Who’s favored? Well, it’s a guessing game this time around
By Arnie Leshin
How about “Pick em”? Doesn’t that sound best for Friday night’s cross-town rival encounter when winless St. Michael’s visits Capital, which has won one, tied another, and comes off a whooping loss at Lovington.
Usually, it’s the Horsemen that enter this non-district test as the favorite, and that’s based on the previous results between the two. But in recent years, the Jaguars have made a game of it despite losing.
But sophomore running back Luke Padilla did not play at Lovington, and he’s Capital’s biggest offensive threat. He was held out after suffering a concussion the previous week, but should be cleared to play this time.
St. Michael’s, with a serious lack of offensive problems, is hurting at quarterback, running back, and has holes in its defense. It was taken upon by undefeated Taos in the home opener, lost with little offense at Portales, and at Bloomfield, St. Michael’s was already behind 21-0 at halftime.
The facts: Capital has not beaten St. Michael’s in football since 2005. The Horsemen have not been 0-3 since 1997 when they finished at 1-10 after losing their first seven. Overall, St. Michael’s leads this neighborhood series 18-8.
The cross-town rivals played for the first time in 1990 and the Jaguars turned in a 41-6 victory. The following year, head coach Bill Moon’s team won 32-11, and following a break though and a 10-8 St. Michael’s win in 1992, back came Capital with back-to-back wins, and the Horsemen responded by winning the next five.
Along came 2005 and the Jags won a 13-7 defensive clash in overtime. And that’s the last time they celebrated a victory over St. Michael’s. After losing 20-18 at home in 2016, Capital was routed 46-27 last season at the Christian Brothers Athletic Complex. There have been three shutouts in the series, all by the Horsemen.
And that’s where it stands as Friday night matches up the two at Jaguar Field. The home side at 1-1-1 and the visitors at 0-3.
St. Michael’s has other problems after head coach Joey Fernandez was ejected in the game at Bloomfield. Athletic director Tom Manning is appealing it, and if it remains, Fernandez will not be eligible to coach the Capital contest.
It was learned the Fernandez had been protesting the rough style of play that Bloomfield had gotten away with. When the officials heard too much, they ejected him, which became the first time this occurred since the 2005 campaign.
As for the other troubles, the Horsemen are hurting at quarterback, at running back, and has holes on defense. They were routed at home by unbeaten Taos in the opener, then suffered a setback at Portales, followed by last week’s loss at Bloomfield, where they trailed 21-0 at halftime.
The Jaguars opened at home and romped over Pojoaque Valley. Then came the 14-14 tie with visiting Deming in a game called with eight minutes left because of numerous lightening delays. But with sophomore running back Luke Padilla sidelined after a concussion in the Deming game, it was all Lovington.