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Coach: Kevin Carroll (22nd year; 120-95)
Last year: 10-3, District 4-3A runner-up; beat Pojoaque 59-13 in first
round of 3A playoffs; beat Bloomfield 42-6 in 3A quarterfinals; lost
31-0 to Lovington in 3A semifinals
Returning starters: 5 offense, 5 defense
Key players: Brandon Branch, sr. (5-11, 175, QB/RB); Zach Stevens, sr.
(6-2, 210, TE/DE); Nick Chavez, sr. (5-9, 150, RB); Ben Peña, sr. (6-0,
215, G); Tyler Root, jr. (5-9, 210, C); Ian O'Donoghue, sr. (6-1, 195,
DE); Ryan Growney, sr. (5-11, 175, G); Nash Phillips, jr. (5-8, 150,
RB/PK); Nick Sagartz, sr., (6-2, 220, OT/DT); Louis Volk, jr. (6-1, 180,
Outlook: The Chargers were the darlings of Class 3A last season after
getting all the way to the state semifinals, and Academy should be in
the mix again. Branch is perhaps the team's best athlete, and he'll
spend much time under center where Academy lost standout Kevin Clauss to
graduation. Depth, as usual, is a concern for the Chargers who are
carrying only two dozen players on the varsity. But the Chargers do have
some size and experience along the lines, and that should help
immeasurably. Academy is out of the southern district with Lovington,
Portales and Ruidoso. The Chargers' new league (5-3A) also consists of
Hope Christian, Santa Fe Indian School, St. Michael's and Pojoaque.

Coach: Joseph Anaya (5th year; 6-34)
Last year: 2-8, no playoffs
Returning starters: 8 offense, 7 defense
Key players: Jacob Pacheco, sr. (5-10, 165, FB/LB); Drew Barnwell, sr.
(5-10, 160, FS/RB); Jonathan Molinar, sr. (5-11, 200, OL/DE); Ty
Mesgale, sr. (5-10, 155, QB); Sal Montes, jr. (6-4, 190, WR/DE);
Devontay Hayes, sr. (6-0, 195, WR/DE); Zech Vineyard, sr. (5-9, 175,
LB); Zach Salas, sr. (5-10, 165, RB/FS); Elijah Warren, sr. (6-0, 185,
RB/CB); Joe Acosta, jr. (5-9, 165, Slot/CB); Isaiah Naranjo, sr. (5-8,
150, Slot/CB).
After being consigned to the bottom of the pack in another
district, AHS, led by a stronger senior class, looks to be a factor in
5-5A. Anaya said the Bulldogs had an outstanding offseason; eight
players are three-year starters, and that experience, Anaya hopes, will
make the difference this season. Mesgale steps in for D.J. Lopez who
threw for about 2,000 yards last season. Although he's more of a running
QB, he can throw out of the option. One of those threats is Warren, who
is the son of former NFL player Vince Warren. The Bulldogs need to use
their team speed on defense to give their offense a chance.

Coach: Angel Castillo (1st year)
Last year: 5-3 at JV level
Returning starters: 11 offense, 11 defense
Key players: Andrew Lopez, jr. (5-10, 180, QB); Jeremy Sanchez, soph.
(5-11, 175, RB/S); Christian Tarbox, jr. (6-0, 250, C); Julian Mora, jr.
(5-10, 160, WR); Jose Ortega, jr. (5-8, 200, RB); Nathaniel Goode, soph.
(5-10, 150, slot); Matthew Lujan, jr. (5-10, 190, TE/DT); Bryan Luna,
jr. (5-9, 180, DE); Justin Burkeen, jr. (5-10, 190, LB); E.J. Marquez,
soph. (5-6, 170, NG); Raphael Barraza, jr. (6-2, 270, T); Ortega at LB;
Ben Gallardo, jr. (6-1, 175, OLB); D.J. Maestas, jr. (6-2, 165, CB).
Outlook: Atrisco Heritage won't have any seniors, so it's hard to
imagine the Jags having a huge impact in its first varsity season, but
nothing is set in stone. They would probably take a season similar to
what Cleveland had last year as a first-year program (5-5), and try to
build on that. This program has big aspirations and an ambitious coach
with a southern New Mexico background.

