7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 17) unless noted.
1. Cibola (2-1) at Los Lunas (4-0): A salivating quarterback matchup between Aden Chavez of the Cougars and Paul Cieremans of the Tigers, both underclassmen. Cougars probably can’t subsist on a 50-passes-a-game template going forward — well, maybe they can — but they still are getting fully healthy as they make the short roadie. Tigers will have to summon something special to pull off an upset here.
2. Las Cruces (1-3) vs. Mayfield (2-2), Field of Dreams: Saddens me that these rivals are no longer in the same district — or classification, for that matter. That certainly removes some of the luster, but this remains New Mexico’s best prep football rivalry (which, by the way, includes far more than just the actual quality of the teams involved, in case the Rio Rancho-Cleveland crowd is waiting to pounce). Bulldawgs have lost three straight and need this one more than the Trojans, put simply.
3. Cleveland (4-0) at Artesia (3-1): Bulldogs have won three straight since that opening-night loss at Carlsbad, but they’ve got their orange helmets full with a visit from the Storm, which has put up 181 points so far and probably still hasn’t approached its best football.
4. Santa Fe (4-0) at Eldorado (2-2), 1 p.m. Saturday, Wilson Stadium: The second appearance for the Demons in my top 5 in the last three weeks; it’s been a whole lotta years since the Demons came to Albuquerque for a high school football game with these kind of stakes. This is a District 2-6A opener. Santa Fe has yet to play a 6A program. It has played two 3A programs, one in 4A and one in 5A, so the Demons have much to prove. Eldorado has dropped two straight.
5. Durango, Colo. (2-1) at Farmington (4-0), Hutchison Stadium: Nearly put Moriarty-Bernalillo into this slot (and taking Pintos in a slight upset, I might add). But couldn’t leave this one off. Scorpions have probably been 5A’s most impressive team so far, and here, Farmington meets a nemesis from just across the border. Point of reference: Both of these schools have a 54-0 victory over Aztec. The Demons will certainly be the best team the Scorps have encountered so far.