By Arnie Leshin
Ah, Thursday night high school football. Kickoff time is the same, 7 o’clock, and the site is Santa Fe Indian School. And for visiting District 2-3A rival St. Michael’s, it’s a short ride there.
Maybe it’s a chance to so some scouting, for it is bye weekend for city rivals Capital and Santa Fe High, neither has met up with the Braves, and the Jaguars’ game at the Horsemen was called late in the first half due to reports of threatening weather moving in.
Thanks to the usual assistance of Mike Pitel — St. Michael’s football statistician, cameraman, historian, sports media liaison, his advice is to bundle up, it’s going to be a chilling, the temperature calls for 50 degrees and a 10 mph breeze out of the NW at kick off, dropping to 40 degrees and an 8 mph breeze out of the North around 9:30. (The Braves field has pretty close to a N-to-S alignment if the breeze is any concern).
That’s it for the weather. The game itself is the sixth between these schools and St. Michael’s has won the other five, with last year’s 54-7 tilt at Christian Brothers Athletic Complex. Braves Field is all turf, has stands on both sides, plenty of parking, and picturesque views.
The Horsemen are 3-2 and looking to even their mark after dropping the first three to Taos, Portales and Bloomfield, Then they won a tight one over Santa Fe High at Ivan Head Stadium and a easier one at home when El Paso Cathedral came to visit. Overall, they have scored 106 and have allowed 171.
They are 0-0 in district, but it will change after tonight. From there they have to face Robertson, West Las Vegas and Raton.
The Braves gave won four of six, opening at home by disposing of Cuba, losing at Pojoaque Valley before winning at Wingate, at home versus Laguna-Acoma, and at home against Thoreau. Last Thursday night, they were trounced in their district opnner at Braves Field by Robertson, which leaves them with St. Michael’s, and on the road to Raton and West Las Vegas.
There are nine seniors on the Indian School roster to mix with 16 juniors, 17 sophomores, and 10 freshmen. On offense, they have the experience of 5-foot-8, 140-pound quarterback senior Dery Vigil, who is short and light, but quick and can throw the ball maybe an average 30-35 yards on the fly.
His two primary running backs are also seniors, 5-7. 140 Francisco Pino, and 5-8, 185 Izell Latoma, who has the weight to push forward.
The defense couldn’t control the Cardinals’ rushing game, going a fast balanced attack with a an outmatched defense. The three top running backs for Robertson totaled 29 carries for 388 yards and seven touchdowns.
Sr. Michael, which has suffered key injuries from day one, finally has all its starters back. Sophomore quarterback Lucas Coriz runs a balanced attack that has been hurt by injured running backs, but he can now turn to 5-8, 196 senior Ray Lynch, and look for his main wide outs, 5-11, 171 Rico Gurule and 5-8, 142 Kennis Romero.
On the offensive line, the two guards, seniors Jaden Mifsud and Seth Temple, are back at full strength, and except for the 6-2, 285 Coriz, are all seniors and juniors. Both Mifsud and Temple go both way on the line, with Mifsud at defensive tackle and Temple at defensive end.
Senior Thomas Wood came off the basketball team to do a outstanding job at end, and Lynch, Gurule, Romero, Montoya, and Santiago Martinez are also playing on both lines that provides the horsemen with more experience, strength and talent. Along with sophomore free safety Devin Flores and Coriz, the rest of both starting lines are junior and seniors.
Coriz does the PAT kicking and field goals, Gurule the punting.
Please credit Mike Pitel for his assistance with this football advance.