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Prep football: This coming week’s games to watch

1. Belen (7-1, 2-0 in 5-5A) at St. Pius (8-1, 3-0), Milne Stadium, 7 p.m. Thursday: This will serve pretty much as the district championship game in 5-5A, especially with Los Lunas out of the picture. Eagles coach Greg Henington has done his late father, Rex, proud in his first season in Belen. Winner has great shot at a top-four seed and first-round playoff bye.

2. La Cueva (5-3, 2-1 in 2-6A) at Eldorado (4-4, 1-2), Wilson Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday: The Eagles’ offense has been quiet in recent losses to Clovis and Manzano, and Eldorado had better get that cranked up against another fairly decent defense in the Bears. With Manzano now just about assured of winning the district, La Cueva and Eldorado can only hope to win their final two and hope for a first-round home game.

3. Valley (2-6, 2-1 in 4-6A) at West Mesa (3-5, 2-1), Nusenda Community Stadium, 7 p.m. Thursday: Gotta love the way this district is playing out, with four teams tied for first place with two games remaining. Since the season finale for both (Highland for the Vikings, Rio Grande for the Mustangs) seems likely to be a win, this game has tremendous value.

4. Moriarty (8-0, 2-0 in 4-4A) at Portales (7-1, 2-0), 7 p.m. Friday: This is the best team the Pintos will have faced, and it’s good for them that they are a run-first group, because good ground games travel well.

5. Las Cruces (7-1, 4-0 in 3-6A) vs. Oñate (6-2, 4-0), Field of Dreams, 7 p.m. Friday: The Knights scratched harder than I thought they’d have to to get past Hobbs. And the Knights, with a second life, now face two tremendous challenges to end the season — first the Bulldawgs, then Centennial.

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