Coach: John Lerma (3rd year; 22-3)
Last year: 12-1, District 6-4A champions; beat Deming 58-6 in 4A
quarterfinals; beat Aztec 58-19 in 4A semifinals; lost 28-21 to Goddard
in 4A championship game
Returning starters: 6 offense, 7 defense
Key players: Dylan Barba, sr. (5-10, 165, QB); Danny Jaramillo, sr.
(5-11, 190, RB); Steven Contreras, sr. (5-10, 195, FB/SS); Dusty Leavy,
sr. (5-11, 235, OT); Dante Berry, sr. (5-10, 165, WR/wing/CB/PK); Carlos
Garcia, sr. (5-10, 205, MLB); Samson Chavez, sr. (6-1, 325, DT); David
Quail, sr. (5-9, 165, DT); Josh Krause, sr. (5-11, 210, DE).
Outlook: Barba, Jaramillo and Contreras give true meaning to Belen's
triple-option attack, but the Eagles have four fresh faces along the
offensive line, so that trio may be asked to make a few plays on their
own -- which they can, as Belen has team speed to burn. The defense might
hold the key to 2010, particularly when the playoffs arrive and Belen is
confronted with more skilled offenses.

Coach: Ken Noel (5th year; 23-17)
Last year: 7-4, District 2-4A champions; lost 27-18 to Deming in first
round of 4A playoffs
Returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense
Key players: Juan Carlos Molinar, sr. (5-9, 180, RB); Omar Luna, sr.
(6-2, 215, G/OLB); Steven Baca, sr. (5-9, 210, C); Zach Padilla, sr.
(6-0, 185, G/DE); James Roy, sr. (5-8, 175, WR/CB); Joe Bonham, sr.
(5-10, 195, FB/NT); Donovan Aguilar, jr. (5-8, 150, CB); Jordan Ludi,
sr. (6-0, 185, QB/LB); Devante Thomas, jr. (QB).
Outlook: Bernalillo appears to be equipped to make another run at a
playoff berth in 2010, especially coming out of a weak District 2-4A.
The status of Roy (knee) is a concern, but when healthy, he and Molinar
give the Spartans two outstanding weapons. Roy should be back by Week 2
or Week 3. With so many key two-way players, Bernalillo's got to keep
players out of the training room. The defense has good team speed,
although it's not an overly big unit.

Coach: Judge Chavez (5th year; 30-17)
Last year: 6-5, District 1-5A runner-up; lost 28-0 to Eldorado in first
round of 5A playoffs
Returning starters: 6 offense, 8 defense
Key players: Mark Tapia, sr. (6-1, 225, RB); Joe Martinez, sr. (5-6,
145, WR-RB); Isaac Padilla, sr. (5-9, 220, G); Fred Castañeda, sr. (5-9,
165, sr); Michael Wilkinson, sr. (6-2, 210, DE); Jeremy Roybal, sr.
(6-0, 200, DT); Chris DeFillippo, sr. (5-10, 185, LB); Nick Pino, sr.
(5-5, 140, CB); Matt Vallo, jr. (6-2, 290, OT/DT); Michael Kozemchak,
sr. (6-1, 190, QB).
Outlook: Cibola's been a consistent program, but the Cougars will have
to overcome a couple of obstacles. Cibola is replacing all but one
starter along the offensive line and also will have a new QB with no
tangible varsity experience. The good news is the defense looks to be
outstanding. It is experienced, quick and aggressive.

