Yodice: Roswell’s football turnaround dates to a 2014 JV game

For future reference, the football game that truly got the head coaching tenure of Jeff Lynn firmly affixed to the tracks at Roswell High was, surprisingly, not even a varsity game.

Going back to his second year with the Coyotes in 2014, Roswell was on its way to a 2-8 varsity record.

“We were gaining some traction at the lower levels,” Lynn said. “The game that turned around our program was a JV game that year against Artesia. We beat them in OT, and it was the first time they’d beaten Artesia at the JV level in about 10 years.”

In every subsequent varsity season since 2014, Roswell has been a playoff team, and won at least one game in each postseason starting in 2015. Sometimes, the Coyotes were a substantially dangerous playoff team. To wit: last December, the Coyotes won their first football championship since 2001.

And Roswell, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A this season, is coming off a 56-33 thumping Friday of No. 3 Los Lunas.

The resident alpha in 5A wears red and white.

“I think what (Friday night’s win) tells us is that we’re playing well,” Lynn said, deflecting attention. “But I still don’t think we’re there yet.”

Lynn, 44, is in his seventh season at Roswell. He played his high school ball at Hagerman and Eunice. He was the college head coach at New Mexico Military Institute for six seasons, and spent one season at Wayland Baptist in Texas before returning to his roots in southeastern New Mexico to coach at the high school level.

“You can work a 10-hour day, 365 days a year, and still feel like you’re not doing enough,” Lynn said of his college coaching days. He said he might even someday return to the college ranks.

But as he transitioned to Roswell High, Lynn said he wanted to be more of an active father to his three boys, and said he wanted to be around them more.

The coaching bloodlines in his family run deep. His father, David, a small-school legend in New Mexico, won state titles at Eunice, Hagerman and Texico. His brother Josh is the head coach at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Roswell’s next two games are against Miyamura and Belen. This Coyote offense, led by quarterback Dominic Nava and receiver Jasia Reese – among plenty of others – averages more than 55 points a game.

“I just think we’re kind of clicking on offense right now,” Lynn said. “Our kids have an idea of what we want to do.”

That’s the undersell of all time. And these next words seem ominous for the teams chasing Roswell: “There is still,” Lynn said, “a lot of room for improvement.”

A WORTHY CAUSE: Las Cruces High is taking part in the Touchdowns Against Cancer initiative this season. The Bulldawgs and the Las Cruces community can pledge a donation for every touuchdown they score this month.

Las Cruces’ pledge total is estimated to be over $2,000.

TAC is a national program that benefits the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

According to touchdownsagainstcancer.com, almost 550 touchdowns had been scored this month by early Saturday, and over $65,000 has been raised.

THIS AND THAT: Moriarty coach Gabe Romero earned his first career victory as the Pintos’ head coach, 40-12 on Friday night over visiting Valencia. … Lovington’s 26-0 victory Friday against Hobbs was the first Wildcats shutout of the Eagles since 1996, and the first win over Hobbs (now 0-4) since 2011. … Tularosa’s 33-26 triumph against Eunice on Friday ended the Cardinals’ 28-game winning streak. They last were beaten (by Capitan) in the Class 3A 2016 state championship game. … Coaches/statisticians are reminded to submit football stats to the Journal. They must be turned in by 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, to sports@abqjournal.com.

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