Isaac Chavez, sr. (6-0, 280, G); Alejandro Lucero, sr. (6-2, 280, DT); Lorenzo Herrera, sr. (5-7, 160, WR); C.J. Torres, sr. (5-8, 165, RB); Noah Santistevan, jr. (6-1, 180, TE/ LB); Michael Barboa, jr. (5-10, 180, RB/LB); Cody McHenry, sr. (6-3, 290, OT).
Outlook: For Valley, the key to following up a historic 2013 season is how all the new faces mesh on offense, led by Velasquez, who is a superior athlete, and a mostly brand new offensive line. This group has a lot to live up to after last year’s point explosion. The defense appears in solid shape, with Velasquez, Barboa and Brown among the top playmakers. Valley starts the year as the No. 2 choice behind Atrisco Heritage in District 5-6A.
(x-denotes District 5-6A game)
Aug. 29, at Rio Rancho, 7 p.m.
Sept. 5, Eldorado (M), 7 p.m.
Sept. 11, at Cibola (C), 7 p.m.
Sept. 18, at Sandia (W), 7 p.m.
Sept. 25, La Cueva (M), 7 p.m.
Oct. 3, Aztec (M), 7 p.m.
x-Oct. 9, at West Mesa (C), 7 p.m.
x-Oct. 16, Atrisco Heritage (C), 7 p.m.
x-Oct. 23, at Albuquerque High (M), 7 p.m.
x-Nov. 7, Rio Grande (M), 7 p.m.
(C) – Community Stadium; (M) – Milne Stadium; (W) – Wilson Stadium
Circle the date: Valley has six Thursday night dates, none bigger than the Oct. 16 showdown with Atrisco Heritage. That game, for the third straight year, should decide the District 5-6A champion.