Coach: Kirk Potter (2nd year; 5-5)
Last year: 5-5, no playoffs
Returning starters: 9 offense, 8 defense
Key players: Travis Lonergan, sr. (6-6, 190, WR); Jerome Gabryszewski,
jr. (6-1, 180, WR); Adam Grau, jr. (5-11, 165, FB); James Beasley, sr.
(5-11, 270, G); Chris Petro, sr. (5-9, 145, RB/S); Michael LiRosi, jr.
(6-0, 210, MLB); Abram Holland, sr. (6-3, 270, DE); Jorge Aguirre, sr.
(5-9, 210, C); Matt Romero, jr. (5-11, 240, G).< br />Outlook: The Storm have high expectations in Year 2 of the program, and
a tough schedule (including Clovis and Manzano) to match. This is a big,
athletic team, and the addition of Texas transfer Cole Gautsche at
quarterback only improves things. Everyone expects Cleveland to make a
big jump in 2010, and to do that the Storm are going to have prove
themselves early.

Coach: Chris Howe (5th year; 17-26)
Last year: 5-6, District 5-4A champions, lost in first round of 4A
playoffs to Farmington
Returning starters: 5 offense, 3 defense
Key players: John Johnston, sr. (6-1, 200, QB/LB); Ryan Blocker, sr.
(6-1, 180, DB/Slot); Jacob Edwell, jr. (5-7, 165, DB/RB); Anthony
Morgan, sr. (5-10, 185, FB/S); Gino Duran, sr. (5-10, 195, TE/NT);
D'Ante Stamps, jr. (6-1, 175, WR/OLB); Tyler Alston, jr. (6-1, 240,
C/DE); Chris Mills, sr. (6-3, 225, OT/DT).
Outlook: The Knights have been to the postseason in three of Howe's four
seasons, although this season they have to deal with St. Pius in their
district. Health will be a concern for Del Norte, since about half its
players are two-way starters. But the entire backfield returns intact,
led by Johnston and Edwell. If there's a weakness, it's an inexperienced
offensive line where there are four new starters. Del Norte has to deal
with a tough nondistrict schedule that includes Eldorado, Aztec and
Belen. The Knights have won two straight district titles. "Our goal is
to win another, and then we want to start getting mentioned with the top
five in 4A," Howe said.

Coach: Charlie Dotson (4th year; 27-10)
Last year: 6-6, District 5-5A runner-up; beat Cibola 28-0 in first round
of 5A playoffs, lost 36-29 (OT) to Mayfield in 5A semifinals
Returning starters: 6 offense, 3 defense
Key players: Jonathan Trujillo, sr. (5-8, 158, WR/DB); Tyler McCulloch,
sr. (6-5, 200, WR/S); Marcus Jaramillo, sr. (5-10, 218, QB/LB); Chris
Sedillo, sr. (5-8, 171, RB/LB); Josh Day, sr. (6-1, 197, TE/DE); Eric
Hoisington, sr. (6-2, 206, C/LB); Willie Pounds, sr. (6-4, 310, OT/DT).
Outlook: If a vicious schedule doesn't result in too many injuries,
Eldorado looks like a championship contender. Quarterback and linebacker
play will be key. The Eagles have a couple of potential Division I
prospects in Pounds (offers from UNM and NMSU) and McCulloch who has a
few D-1 schools taking a look at him.


Coach: Gary Sanchez (5th year; 21-21)
Last year: 3-7, no playoffs
Returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense
Key players: Larry Rhoades, sr. (5-7, 155, WR/LB); Julian Sanchez, jr.
(5-6, 155, MLB); Dylan Chavez, sr. (5-11, 155, QB/CB); Alex Mercer, sr.
(5-10, 150, CB); David Brown, jr. (5-10, 165, WR/S); Kevin Lopez, jr.
(5-9, 220, C/DL); Cody Marquez, jr. (6-1, 230, OT); Juan Rodriguez, jr.
(6-1, 224, OT/DE); Alex Sayers, sr. (5-7, 185, G); Matt Little, sr.
(5-11, 160, OLB/RB).
Outlook: Sanchez believes the Hornets have closed the gap on some of the
metro's powers, and in their new district (5-5A) they should be one of
the favorites. Chavez threw for over 2,300 yards last season, but
Highland is hoping to be a stronger running club in 2010 with Sanchez,
Little and Rhoades. The Hive is more experienced, and bigger, and
they've got some terrific skill-position athletes, like Rhoades, Chavez
and Brown. Highland's got some good team speed on defense, which was a
problem area last year. "Our goal is to try and win this district and
move into the playoffs," Sanchez said. "We're not bad."

