By Arnie Leshin
Friday night’s annual cross town football clash matching Capital at Santa Fe High’s Ivan Head Stadium is not the last roundup, only the season finale.
The rivalry continued this campaign with both landing back into the same district, 5-5A.
While the Jaguars remained with familiar foes Espanola Valley, Los Alamos and Albuquerque Del Norte, the Demons were thankful that the new NMAA alignment removed them from that tough 6A schedule that included the Albuquerque schools and Clovis.
So it should or could be a good game, with the kickoff scheduled for 7 o’clock.
It’s been an up-and-down season for both, with the Jaguars at 2-6-1 and the Demons at 2-7. Capital has scored 138 points and Santa Fe High 73. In points allowed, it’s been an identical 306 for both. In the most recent 5A rankings, the Jags are 13th, the Demons 14th. On top at 10th is Los Alamos, while Albuquerque Del Norte is 12th.
But the Knights could thank Capital for giving them a chance to clinch district at Los Alamos Friday night. The Jaguars handed the visiting Hilltoppers a 21-14 loss last Friday night, while Del Norte routed the Jags and Demons in its last two starts.
The Knights are 3-6, but the overall record can’t keep them from winning district. Los Alamos is 5-4, but a game behind Del Norte.
The only other win for Capital came in the season opener at home in a rout over Pojoaque Valley. The next game, also at home, was a 14-14 tie with Deming, which was called after numerous lightning threats that brought heavy rain.
And Santa Fe, in Andrew Martinez’ second season as head coach, finally put an end to its 35-game losing by edging Espanola on the road when sophomore Tilman Conway kicked a 20-yard field goal on the game’s final play. Then came a surprise domination of previously undefeated, visiting Bernalillo.
Only five seniors on each team, so both should have needed experience next season. Santa Fe High losses its top running back, senior Sammy Martinez, but three other Martinez’ will be back. It also gets back freshman quarterback Luc Jaramillo and some young running backs.
The team has 10 freshmen and a dozensophomores to mix in with 12 juniors.
Capital also returns sophomore quarterback Manuel Vargas and its leading running back, sophomore Luke Padilla, who head coach Bill Moon put on the varsity his freshman year.
Junior Jasper Mares is a two-way back coming off a stellar season, as well as sophomore Dominic Martinez, who plays wide receiver and outside linebacker, and there’s junior two-way lineman Alex Medina.
Can’t forget that the Jaguars also return junior linemen Brian Gutierrez, Frank Hadley, and Jacob Miller, as well as two-way sophomore back George Munoz.
Padilla was an exception, for long-time head coach Moon, who began the program in 1987, doesn’t include freshmen on the varsity roster, which has 15 sophomores and 13 juniors.
Which means this is only the season finale, for both teams can look ahead to better days.
Santa Fe High leads the series.12-10.
The Rivalry Series:
1992 – Capital 24-0
1993 – Capital 20-0
1994 – Capital 33-16
1995 – Santa Fe 8-0
1996 – Capital 37-7
1997 – Capital 33-3
1998 – Santa Fe 39-15
1999 – Santa Fe 22-7
2000 – Santa Fe 22-20
2001 – Santa Fe 34-10
2002 – Santa Fe 67-15
2003 – Santa Fe 6-0
2004 – Santa Fe 28-15
2005 – Capital 33-16
2006 – Capital 27-12
2007 – Santa Fe 22-7
2008 – Santa Fe 50-35
2009 – Santa Fe 35-29
2010 – Santa Fe 10-0
No results – 2011-2014
2015 – Capital
2016 – Capital
2017 – Capital
SERIES – Santa Fe 12, Capital 10