Photo by Matthew Metz
We take a look at the games we’re covering this week as the high school football season gets underway.
Del Valle Conquistadores @ Las Cruces Mayfield Trojans
7:00 pm kickoff, 6:45 pm pregame show, Field of Dreams, Las Cruces, New Mexico
Broadcasters: Alex Nicolas and Tony Grijalva
Channels: Del Valle https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/del-valle-conquistadores/
With a new coach and new offensive cast, Del Valle starts their tough 2019 schedule on the road against a perennial New Mexico Powerhouse. Del Valle enters 2019 having to replace all-world quarterback Raymond Montez but returns a deep and very physical defense that will be the strength of the team this season. They return seven starters on defense including defensive backs Gabe Rodriguez, Christian Lozano, and Avery Bowden. Expect Del Valle to rely on the run game as a major offensive strength early in the season as the Conquistadores replace the graduated Montez along with three of their top pass catchers from the previous two seasons. Mayfield had an interesting season opener last week at home, as they didn’t win or lose their season opener. Their game was canceled due to lightning after a delayed start which saw the Trojans force a safety and return a kick for a touchdown that would be called back due to a penalty. Stopping Mayfield’s run game will be key and difficult as returning leading rusher Mathew Riley returns and is one of the top players in his district. Del Valle will also have to try to slow down Aaron Thompson who figures to be the more physical runner of the dynamic duo. Mayfield is a very experienced team with a good offensive line and returns defensive lineman Sebastian Renteria who will anchor a very strong defensive line. Mayfield has 29 seniors including eight returning starters on defense. This will be a game that will be won in the trenches as both teams have strong running games and capable defensive units. Should be a low scoring game, and a game Del Valle needs to figure themselves out with an entirely new offense in terms of personnel.
Town Talk Sports El Paso Predicts…Mayfield by 7
#8 Canutillo Eagles @ #7 Eastlake Falcons
7:00 pm kickoff, Socorro Athletic Complex
Broadcasters: Christian Molinar and Shawn Murphy
Channels: Eastlake and Canutillo https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/eastlake-falcons/
Two teams with hopes of major improvement battle for a 1-0 start in what should be a close battle Thursday night at the SAC. Canutillo’s offensive strength will be running back Carlos Amato who should be among the city’s leaders in rushing yards this season. Amato averaged 7.4 yards per carry last season and will run behind experienced offensive lineman Christian Bernal who anchors a big and physical offensive front. Canutillo could have one of the best defensive units in their district led by defensive end Josiah Holloway and linebacker Esteban Tavera who are all-district candidates. Eastlake will have athletes all over the field on both sides of the ball, giving new head coach Ruben Rodriguez plenty of weapons to make a splash in his first year as head coach. Eastlake returns several offensive playmakers like Orion Olivas, Daine Kirtley and Anthony Donacio. The Falcons return over 80 percent of their offensive production from last season a unit in which Rodriguez managed. Defensive back Blas Compean had five interceptions as a sophomore and will try to prove he could be the best defensive back in the city this season as a junior. Two teams who figure to be in the playoff race will give fans a nice show in week one.
Town Talk Sports El Paso Predicts….Eastlake by 8
Ysleta Indians @ Jefferson Silver Foxes
6:30 pm kickoff, Silver Fox Stadium
Broadcasters: Sergio Robali and Henry Reyna
Channels: Ysleta and Jefferson https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/ysleta-indians/
Two teams who return an abundance of experience and speed square off in a battle of two schools located south of I-10. Ysleta must be the hungriest team in 2019 after winning six straight games to open the 2018 season only to lose three of their last four to fall short of a playoff berth. The Indians return 27 letterman and 12 starters including wide receivers Giovanni Martinez and Lucas Flores. Ushering a new quarterback could be a small bump in a road for an offense loaded with speed. Ysleta has five offensive players who will be three-year starters including running back Jalen Promesse. Alexis Vasquez led Ysleta in tackles last season and returns after posting six sacks and 22 tackles for loss. Jefferson returns 17 starters including athletic wide out Ian White-Torres who figures to be a major part of the Foxes’ passing game. Miguel Armendariz is one of the top linemen in District 2-5A DII and will play both ways. Running back Jonathan Plascencia is another player to keep an eye on after he posted over 300 yards rushing last season. First game jitters might be minimal for both teams with so much experience returning on each sideline. Whoever gets off to the better start will have a chance to protect a lead, turnovers will be a major factor in this one.