Coach: Darrel Kindig (2nd year; 4-5)
Last year: 4-5 as an independent
Returning starters: 5 offense, 5 defense
Key players: Cameron Harjes, jr. (6-0, 190, FB/LB); Micah McNeil, sr.
(6-0, 175, QB); Jordan White, jr. (5-7, 180, LB); Sammy White, soph.
(6-0, 190, NT); Emilio Chavez, sr. (5-6, 210, C); Mark Escajeda, jr.
(5-6, 155, RB).
Outlook: The Huskies went on seven long road trips last season but
emerged mostly unscathed, and the four wins was a nice start for the
program. Hope has some experience under its belt, and understands the
game a bit better, and both will serve them well as they segue from
independent to a member of District 5-3A, which also includes St.
Michael's and Albuquerque Academy. Is this a playoff-caliber team?
Kindig says it's possible. One plus is the addition of 6-foot-5 Arren
Wells, who'll play receivers. Wells' primary sport is basketball.

Coach: Fred Romero (11th year; 95-27)
Last year: 12-1, District 2-5A champions; beat Hobbs 52-7 in
quarterfinals, beat Manzano 25-24 in semifinals, beat Mayfield 31-14 in
championship game
Returning starters: 5 offense, 0 defense
Key players: Ronnie Daniels, sr. (6-2, 205, RB/LB); Stan Sedberry, sr.
(6-3, 205, RB/LB); Zach Nelson, sr. (6-0, 172, QB); Andrew Kline, sr.
(6-0, 205, FB); Charlie Casey, sr. (6-1, 235, C); Brian Herrera, sr.
(6-2, 178, WR); Matt Neustedter, sr. (6-5, 210, DE); Nevada Posa, sr.
(5-11, 195, LB); Adam Sena, sr. (5-10, 200, LB); Tyler Wolf, jr. (5-8,
170, CB); Michael Walsh, jr. (6-0, 180, CB); Eric Stabile, jr. (6-0,
165, S/PK).
Outlook: Don't be lulled into believing that the Bears are
one-dimensional; they say teams won't be able to just pack the box with
nine players and go after Daniels without paying a price. Defense is
more the issue with La Cueva, since the Bears lost every starter from
last year's championship squad. They'll be especially strong at
linebacker, but it's the defensive line where La Cueva will have to hold
its own in the big games.


Coach: Jeremy Newton (1st year)
Last year: 2-8, no playoffs
Returning starters: 4 offense, 4 defense
Key players: Jacob Fender, sr. (6-1, 205, RB/DE); DeVante Roy, jr. (5-7,
165, RB); Francisco Martinez, sr. (6-0, 215, OL); Isreal Gutierrez, sr.
(5-11, 205, DL); Jordan Chavez, sr. (5-10, 170, LB); Nick Thompson, sr.
(5-11, 180, OLB); Robert Chavez, sr. (5-10, 160, WR/FS); Gabe Almager,
jr. (5-8, 215, OL); Alex Montaño, sr. (5-9, 150, CB).
Outlook: Newton comes to Los Lunas after two seasons as Belen's
defensive coordinator. His toughest assignment may be to instill that
same winning attitude with the Tigers who drop down from Class 5A to 4A.
No surprise: Newton said the Tigers are probably stronger on defense at
this point, and that unit may need to carry things for a bit as the new
offensive system is put in. "They've struggled in the past," Newton
said, "and hopefully we can turn things around."

