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Coming in 10 weeks: high school football

Atrisco Heritage is set to face Del Norte Aug. 20 at Nusenda Community Stadium in a fall 2021 season opener. The Jaguars were very much improved in the spring 2021 season. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

The 2021 fall high school football season has its opening date, and its first-day matchups in Albuquerque.

Highland and Eldorado at Wilson Stadium, and Sandia-Valley at Milne Stadium are the openers for Albuquerque Public Schools on Thursday, Aug. 19.

For APS, Friday night’s schedule in Week 1 is highlighted by Volcano Vista’s trip to Las Cruces to face the Bulldawgs at the Field of Dreams.

New Belen coach Phil Lopez makes his debut with the Eagles that night, Aug. 20, at home against resurgent West Mesa, which didn’t lose any of its three games in the spring 2021 season.

The school formerly known as Oñate, Organ Mountain, visits Albuquerque High at Milne on that first Friday.

Week 1 for APS ends on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 21, with an excellent pairing of Cibola and La Cueva at Wilson Stadium. Cleveland visits Centennial that same day at the Field of Dreams, and Rio Rancho also faces a daunting Week 1 road trip, at the Wool Bowl against Goddard on Saturday afternoon.

New Los Lunas head coach Greg Henington coaches the Tigers in Week 1 at Piedra Vista, and will debut at home in Week 2 against Alamogordo.

Manzano, which is still searching for a new head coach, opens at home at Wilson Stadium on Aug. 20 against Mayfield. Del Norte-Atrisco Heritage is the Week 1 Friday night game at Nusenda Community Stadium.

Rio Grande is the only APS team with a bye in Week 1. The Ravens open in Week 2 against Atrisco Heritage at Community Stadium, and Rio Grande will once again compete as an independent this upcoming season.

The most fascinating matchup locally in Week 2 is Las Cruces at Cibola, also at Community, the night following Rio Grande-Atrisco.

West Mesa and Cibola are two teams whose schedules are noticeably beefed up, coming off excellent — albeit abbreviated — three-game spring seasons.

The Mustangs play the likes of Centennial and Los Lunas in the nondistrict portion of their schedule, and West Mesa already is a member of District 1-6A with Cleveland, Rio Rancho, Cibola and Volcano Vista, plus Atrisco Heritage which looked drastically improved in the spring.

Cibola opens with La Cueva and Las Cruces, and also faces Eldorado and Los Lunas before district play begins.

(The full schedule for all 13 APS varsity teams, plus Rio Rancho, Cleveland, Los Lunas, Valencia and Belen, can be found today on page B3).

The final Friday night of the regular season, Oct. 29, features Cleveland at Rio Rancho and Cibola-Volcano Vista. The annual La Cueva-Eldorado showdown is Thursday, Sept. 30. Los Lunas and Roswell, who met in both the 2018 and 2019 Class 5A state championship games, square off on Sept. 10 at the Wool Bowl.

One of the more anticipated regular-season games will be Las Cruces at Cleveland, on Friday night, Sept. 10.

The regular season ends on Oct. 30; that day includes a game at Wilson Stadium between Eldorado and Clovis. The Wildcats will have several games in the metro area, including a juicy nondistrict visit to Rio Rancho in Week 4. Belen will play at Los Lunas, also on Oct. 30. But the Tigers do not play city rival Valencia. The Jaguars, who are now in Class 4A in football, just can’t match Los Lunas’ overall participation numbers, so this rivalry is on hiatus indefinitely.

2021 PREP FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

(For APS, Rio Rancho, Cleveland, Los Lunas, Valencia, Belen)

W: Wilson Stadium

C: Nusenda Community Stadium

M: Milne Stadium

FOD: Field of Dreams

WEEK 1

Thursday, Aug. 19

Highland at Eldorado (W), 7 p.m.

Sandia at Valley (M), 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 20

Los Lunas at Piedra Vista, 6 p.m.

Valencia at Alamogordo, 7 p.m.

Del Norte at Atrisco Heritage (C), 7 p.m.

Mayfield at Manzano (W), 7 p.m.

Organ Mountain at Albuquerque High (M), 7 p.m.

Volcano Vista at Las Cruces (FOD), 7 p.m.

West Mesa at Belen, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 21

Cibola at La Cueva (W), 1 p.m.

Rio Rancho at Goddard, Wool Bowl, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Centennial (FOD), 1 p.m.

IDLE: Rio Grande

WEEK 2

Thursday, Aug. 26

Highland at Albuquerque High (M), 7 p.m.

Rio Grande at Atrisco Heritage (C), 7 p.m.

Volcano Vista at Manzano (W), 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 27

Del Norte at Valencia, 7 p.m.

Alamogordo at Los Lunas, 7 p.m.

Las Cruces at Cibola (C), 7 p.m.

El Paso Franklin at Cleveland, 7 p.m.

Piedra Vista at Valley (M), 7 p.m.

Rio Rancho at La Cueva (W), 7 p.m.

Belen at Farmington, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 28

West Mesa at Centennial (FOD), 1 p.m.

Eldorado at Mayfield (FOD), 7 p.m.

IDLE: Sandia

WEEK 3

Thursday, Sept. 2

Albuquerque High at Del Norte (M), 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 3

Atrisco Heritage at Piedra Vista, 7 p.m.

Centennial at Sandia (W), 7 p.m.

Eldorado at Rio Rancho, 7 p.m.

Farmington at Highland (M), 7 p.m.

