The choice for Silver High School was not complicated. Either live part time on a bus, or embrace a new paradigm in New Mexico high school football realignment.
“I think it’s gonna work out for us,” Silver coach Raul Diaz said.
Our state’s unique and sprawling geography has created a highly unusual situation this year revolving around Silver’s Colts.
While Silver is a Class 4A program, the Colts for the next two seasons will compete in a Class 5A district. They’ll be district partners with Chaparral, Deming and Santa Teresa.
If the Colts make the playoffs, even if they go undefeated in that district, it will be as a 4A program.
“I believe it’s fair,” said Diaz, a 1988 Cobre High graduate in his third season at Silver. He also spent eight years coaching in Albuquerque – four at Highland with Judge Chavez, four more at Manzano with Aaron Ocampo. “It seems like a tough schedule, but we are trying to use it for our advantage.”
The New Mexico Activities Association wasn’t quite sure what to do with Silver. The NMAA gave the Colts the option of being in a 4A district with Ruidoso, Portales, Moriarty and Lovington. Ruidoso, at 235 miles away, is the closest of those four to Silver City. In that league, Silver would have two significant league road trips every fall.
The travel, Diaz said, was “just too much. I like the alternative of playing closer to home.”
Silver chose Option B, which is to play up. Undoubtedly, this option is the correct choice – fiscally, and from a practical standpoint.
And, to be frank, it is entirely possible that the three teams in Silver’s current district are, collectively, not as potent as the Ruidoso/Lovington/Portales/Moriarty group the Colts might have faced.
In the latest coaches’ poll for 4A, Ruidoso was ranked No. 1, Lovington No. 2 and Portales No. 4. Silver (2-0 with wins over Round Valley, Ariz., and El Paso Bowie) is No. 5.
This is actually a second coaching stint at Silver for Diaz. He was on the Colts’ staff through much of the 1990s, including Silver’s state title game loss at Lovington in 1995. That game is notable for being Brian Urlacher’s final high school game. And it was in that game that Urlacher authored perhaps his most signature high school play, a leaping interception.
“Greatest high school play I had ever seen in my life,” Diaz said.
CAN’T RUN AWAY: Eldorado coach Charlie Dotson earlier this week expressed concern about how his Eagles would defend the run against Cleveland. And then the Storm went out and rushed for 486 yards – 384 of them from Dorian Lewis – Thursday night in a 42-28 Cleveland victory.
Putting aside how mistake-prone the Eagles were against the Storm, Eldorado’s struggles against the run have to be the most pressing concern, especially with several excellent backs – Manzano’s Xavier Ivey-Saud, La Cueva’s D’Andre Williams and Sandia’s Leshawn Joseph – coming up in the second half of the season.
Lewis may be a superior back to anyone else in 6A – in fact, I’m not sure there is an argument at the moment – but Ivey-Saud, Williams and Joseph all are highly capable of going off unless Eldorado gets that addressed.
SUMMER UPDATE: La Cueva senior quarterback Dylan Summer did not play Friday in the 45-3 win over Las Cruces. He hasn’t played since taking a huge hit on the final play of the first half in the previous week’s victory against Valley.
Summer was in uniform and warmed up prior to the Las Cruces contest but was not 100 percent after landing on his throwing shoulder in Valley game, La Cueva coach Brandon Back told the Journal’s Ken Sickenger. Austin Smith played extremely well in Summer’s stead.
“We just felt like it wasn’t a good risk to send Dylan out there in Week 3,” Back said. “Besides, I always like having baseball players like Austin out there. They’ve been to the plate in big situations, and I thought Austin played with some swagger.”
FIRST AND 10: Congrats to Santa Fe, which on Friday snapped a 35-game losing streak, defeating rival Española Valley 23-22 on a walk-off field goal. … Slumping Las Cruces had never yielded 70 points in a game before the 70-42 loss to Eldorado nine days ago. And going back to 1953, no Bulldawg team had ever given up this many points (115) in consecutive games.