By Arnie Leshin
You can’t blame whoever pieced together Santa Fe High’s football schedule. One reason being, no one knows what to except until the season actually kicks off.
And so, the Demons came off the no-time-out left win at Espanola Valley to end their 35-game losing streak. But then came two schools, undefeated Taos and Bernalillo, heading in a different direction, both on 4-game win skeins.
While Santa Fe High is a 5A school, the Tigers and Spartans are in District 2/5-4A with 3-0 Grants. So the Demons are fortunate they are not in that district, which is not all that impressive after the three undefeated teams, but to have Taos and Bernalillo visiting Ivan Head Stadium in successive weeks is a nightmare for second-year head coach Andrew Martinez’ youngsters.
Last Friday night, Taos led 21-0 after one quarter and departed with an rout. Now comes Bernalillo, which has allowed only six points in the opener and nothing after that, which adds up to 90-6 and includes three-straight shutouts.
It classifies as a true turnaround for the Spartans after having only five winning and 11 losing seasons in the last 16 years. And it winds up the regular season with a home game against Taos. Plus, both schools have to play Grants, which is not exactly a threat.
The stout Bernalillo defense is powered by 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior Michael Maes, who goes both ways on the line. Then there’s 5-11, 210 offense guard/defensive tackle Nevin Acencio, and 5-10, 285 sophomore Ramon Ash, another two-way lineman.
The offense is engineered by 5-11 senior Damian Gutierrez, one of the team captains. He has a favorite receiver in 6-foot, co-captain Reyes Luh-Herrera, and a go-to running back in 5-9, 180 sophomore in Aiden Madrid.
Prior to the season, it was not expected to be that positive for Bernalillo and Taos, but there they are on the Demons’ schedule in back-to-back Friday night visits, the Tigers from the north and the Spartans from the south.
“We’ve been fortunate,” says Martinez, and right now we’re in good shape as far as injuries go. We’re young, have only four seniors, and it’s a good group that’s excited about every game.Bernalillo is very good, but these kids are looking forward to playing them.”
The coach has nothing but praise for his starting freshman quarterback Luc Jaramillo. It was his leadership that took the team from midfield in the closing minutes to the game-ending winning field goal off the foot of 5-5 junior Tilman Conway.
“It was an exciting game,” Martinez says, “and we had about 300 Demons fans there, which was real nice.”
St. Michael’s is 1-3 and has a bye weekend before meeting up with
its Siringo Road rival Santa Fe High at Ivan Head Stadium. The Horsemen lost their first three starts, but the schedule now favors them, and should put them near the .500 mark.
Capital (1-2-1) heads to tackle unbeaten Taos (4-0) Friday night in a non-district game. Then there isLos Alamos (3-1), which is in the Jaguar’ 4A district, and whose only loss came when blanked and routed by Taos. Friday, the Hilltoppers travel to Gallup.
Santa Fe Indian School (2-2) heads for Zuni (1-3), Espanola (2-3) plays at Navajo Prep (0-4), Robertson (3-1) is home to a good Socorro team, West Las Vegas (1-3) visits Hatch Valley, and Espanola McCurdy plays host to Pojoaque Valley 1-3).