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Prep football preview: Rio Grande Ravens

Coach: Dennis Minidis (2nd year; 0-10)

Last season: 0-10

Returning starters: 10 offense, 3 defense

Key players: Aaron Pavia, sr. (6-2, 180, QB); Hans Malubay, sr. (5-6, 170, RB);

Martin Ramos, sr. (6-1, 305, OT); Jordan Gray, sr. (5-9, 275, G); Oscar Bencamo, sr. (5-7, 160, WR); Josh Peralta, sr. (6-0, 190, LB); Cruz Bolivar, sr. (5-7, 160, WR); Roberto Parra, jr. (6-1, 220, C).

Outlook: Despite a current 37-game losing streak, Minidis believes that not only will Rio Grande put an end to that, but that the Ravens will win multiple games this season. “I expect us to be at least .500,” he said. Every player who wasn’t a senior last year returns, Minidis said, and he believes that is an indication that this group is fully invested in restoring health to this struggling program. Key to doing that is overcoming what has plagued Rio Grande: slow starts. The strong-armed Pavia is a returning starter, and Minidis said the Ravens have a solid group of receivers. Defense, led by Peralta and end D’Angelo Dixon, is a question mark, with few returners and mostly new coaches on that side of the ball. Rio Grande is playing as an independent for the next two seasons.

2018 schedule

(Competing as an independent)

Aug. 23, at Highland (M), 7 p.m.

Aug. 31, Manzano (M), 7 p.m.

Sept. 6, Valencia (M), 7 p.m.

Sept. 15, West Mesa (M), 1 p.m.

Sept. 21, at Sandia (W), 7 p.m.

Sept. 28, at Atrisco Heritage (C), 7 p.m.

Oct. 5, at Farmington, 7 p.m.

Oct. 12, Valley (M), 7 p.m.

Oct. 18, at Albuquerque High (M), 7 p.m.

Oct. 26, IDLE

Nov. 3, Shiprock (C), 5 p.m.

Circle the date: The Ravens are keen on getting this season started on the right foot, and the opening-night matchup with Highland presents a decent opportunity for Rio Grande. “We have got to win that first game,” Minidis said.

 

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