Town Talk Sports El Paso Predicts…Ysleta by 16
Friday, August 30th
#3 Americas Trailblazers @ #2 Eastwood Troopers
7:00 pm kickoff, 6:45 pregame show, Trooper Stadium
Broadcasters: Alex Nicolas and Tony Grijalva
Channels: Americas and Eastwood https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/eastwood-troopers/
The best game of the week features one of the city’s best 6A programs traveling to one of the city’s top 5A programs. All eyes will be on Americas running back Aaron Dumas this season as the junior ran for over 2,000 yards rushing in his first season on the varsity level. Americas also returns all-district wide receiver Ryan Acosta and future FBS prospect Evan Chislom who picked off five passes as a sophomore last season and should be another factor on offense. The Blazers might have one of the best defensive units in the city returning linebackers Peter Velarde and Christian Martinez. Eastwood returns quarterback Christian Castaneda who threw for over 3,000 yards last season, including a 591-yard output in their playoff loss to Abilene Cooper. Castaneda will welcome a new receiving core. Eastwood will have eight new starters on defense and will be tested early against one of the state’s best running backs. Nathan Carranza is one of the best defensive backs in District 1-5A DI and will anchor a young Trooper defense that will need to make plays early and often. Historically things get wild when Americas and Eastwood hook up, expect the same Friday night plus lots of points as two of the city’s best square off for East Side pride.
Town Talk Sports El Paso Predicts….Americas by 1
Midland Christian @ Chapin
7:00 pm kickoff, R.E. McKee Stadium
Broadcasters: Sergio Robali and Mark Mena
Channels: Chapin https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/chapin-huskies/
A young Chapin team faces a Midland Christian team who also saw their roster change due to graduation. Both programs will welcome new quarterbacks in their season opener. Chapin’s quarterback situation is a little clearer as Mason Standerfer takes over the reigns for Chapin. Aaron Silva returns as Chapin’s top pass catcher and one of the top returning wideouts in District 1-5A DI. MCS won seven straight games last year to start the season but went 2-2 in district play and lost in the first round of the TAPPS playoffs. A three-quarterback race for the starting spot leaves MCS with tons of questions on offense as they usher in new parts along the offensive line as well. Chapin has the homefield advantage and should use it in a win. Expect some growing pains for both teams early in the game, whoever can figure it out and play smart with a lead should pull it off.
Town Talk Sports El Paso Predicts….Chapin by 2
El Dorado Aztecs @ #6 Pebble Hills Spartans
7:00 pm kickoff, Socorro Activities Complex
Broadcasters: Christian Molinar and Ryan Adams
Channels: El Dorado and Pebble Hills https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/el-dorado-aztecs/
Pebble Hills looks locked and loaded coming off back-to-back playoff appearances, while El Dorado is looking for improvement after a one-win season. Pebble Hills returns starting quarterback Sebastian Ochoa who threw for 2,145 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also ran for nearly 600 yards and will have a downfield threat in FBS prospect Isaiah Davis who was recently offered by UTEP. Pebble Hills also returns a defensive impact player in Anthony Romero and has plenty of talent and speed in the secondary. El Dorado appears to have a strong offensive core returning and could see a major improvement in terms of points and production on offense. Dual-threat Quarterback Chris Bustillos returns and has Kris Martin and Karmelus Card as weapons in the pass game. El Dorado also expects have a strong offensive line and will need to have a running back develop to shore of their offensive attack. Pebble Hills is the clear favorite, but the Aztecs might be able to make this close if their offensive starts off on the right foot.