Coach: Aaron Ocampo (10th year; 63-36)
Last year: 10-2, District 5-5A champions; beat Sandia 52-7 in 5A
quarterfinals; lost 25-24 to La Cueva in 5A semifinals
Returning starters: 5 offense, 1 defense
Key players: Ryan Trujillo, sr. (5-10, 135, QB); Jacob Walters, sr.
(6-4, 250, OT); Kevin Reaves, sr. (5-8, 165, RB); Josh Bowen, sr. (5-9,
155, WR); Austin Tidwell, sr. (5-11, 170, TE/LB); Justin Snow, sr.
(5-10, 170, DB); Zach Muñoz, jr. (6-3, 285, OT).
Outlook: Manzano's program has developed to a point where even heavy
senior losses won't keep it from contending for a postseason berth. An
inexperienced defense could be problematic, although the Monarchs, led
by the likes of Reaves and Bowen, should continue to be productive

Coach: Jeff Strohecker (5th year; 9-30)
Last year: 0-10
Returning starters: 5 offense, 5 defense
Key players: Jordyn Monahan, sr. (6-2, 240, TE/LB); Sam Rhodes, sr.
(6-2, 270, OL/DL); Danny Brawner, sr. (6-2, 260, OL/DL); Jayseph Griego,
sr. (5-9, 150, QB/DB); Cory Johnson, sr. (5-8, 160, RB/DB); Dennis
Smatana, jr. (6-3, 240, RB/LB); Brandyn Monahan, soph. (6-0, 220, OL/DL).
Outlook: The 8-man Panthers remain a big and physical team that should
be improved this season. Menaul is installing a new offense that it
hopes can help it keep pace.

Coach: Bob Allcorn (8th year; 34-40)
Last year: 3-7, no playoffs
Returning starters: 7 offense, 8 defense
Key players: John Bell, sr. (6-3, 245, OT/NT); Mario Rodriguez, sr.
(5-10, 180, QB/DB); Kane Romp, sr. (5-10, 165, RB/DB); Mikael Merrick,
sr. (6-2, 225, TE/LB); Alex Licon, sr. (5-10, 170, FB/DB); Justin
Lucero, sr. (5-9, 185, TE/DE); Chuck Herrera, jr. (5-11, 175, RB/DB);
Frankie Rodriguez, jr. (5-9, 185, FB/MLB); Connor Russell, jr. (5-10,
165, G/LB); Zach Blunt, sr. (5-9, 205, G/DL).
Outlook: Moriarty had a productive offseason as it looks to regain
playoff form in 2010. Bell, Merrick -- moved from guard to tight end
because of his athleticism -- and Rodriguez form the core group for the
Pintos, who run the Wing-T. However, depth is a potential issue with the
Pintos, with about half a dozen two-way starters. "We'll go into every
game looking to rush for over 300 yards, and we've got kids who can do
that," said Allcorn. With the addition of St. Pius into District 5-4A,
the Pintos must deal with Del Norte and now the Sartans as well, but
Allcorn hopes a veteran, physical defense can give them a chance.
Moriarty also must be better in the red zone this season.

Coach: Randy Gutierrez (7th year; 26-38)
Last year: 2-8, no playoffs
Returning starters: 8 offense, 7 defense
Key players: Richard Castillo, sr. (6-2, 240, FB/DE); Drew Lundvall, jr.
(5-10, 185, RB/DB); Cameron Sanchez, soph. (5-6, 145, QB/DB); Luis
Garcia, sr. (5-10, 230, G/NG); Jaylan Spraggins, sr. (6-1, 190, WR/FS);
Angelo Almanzar, jr. (5-10, 190, QB/DB); Steven Gonzalez, sr. (5-10,
185, MLB); Chris Hernandez, jr. (6-0, 190, MLB); Donnie Chavez, jr.
(5-8, 160, DB); Johnny Chavez, jr. (5-8, 160, DB).
Outlook: Rio's first trip to the state playoffs was in 1989, a year in
which the Ravens won nine games and lost to Clovis in the first round.
While Gutierrez won't go so far as to guarantee a late playoff push, he
does like this year's team: "This could be the best team we've had in
three or four years," he said. "Maybe as good as the team that had
Adrian Baca (in '07)." The Ravens' matchups against Valley and Highland
in district will be crucial.

