Prep sports notes: Howe to take over Cibola football - Albuquerque Journal

Prep sports notes: Howe to take over Cibola football

It was the itch, Chris Howe said, that lured him back.

“Something,” he said, “about running your own program. I thought this would be a really good opportunity to do that.”

Chris Howe was named Cibola High football coach on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Chris Howe)

Howe, 50, on Wednesday became Cibola High School’s new head football coach. He succeeds Rod Williams, who recently, and unexpectedly, resigned.

Howe is a former head coach at Del Norte (2006-12). In the interim, he has been a defensive coordinator both at Rio Rancho High, where he won two championship rings in 2014 and 2016, and at Eldorado for the double-season (spring and fall) of 2021.

At Cibola, Howe inherits a playoff-caliber team with one of the state’s premier quarterbacks in Aden Chavez, but also jumps into the state’s best district.

“I knew it was a good opportunity for me to get in there and build on what someone else built up quite a bit,” Howe said. “Coach Rod is amazing; he’s a high character guy, he does things right. He’s leaving this job better than when he found it.”

SIGNINGS/COMMITMENTS: Bernalillo’s Juliana Aragon on Wednesday signed her national letter of intent to play women’s basketball at Division I Northern Arizona of the Big Sky Conference.

Aragon, a guard, led the state in scoring last season for all classifications, and later was chosen as the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. She said she and NAU, located in Flagstaff, have been in contact for several years.

Bernalillo’s Juliana Aragon, center, running a fast break against Highland in February 2020, is continuing her basketball career at Northern Arizona. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

“It’s been a dream of mine (to play Division I) since I started playing basketball,” Aragon said. “I’m really at a loss for words. It’s an indescribable feeling. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to get a chance to go play there.”

Two local boys, center back Alex Dixon of Volcano Vista and midfielder Brendan Baird of La Cueva, are signing to play soccer with Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

“They really needed an attacking midfielder, and they told me I would be a perfect fit for their program,” Baird said. He said SMU watched him at a club tournament in Tucson in November. “I basically said that day that I’d love to go to SMU. … I love Texas, it’s like my favorite place ever.”

Dixon, a club teammate of Baird, also played in that tournament in Tucson and drew the Mustangs’ attention that same day. He said he never saw himself playing anywhere except at SMU.

“It’s awesome,” Dixon said. “We had this amazing experience to play at the highest level and we’ll have all the resources to become as great as we can be.”

n St. Pius standout running back Marco Ybarra is going to sign with Chapman University in Orange, California. Ybarra rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 22 touchdowns last fall.

n La Cueva had eight other athletes sign their letters of intent on Wednesday: Sisters Erica and Nicole Ihlein with Concordia University soccer in Irvine, California; Jasmine Gibson (soccer; West Texas A&M); Marina Kalajdzic (volleyball; Oklahoma City University); Teagan Algarra (beach volleyball; Concordia University); Kolby Burton (baseball; Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas); Nicole Woisin (wrestling; Colorado Mesa University); and Alex Lumanog (tennis; Daemen University in Amherst, New York).

n Cleveland on Wednesday had the following signees: Kennedy Ulmer (track and field; Eastern New Mexico); Kendal Ulmer (football; New Mexico Highlands); Sophia Maurer (volleyball; Hollins [Virginia] University); Bridgette Ignacio (basketball; Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California); Kymani Castillo (wrestling; New Mexico Highlands); Josh Coon (wrestling; Adams State in Alamosa, Colorado); Damien Bachicha (wrestling; New Mexico Highlands); and Phillip McLaughlin (swimming; St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota).

n In addition to Dixon, Volcano Vista on Thursday is planning to have these athletes sign their NLIs: Evan Kowalski (soccer; Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado); Ivan Szacaks (soccer; Eastern New Mexico); Taylor Rogers (soccer; Dixie State in St. George, Utah); Tyler Martinez and Adrian Tenorio (football; N.M. Military Institute); Tony Leger (baseball; New Mexico Highlands); Jaymin Fitak (baseball; Trinidad State JC in Colorado); Aiden Childs (baseball; Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas); Nolan Bentley (baseball; Shasta College in Redding, California); Angela Korte (cross country/track; New Mexico State); Lucas Kedge (cross country/track; Western New Mexico); Mikayla Marrujo (softball; Weatherford College in Texas); Keegan Whiteman (softball; Jarvis Christian College in Wood County, Texas); Cylee Acosta (soccer; New Mexico Highlands); and Sedona Stinson (volleyball; Seward CC in Liberal, Kansas),

n Rio Rancho High wide receiver Javon Jubert went on Twitter this week to announce that he’d sign with Western New Mexico, and Cibola receiver Nathan Lopez will sign with College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. Another Cougar, basketball player Brady Arrenius, is signing with Monmouth in New Jersey.

ESPORTS: The state’s Esports state championships are underway, with the early rounds, including the semifinals, running through April 21. The finals are scheduled April 22-23 in Albuquerquee.

There are brackets for five different games, including Madden NFL ‘22.

POWERLIFTING: Rio Rancho High hosted the state championships last weekend. Rio Rancho, Cleveland and Lovington went 1-2-3 in the boys competition, with Lovington, Cleveland and Silver the top three for the overall girls. Jal was the small-school state chamipon in both genders.

THIS AND THAT: Freshman Jalin Holland, the top boys basketball player at Los Lunas High last season, already has his first Division I scholarship offer, from Southern Utah. … Cibola is having to forfeit five baseball games for using an ineligible player, AD Ray Rodriguez confirmed. One of the victories is a District 1-5A win over Atrisco Heritage.

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