Town Talk Sports El Paso Predicts….Pebble Hills by 20
Austin Panthers @ Bel Air Highlanders
7:00 pm kickoff, Highlander Stadium @ Bob Savage Field
Broadcasters: Paul David Oliver and Shawn Murphy
Channels: Austin and Bel Air https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/austin-panthers/
Austin is coming off a historic 2018 season, while Bel Air welcomes a new head coach who inherited a winless program from the 2018 season. Austin, a projected playoff team out of District 2-5A DII will be led by talented running back and linebacker Will Rodriguez. Rodriguez ran for 918 yards last season and posted more than 100 tackles in his varsity debut as a sophomore. The big question for Austin is can they slow down Bel Air’s pass happy attack. Eric Scogin comes over from Parkland and has installed his air-raid offense at the Bel Air and will look to use his scheme as a key component for a turnaround. Quarterback Adrian Parsons should be a big beneficiary of Scogin’s offensive prowess. Parsons started as a sophomore last year and will be leading a talented backfield featuring running back Devyn Loray. Contrasting styles meet in a season opener than can go either way.
Town Talk Sports El Paso Predicts….Austin by 2
Coronado Thunderbirds @ #4 Andress Eagles
7:00 pm kickoff, Allan Sepkowitz Stadium
Broadcasters: Mike Tipton and Mark Mena
Channels: Coronado and Andress https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/andress-eagles/
Over the past few years when Coronado and
Andress have hooked up, the game has been won in the trenches and nothing
should change in this 2019 matchup.
Andress has two productive and disruptive defensive players in defensive
lineman Gustavo Gallardo and Kiante Liggins.
Liggins was an all-state selection in 2019, and comes into this season
as a TownTalk Sports El Paso defensive MVP candidate. Andress returns steady junior quarterback
Jeremiah Tosky who led the Eagles to the area round of the playoffs last season. Andress will have plenty of talent at the
skill positions, but the big question in week one will be their offensive line.
Coronado has to replace an abundance of defensive production but returns the
city’s top defensive back in Davis Burns.
Burns, an FBS prospect will also see time on offense and become a major
target for returning quarterback Ben Carney.
Keep eye on out on Jake Cox who will play defensive end and play tight
end of offense. Two of El Paso’s most winningest high school football programs
should give fans an old school physical game in Andress’ historic stadium.
Another close game that will come down to turnovers and special team’s execution.
Town Talk Sports El Paso Predicts…..Coronado by 1
Burges Mustangs @ #5 Parkland Matadors
7:00 pm kickoff, Matador Stadium
Broadcasters: Paul Torres and Fonzie Gonzales
Channels: Burges and Parkland https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/burges-mustangs/
Two of the city’s most recent and consistent playoff teams square off in what should be another exciting season opener. Both teams return top offensive talent and have enough returning pieces on defense to be labeled as district title contenders. In their respective districts. Parkland is led of course by quarterback Gabe Herrera who will flirt with 3,000 yards passing and number of accolades. He will have two experienced wideouts putting up high production in 2019 in Jesse Sandoval and Donta Hayes. Each have potential to rack up 1,000 yard receiving seasons. Burges returns 1,000-yard rusher Robert Hall and has two senior offensive tackles who anchor a big offensive line. Jamie Escobar starts at left tackle, and the 6’5, 320-pound lineman is committed to UTEP. Alec Marceno will make plays on defense for the Mustangs who also returns linebacker Daniel Solis. An issue with the stadium lights forced an interesting tie last year in what was a close game. Expect another close battle that is won on the final possession.
