Notes and news from Week 3 of the high school football season:
FIRST, A P.S.: The Rio Grande football program this week received a very generous donation that should cover its busing costs for the varsity and junior varsity teams this season.
Jerry Buhl, a 62-year-old retiree who lives on the West Side and has no ties to Rio Grande, walked into the school Thursday morning and stunned officials when he told them he was giving them $1,500.
"($1,500) isn't that big of a deal," Buhl said. "I had it, and I thought, 'I'm gonna give them the money.' "
The Ravens had been worried about finding the means to pay for transportation. Buhl's unexpected contribution solved that issue, new principal Linda Sink said.
"It was just amazing," said Sink. "He came in and said, 'I want to write you a check for $1,500.' It was heartwarming."
PONY EXPRESS: James Palacios is in his sixth season as West Mesa's head coach, but Thursday's 35-28 upset of Cibola was unlike any other win. It was, in truth, the most significant victory for the Mustangs in many years.
"It actually is," Palacios agreed. "We'd never been in this situation, to get a big win over a good team. We've never been able to beat any of them."
Maybe even more impressive than West Mesa getting out to a 20-0 lead was the way the Mustangs regrouped after blowing all of that lead and falling behind 28-27 in the fourth quarter.
And, facing a team that West Mesa struggled against while the two were district rivals in 1-5A.
Two keys for the Mustangs: not falling into a first-quarter deficit, as they had against Eldorado and Sandia; and letting loose the right arm of quarterback Matt Jaramillo.
Jaramillo threw for 429 yards, and West Mesa came out throwing better than it had against the Eagles or Matadors.
"If we run the ball against Cibola, we weren't gonna win," Palacios said. "We didn't change the passing game, we just wanted to throw it a little more."
STEP ASIDE, MIKE: Don't look now, but La Cueva tailback Ronnie Daniels now ranks No. 2 on New Mexico's all-time career rushing list.
With his (unofficial) 301-yard performance Friday at Clovis, Daniels passed Aztec's Mike Hathcock (2005-08) for second place.
If the Journal's numbers are accurate from the first three games – La Cueva's official tally may peg the total a few yards different, give or take – Daniels has 4,731 yards.
The only person now ahead of Daniels on the list is Lance Fikany (Fort Sumner, 1999-2002), with 5,711 yards in 49 games, according to nmact.org. Daniels has played 37 games.
"I saw the list about a week before the season started, and I realized how close I was to getting it," Daniels said Saturday. "It would be cool if I could get it."
Barring injury, Daniels will pass Fikany, but when? It's hard to say when he'll reach No. 1. The Bears' next three games are against Rio Grande, Highland and a much-anticipated roadie Oct. 2 at Mayfield. La Cueva then has its bye week.
The record seems likely to fall Oct. 14 against Cibola, or Oct. 22 against Sandia.
First Downs, Etc.
Today we revive the First Downs, Touchdowns and Penalties feature from last season:
Touchdown: Santa Fe High on Friday night ended a 14-game losing streak with a 30-15 win over Atrisco Heritage Academy.
I was in my late teens the last time the Demons were relevant in football (1986, when they played in the state semifinals), and here's hoping they someday can be relevant again.
First down: To the Las Cruces High booster who provided the school a giant, inflatable mascot head that the Bulldawgs run through before games. The thing rises as high as the top of the goalposts.
Compared to that, on Friday Volcano Vista's Hawks-themed tunnel looked like Mini Me.