(7 p.m. Friday unless noted)
1. Las Cruces (3-2, 2-0 in 3-6A) at Centennial (6-0, 2-0), Field of Dreams: It is possible the winner of this game will be the eventual District 3 champion, although Mayfield (also 2-0) may also have something to say about this. Bulldawgs could use a quality win; they don’t have one yet.
2. Cibola (3-2) at Rio Rancho (3-2): This is a very attractive District 1-6A opener with a great contrast at quarterback between Cougar freshman Aden Chavez, who is completing 71.6% of his passes, and Rams senior Isaiah Chavez, who might be 6A’s best running QB. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that in Rio Rancho’s last game, the Rams beat La Cueva having thrown for just 25 yards. Rio Rancho is white-hot as league play begins.
3. La Cueva (4-2) at Manzano (2-3), Wilson Stadium: The depleted Bears are going to need their defense, which is still rather stout, to carry things through October against the Monarchs, Eldorado and Sandia. Look, injuries happen to everyone, but the Bears have been hit especially hard on offense. This will not be easy sledding the next few weeks. This is a District 2/5-6A opener.
4. Goddard (4-1) at Lovington (4-2): A pair of No. 2-ranked teams. Class 4A’s Wildcats scored 54 points (Roswell) and 52 (Artesia) in their two losses and average over 42 points a game. Class 5A’s Rockets, meanwhile, only give up an average of 7.8 points a game, but I suspect their offense is going to need something special to keep up on Friday.
5. Tatum (4-1) at Melrose (5-0): An 8-Man showdown between the top two ranked teams in that classification, led by the top-ranked Buffaloes.