WEB EXCLUSIVE: From the Sidelines – Respect repeat for county football
Based on several pre-season rankings released earlier this month, there’s a lot of respect for Valencia County football. And the battle for District 3-5A is going to be one of the best in the state this football season.
The Albuquerque Journal does not produce a pre-season poll, but the paper does do a countdown of Metro-area high school football teams and Belen placed at No. 7 among the 23 schools in the greater Albuquerque area. The Eagles were the only county team and the only Class 5A team placed in the top 10 by the Journal.
The respect for Belen extends to Max Preps (maxpreps.com) and NM Preps (nmpreps.rivals.com).
The Eagles are ranked No. 3 in the new Class 5A by Kyle Henderson’s NMPreps website. Henderson praised Belen coach John Lerma, writing that he is “One head coach in New Mexico that doesn’t get highlighted enough…” BHS is ranked No. 4 by MaxPreps in the preseason rankings, rankings which are used by the New Mexico Activities Association when they set seedings going into the playoffs in November.
MaxPreps has Belen’s arch rivals Los Lunas ranked No. 3 despite having lost a plethora of talent from last season. NMPreps placed the Tigers at No. 4 in 5A.
Valencia clocks in at No. 5 on the NMPreps poll and No. 7 by MaxPreps. The “stacked” Jaguars were followed closely by Las Cruces’ Centennial High School, which checks in at No. 5 in the MaxPreps poll and No. 7 in NMPreps.
What that mean’s is that four of the six teams in District 3-5A are ranked in the top seven of Class 5A. Defending state champs Farmington and 2013 runners-up Roswell Goddard occupy the top spots in both polls – Farmington ranked No. 1 by NMPreps and Goddard No. 1 by MaxPreps.
By the way, Belen has what might be the toughest schedule in all of the NMAA based on the amount of teams in the pre-season top 10. The only teams not in the top 10 in the Eagles’ 12-games schedule are district foes Chaparral and Santa Teresa, which are ranked near the bottom of 5A at No. 22 and No. 23 respectively.
BHS’ opening game opponent Friday, Artesia is No. 6 or 7 depending on the poll. Roswell clocks in at No. 10 or No. 11 and Moriarty is the consensus No. 8 in Class 5A. Oh… and all three of those games are on the road. Though Belen does host Farmington and Goddard.
Los Lunas also faces Goddard and Farmington, hosting the Rockets and traveling to play the Scorpions Friday night.
And Valencia hosts Moriarty and Artesia in the pre-conference slate as well.
Should be a great season.