Los Lunas at West Mesa (C), 7 p.m.

Manzano at Cleveland, 7 p.m.

Artesia at Belen, 7 p.m.

Rio Grande at Valencia, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 4

Carlsbad at Volcano Vista (C), 1 p.m.

La Cueva at Las Cruces (FOD), 1 p.m.

St. Pius at Valley (M), 1 p.m.

IDLE: Cibola

WEEK 4

Thursday, Sept. 9

Del Norte at Rio Grande (M), 7 p.m.

Sandia at West Mesa (C), 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 10

Los Lunas at Roswell, Wool Bowl, 7 p.m.

Atrisco Heritage at Valley (M), 7 p.m.

Cibola at Eldorado (W), 7 p.m.

Las Cruces at Cleveland, 7 p.m.

Clovis at Rio Rancho, 7 p.m.

La Cueva at Volcano Vista (C), 7 p.m.

Valencia at Portales, 7 p.m.

Belen at Miyamura, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 11

Highland at Organ Mountain (FOD), 1 p.m.

IDLE: Albuquerque High, Manzano

WEEK 5

Friday, Sept. 17

Cibola at Los Lunas, 7 p.m.

Manzano at Albuquerque High (M), 7 p.m.

Rio Grande at West Mesa (C), 7 p.m.

Sandia at La Cueva (W), 7 p.m.

Cleveland at Artesia, 7 p.m.

Valley at Deming, 7 p.m.

Valencia at Santa Teresa, 7 p.m.

Piedra Vista at Belen, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 18

Centennial at Atrisco Heritage (C), 1 p.m.

Santa Fe at Eldorado (W), 1 p.m.

Rio Rancho at Organ Mountain (FOD), 1 p.m.

IDLE: Volcano Vista, Highland, Del Norte

WEEK 6

Friday, Sept. 24

Del Norte at Farmington, 7 p.m.

Eldorado at Albuquerque High (M), 7 p.m.

Highland at Cibola (C), 7 p.m.

Goddard at Los Lunas, 7 p.m.

La Cueva at Clovis, 7 p.m.

Manzano at Santa Fe, 7 p.m.

Volcano Vista at Sandia (W), 7 p.m.

Belen at Capital, 7 p.m.

Bloomfield at Valencia, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 25

Portales at Rio Grande (M), 1 p.m.

IDLE: Atrisco Heritage, Valley, West Mesa, Cleveland, Rio Rancho

WEEK 7

Thursday, Sept. 30

La Cueva at Eldorado (W), 7 p.m.

Manzano at Del Norte (M), 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 1

Atrisco Heritage at Cleveland, 7 p.m.

Albuquerque High at Clovis, 7 p.m.

Cibola at Rio Rancho, 7 p.m.

Los Lunas at Highland (M), 7 p.m.

Santa Fe at Sandia (W), 7 p.m.

West Mesa at Volcano Vista (C), 7 p.m.

Grants at Valencia, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 2

Belen at Valley (M), 1 p.m.

Capital at Rio Grande (C), 1 p.m.

WEEK 8

Thursday, Oct. 7

Sandia at Albuquerque High (M), 7 p.m.

Volcano Vista at Atrisco Heritage (C), 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 8

Cleveland at Cibola (C), 7 p.m.

Del Norte at Belen, 7 p.m.

Eldorado at Manzano (W), 7 p.m.

Rio Grande at Santa Teresa, 7 p.m.

Valley at Highland (M), 7 p.m.

Albuquerque Academy at Valencia, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 9

Rio Rancho at West Mesa (C), 1 p.m.

IDLE: La Cueva, Los Lunas

WEEK 9

Thursday, Oct. 14

Cleveland at Volcano Vista (C), 7 p.m.

Eldorado at Sandia (W), 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 15

Atrisco Heritage at Rio Rancho, 7 p.m.

Clovis at Manzano (W), 7 p.m.

Los Lunas at Valley (M), 7 p.m.

West Mesa at Cibola (C), 7 p.m.

Valencia at St. Pius, day/site/time TBD

Saturday, Oct. 16

Albuquerque High at Rio Grande (C), 1 p.m.

Highland at Del Norte (M), 1 p.m.

Santa Fe at La Cueva (W), 7 p.m.

IDLE: Belen

WEEK 10

Thursday, Oct. 21

Cibola at Atrisco Heritage (C), 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 22

Albuquerque High at Santa Fe, 7 p.m.

Valencia at Bernalillo, 7 p.m.

Del Norte at Los Lunas, 7 p.m.

Highland at Belen, 7 p.m.

La Cueva at Manzano (W), 7 p.m.

Rio Rancho at Volcano Vista (C), 7 p.m.

Sandia at Clovis, 7 p.m.

Valley at Rio Grande (M), 7 p.m.

West Mesa at Cleveland, 7 p.m.

IDLE: Eldorado

WEEK 11

Thursday, Oct. 28

Manzano at Sandia (W), 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 29

Albuquerque High at La Cueva (W), 7 p.m.

Valley at Del Norte (M), 7 p.m.

Volcano Vista at Cibola (C), 7 p.m.

Cleveland at Rio Rancho, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 30

Belen at Los Lunas, 1 p.m.

Atrisco Heritage at West Mesa (C), 1 p.m.

Clovis at Eldorado (W), 1 p.m.

Rio Grande at Highland (M), 1 p.m.

IDLE: Valencia

END REGULAR SEASON




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