Coach: David Howes (2nd year; 7-4)
Last year: 7-4, District 1-5A champions; lost 56-43 to Hobbs in first
round of 5A playoffs
Returning starters: 4 offense, 9 defense
Key players: Josh Baggett, jr. (6-4, 290, T); Tim Foley, sr. (5-8, 170,
QB/S); Zack Rogers, sr. (5-11, 170, WR); Frankie Morlock, jr. (6-1, 180,
RB/S); Nikko Tavasci, sr. (6-3, 195, DE); Paul Jaramillo, sr. (6-0, 190,
OLB); Jackie Satriana, sr. (5-9, 220, MLB); Gino Satriana, sr. (5-6,
165, S); Robert Coleman, jr. (5-10, 210, RB); Mike Calzada, jr. (5-7,
165, slot/RB).
Outlook: Foley is moving from slotback to quarterback, and it's one of
the key personnel changes in 5A football. Rio Rancho is relatively
inexperienced at the skill positions but hopes a bigger offensive line
will be a bonus. Defensively, Rio Rancho has most of its starters back,
and with an extra year of experience the Rams should not find themselves
as outmatched and worn down as was the case last year.

Coach: Kevin Barker (11th year; 64-47)
Last year: 6-6, District 2-5A runner-up; beat Las Cruces 38-14 in first
round of 5A playoffs; lost 52-7 to Manzano in 5A quarterfinals
Returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense
Key players: Jordan Ratliffe, sr. (5-11, 170, QB/CB); James Moorehead,
sr. (5-10, 185, RB); Aaron Smith, sr. (5-9, 170, S); Cole Liggins, sr.
(6-1, 190, WR/DB); Brandon Wade, sr. (6-1, 218, DE/TE); Alex Gard, sr.
(6-0, 245, OG/ DT); Carlos Mora, sr. (5-6, 170, RB/LB).
Outlook: Sandia has a solid core and enough playmakers to hold its own
against 5A's top teams. Ratliffe, a tremendous running QB, has already
got coaches like Manzano's Aaron Ocampo sweating bullets. Moorehead was
outstanding at Sandia's scrimmage. Limited depth and inexperience at
linebacker are areas of concern.

Coach: San Juan Mendoza (16th year; 110-52)
Last year: 5-6, District 6-4A third place; lost 54-13 to Artesia in
first round of 4A playoffs
Returning starters: 4 offense, 6 defense
Key players: Trey Casaus, jr. (6-1, 195, QB); John Garcia, jr. (5-9,
165, RB/CB); Nathan Otero, sr. (6-2, 235, RT/DL); Gavin Metzger, sr.
(6-4, 350, NG); Isaac Leon, sr. (5-11, 210, LB/FB); John Henry Luna, sr.
(6-0, 180, LB); Quentin Rizek, jr. (6-2, 180, LB/WR); Estevan Apodaca,
sr. (5-11, 175, LB).
Outlook: With standout linebackers (led by Leon) anchoring a stout
defense and a conservative offense, look for St. Pius to be in plenty of
close games. If Casaus and the offense can convert enough key plays, the
Sartans could make some noise in Class 4A. St. Pius is going back to the
Wing-T offense, a style that Mendoza used most of his career with the
Sartans before a change last year to the spread. St. Pius also gains
from a new district (5-4A) that doesn't have Belen or Volcano Vista; the
Sartans' Oct. 24 matchup with Del Norte could be for the district title.

Coach: Kelley Lee (2nd year; 5-6)
Last year: 5-6, District 5-4A runners-up; lost 44-20 to Silver in first
round of 4A playoffs
Returning starters: 7 offense, 8 defense
Key players: Orey Feerer, sr. (5-10, 185, QB/DB); Jude Pepke, jr. (5-10,
180, QB/LB); Jake Sanchez, sr. (5-8, 145, RB/DB); Carlos Griego, jr.
(5-9, 175, RB/DB); Justin Heppler, sr. (6-2, 208, C/LB); Rudy Calderon,
sr. (5-9, 205, OL/DL); Elijah Derreta, sr. (6-6, 210, TE/DE); Curtis
Peralta, sr., (5-8, 145, RB/DB); Braden Gault, sr. (5-9, 170, WR/DB);
Isaac Gonzales, jr. (6-1, 185, WR/LB).
Outlook: The Jaguars only had 11 seniors last season, so it's a fairly
veteran team that Lee begins the season with. Ferrer, Peralta and
Sanchez will all be prominently featured in Valencia's triple option.
Valencia is also super-quick, according to its coach. If the Jags can
parlay that speed with improved -- and more physical -- offensive and
defensive line play, they could be the second-best team in the newly
revamped District 6-4A, behind Belen. "We want to advance in the
playoffs and take that next step," Lee said. Valencia's nondistrict
schedule -- which includes Taos, Capital, Bloomfield and Atrisco Heritage
-- is extremely favorable.