Town Talk Sports El Paso Predicts……Parkland by 2
Horizon Scorpions @ El Paso Tigers
7:00 pm kickoff, R.R. Jones Stadium
Broadcasters: Bill Coon and Andy Quintana
Channels: Horizon and El Paso https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/el-paso-tigers/
The young Horizon Scorpions travel to the inner-city to face experienced quarterback Zach Rodriguez and the El Paso Tigers. Horizon lost 28 lettermen from their 2018 playoff team and rely upon several new faces including a high number of sophomores. One sophomore to keep a watch for is running back Ernie Garcia. Offensive lineman Octavio Ornelas is another one of the talented sophomores that will lead the Scorpions in 2019. Rodriguez averaged 15.1 yards per completion last season for El Paso, but will have new targets in the passing game. El Paso’s strength will be on the defensive side led by linebackers Santiago Candelaria and Giovanni Vielma. This could be a low scoring game as both teams try to figure things out on offense. I expect El Paso’s defense to have a big game against a young Scorpion offense. There’s nothing like an El Paso Friday night at Jones Stadium.
TownTalk Sports El Paso Predicts….El Paso by 6
Rio Rancho Cleveland (1-0) @ #1 Franklin Cougars
7:00 pm kickoff, Franklin Stadium
Broadcasters: Abel Carrillo and Peter Carrillo
Channels: Franklin https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/franklin-cougars/
Franklin hosts a New Mexico state title contender as they start their campaign as defending district 1-6A champions. Franklin has several returning stars on both sides of the ball including linebacker David Powers and quarterback Danny Walther who were both all-district selections last season. Wide receiver Gabe Stonewall has received offers from New Mexico and UTEP, while slot receiver Michael Haack gives Franklin some legit weapons on offense. Stonewall is one of El Paso’s top wideouts who figures to be among the leaders in yard and touchdowns. Friday’s game will be a homecoming for Cleveland’s star running back Dorian Lewis. Lewis, a 5’9 senior, played his sophomore season at Andress where he ran for over 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns. Lewis ran for over 1,500 yards last season and was a New Mexico all-state selection. Cleveland shutout Onate last week 50-0 and will have their starting quarterback Jeff Davison back in the lineup after he missed week one. Lewis is a special, (I repeat) special player and will be hard to stop for all his 2019 opponents. Franklin is trying to prove their one of the top 6A teams in West Texas, while Cleveland is looking to get back to the state titlegame. Should be a close game with tons of fireworks. Franklin’s defense makes a play late that puts them in the win column.
TownTalk Sports El Paso Predicts….Franklin by 2
Socorro Bulldogs @ Hanks Knights
7:00 pm kickoff, Excalibur Stadium
Broadcasters: Chris Gomez and Alex Rodriguez
Channels: Socorro and Hanks https://www.towntalksportselpaso.com/socorro-bulldogs/
Socorro looks to snap a 37-game losing streak, while Hanks looks build on a playoff berth from 2018. Hanks returns El Paso’s most productive quarterback-wide receiver combo in Aaron Molina and Mykal Blanco. Blanco was one of the state’s leading receivers in 2019, and is 797 yards away from becoming El Paso’s all-time leader in receiving yards. Hanks will look to improve their defense as they return linebacker Aaron Gonzalez. Tony Hinsley is changing the culture at Socorro one game at a time, and he will have a talented quarterback in Damian Williams leading the charge. Hanks also will debut a new head coach as Jason Blair takes over the program and should have the Knights in the right direction for 2019. This one won’t be easy for Hanks. Socorro should show major improvement, but Blanco’s playmaking ability will be a major factor.
TownTalkSports El Paso Predicts…Hanks by 9
- Chaparral @ Irvin, 6:30
Irvin is young and will need several young players to step up early.
TownTalk Sports El Paso Predicts….Irvin by 4
- Silver City @ Bowie, 7 pm
Bowie has tons of speed and should be able to start the season off 1-0
TownTalkSports El Paso Predicts…Bowie by 14
- Montwood @ Los Fresnos, 6 pm
Montwood is another one of the younger teams in the city, expect their defense and Chris Ramos to bring home another home win from the Rio Grande Valley.
TownTalk Sports El Paso Predicts….Montwood by 8
- San Elizario @ Riverside, 7 pm
San Eli is a well-coached and good football team. Riverside will bring tons of renewed energy and new schemes as they open a new era under Head Coach Gary Recoder. This will be a very close ballgame.
TownTalk Sports El Paso Predicts…San Eli by 1