Albuquerque has some long-standing high school football rivalries. Naturally, many of them revolve around the campus located in the middle of the city.
Alfred Lujan, a graduate of Albuquerque High, thought maybe the time had come to add some flavor to the Bulldogs’ four primary rivalry matchups.
To that end, he created four trophies —one for each of AHS’s rivalry games with Highland, Valley, Rio Grande and Del Norte. (A photo of the four trophies accompanies this column.)
“These teams are struggling right now, and I was just trying to give these boys some extra incentive,” said Lujan. “Not just our boys, but the other teams also.”
The Rio Grande River Trophy was created for games against Rio Grande High. It is a piece of wood carved into the shape of the state of New Mexico. The Rio Grande separates the two schools.
There is the Divided Trophy for when AHS takes on Valley. The title is derived from a time when AHS built a new school, and the district boundaries changed, leading many kids, Lujan said, to go from AHS to Valley and vice versa.
Lastly, there is the Fourth Quarter Trophy for games against Del Norte — a rivalry, I have noted many times, is among my favorite in New Mexico.
The Divided Trophy and the Fourth Quarter Trophy are both football helmets, with AHS’ logo and colors on one side, and the Valley/Del Norte logos and colors on the other.
After Albuquerque High beat Del Norte the other night, AHS is home to all four trophies. And the winning school gets to keep that trophy for a year.
This is a recent creation, as the four trophies were only crafted two years ago. AHS is looking to create a special trophy case for when it gets to house any or all of them.
“It’s brought out something special among the kids,” AHS coach Tim Johnson said. “It brought out a sense of urgency and excitement to be playing for something against those schools. (Thursday) night (when we beat Del Norte), you would have thought we won the state championship.”
MEET NO. 3: There are three undefeated teams in Class 6A. Two of them are in the city of Rio Rancho.
The third is the Santa Fe Demons.
Following a 19-7 victory Friday night over St. Michael’s — the first time Santa Fe has beaten the Horsemen since 2008 — the Demons are 3-0.
And Santa Fe High has not been 3-0 since 1985, at a time when the Demons were a large-school power in football.
“It’s pleasing to be 3-0 at this point,” Demons coach Andrew Martinez said. “We have 19 seniors on our roster, and that helps. A lot of them, they played as freshmen, so they’ve seen a lot of battles. … They have a really strong bond and have some high goals for this football season.”
In two weeks, Santa Fe opens District 2-5 play at Wilson Stadium against Eldorado. The Demons close out their nondistrict schedule this Friday against their other City Different rival, Capital.
Martinez, in his fifth season, took over at a point when Santa Fe was probably at the lowest point in the program’s history. But this senior group, and this fast start, has him believing the Demons, led by senior running back Martell Mora, might be able to generate some noise in their district.
“I believe we have enough depth and strength at the skill positions, and on the line, that we can go into district and compete,” Martinez said.
RATON UPDATE: Raton’s Tigers are also 3-0, although the Tigers’ latest win turned extremely ugly.
Their home game Friday against Trinidad, Colorado, which was a 49-16 Raton victory, ended in the middle of the third quarter because of a bench-clearing brawl, according to the Raton High Twitter page.
Tigers head coach Tory Giacomo told the Journal that three Trinidad players were ejected, along with two of his own players. He said the officials decided it would be best, and safe, just to end the game at that point. Giacomo declined to comment directly on the incident when reached Saturday evening.
New Mexico Activities Association executive director Sally Marquez also declined comment. She said she needed to see the game film “and get all the information.” That includes the written report from the game’s officiating crew.
THIS AND THAT: Probably the most dramatic finish of Week 3 was Lovington scoring on a touchdown pass, and 2-point conversion, with 13 seconds remaining, to pull out a 22-21 victory at Alamogordo on Friday night. … Bernalillo in its three wins this season has outscored its opponents 139-0. The most recent victory was a 35-0 triumph Friday over visiting Los Alamos. … Valencia, which is 2-1, has won consecutive games by a 36-6 score, against Del Norte and Rio Grande.