Coach: Vince Collins (18th year; 84-93)
Last year: 6-4, no playoffs
Returning starters: 8 offense, 7 defense
Key players: Jerry Goodyear, sr. (5-11, 155, QB); Mario Flores, sr.
(5-10, 150, WR/CB); Adam Gonzalez, sr. (6-0, 265, OT/DT); David Georges,
sr. (6-3, 220, OT/DE); Andrew Pardo, sr. (6-2, 280, G); Damian Rodarte,
jr. (5-10, 180, C/LB); Pat Gonzales, sr. (5-8, 175, slot-RB); Zach Baca,
sr. (6-2, 215, TE/LB); Jason Lee, sr. (5-10, 175, DE/LB); Darryn Flores,
sr. (5-9, 155, OLB).
Outlook: Valley believes the pieces are in place to make the playoffs
this year, what with an experienced QB (Goodyear), dependable runners
and receivers, and a big, veteran offensive line. One of the key
questions is the defense and how it performs against teams like La
Cueva, Volcano Vista and Cleveland during a rugged nondistrict schedule.
Collins hopes to get through it 3-3, then take his chances in a
wide-open District 5-5A.

Coach: Chad Wallin (3rd year; 14-8)
Last year: 10-2, District 6-4A runner-up; beat Silver 44-20 in 4A
quarterfinals; lost 55-14 to Goddard in 4A semifinals
Returning starters: 5 offense, 5 defense
Key players: Randy Williams, sr. (6-2, 270, G); Erik Crum, sr. (5-10,
305, G); Anthony Kennedy, sr. (6-5, 280, T); Jon Montoya, sr. (6-1, 170,
TE); Kyle Byer, sr. (6-0, 165, QB); Roman Perea, sr. (5-11, 150, CB);
Charles Nieto, sr. (5-10, 200, LB); Zach Clouse, sr. (6-2, 250, DE);
Adrian Trujillo, jr. (6-1, 320, DT).
Outlook: If newcomer Byer can establish himself at QB, and if the Hawks
can locate a go-to running back, they certainly have the size and
experience to contend in District 1-5A along with Cleveland, Cibola and
Rio Rancho. No matter how well Volcano Vista runs the ball behind a huge
line, the Hawks must get better on defense to manage the promotion to 5A.

Coach: James Palacios (6th year; 13-37)
Last year: 4-6, no playoffs
Returning starters: 8 offense, 9 defense
Key players: Matt Jaramillo, sr. (6-5, 245, QB); Nathan Struck, sr.
(5-7, 175, RB/OLB); Darrien Thomas, sr. (5-9, 170, WR/FS); Daniel
Salazar, jr. 5-6, 145, WR); Lawrence Avila, sr. (5-10, 215, G/NT); Jacob
Tafoya, sr. (5-9, 210, G); Michael Williams, sr. (5-10, 195, OT/DT);
Eduardo Quiñonez, jr. (5-11, 225, MLB); Arturo Montoya, sr. (5-7, 140,
CB); Nicholas Sosa, sr. (5-8, 140, CB); Andres Reza, sr. (5-9, 165, SS).
Outlook: West Mesa may not be poised to win a state title anytime soon,
but the Mustangs certainly could contend for a playoff berth in 2010 if
all goes well. West Mesa's general lack of size would be a huge
detriment in any other district, but not the one it's in this year
(5-5A), which will have several teams just like the Mustangs. Jaramillo
is a play-making QB, but he must have help, particularly from the
offensive line and also from the defense.