Prep football forecast: Journal's Yodice, KOAT's Miller pick Saturday's championship winners - Albuquerque Journal

Prep football forecast: Journal’s Yodice, KOAT’s Miller pick Saturday’s championship winners

CLASS 6A

No. 2 Rio Rancho (9-1) at No. 1 Cleveland (12-0), 1 p.m. Saturday: Every one of the four title games feels like a tossup, including this one. As I type my picks here on Thanksgiving afternoon, there is no official word on whether Rio Rancho running back Zach Vigil (ribs) will play or not. And this is not an insignificant thing, seeing as he went off for 323 yards in the first Cleveland game on Oct. 29. Vigil’s status gives me pause; hard to take the Rams on Saturday without knowing for sure if he’ll A) play; and B) be effective. If Vigil doesn’t play, the Rams’ other fine back, Devin Rice, and especially that staunch Rio Rancho defense, are both going to have to do some heavy lifting. Cleveland 28, Rio Rancho 21. (Bethany Miller’s pick: CLEVELAND)

CLASS 5A

No. 4 Artesia (9-3) at No. 1 Los Lunas (12-0), 1 p.m. Saturday: If the Tigers are going to win that first football championship for themselves and their starved fan base, they are going to have to summon all their talents and courage on Saturday. The onus may fall to a shorthanded Los Lunas defense, which hasn’t surrendered more than 21 points to anyone all year, to play particularly huge against a balanced Bulldogs offense. If Los Lunas quarterback Paul Cieremans can mirror the level he played at in the fourth quarter in the semifinals against Goddard for an entire game, it’s going to be hard to deny the Tigers that first blue trophy. Los Lunas 33, Artesia 28. (Bethany Miller’s pick: LOS LUNAS).

CLASS 4A

No. 6 Ruidoso (8-5) at No. 1 Lovington (9-3), 1 p.m. Saturday: District rivals meet in Lovington, with the Warriors looking to close out a magnificent playoff run by trying to win four games in four weeks, and also trying to follow in the footsteps of previous No. 6-seed state champions, like Estancia in 2014 and Mayfield in 2010. Although I am going higher seed in the other three games, I’m going to play a hunch and ride Ruidoso’s momentum with this upset pick on Saturday. Ruidoso 29, Lovington 27. (Bethany Miller’s pick: LOVINGTON)

KOAT’s Bethany Miller

CLASS 3A

No. 4 St. Michael’s (9-3) at No. 3 Robertson (10-2), 1 p.m. Saturday: No surprise that District 2-3A produced the two state finalists; it was just a matter of which two emerged. Each of the coaches (Joey Fernandez for the Horsemen, Leroy Gonzalez for the Cardinals) have won state championships with his school, but who knows what to expect Saturday, since it’s unfair to place too much emphasis on Robertson’s one-sided win last month. Robertson has dropped its last four trips to the finals (2015-18), and I’m calling this a law of averages pick Saturday. Robertson 23, St. Michael’s 19. (Bethany Miller’s pick: ST. MICHAEL’S).


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