AUSTIN DENTON | STAFF EDITOR
All eyes will be on Wilson Stadium Friday night if you’re a New Mexico High School football fan. It may not be state championship time yet, but there is a possibility this could be the state championship game this 2017 season. The two top-ranked teams in Class 6A, the (#1) Manzano Monarchs and the (#2) La Cueva Bears, square off to start District play in District 2. Here’s what to expect from both teams:
La Cueva Bears (6-0, 0-0 in District 2/6A)
Wins: Cibola, Cleveland, Centennial, West Mesa, Highland, Albuquerque High
Starting Quarterback: Dylan Summer, Junior
Team Outlook and Game Preview: It was a successful non-district tenure for the La Cueva Bears, winning all six games they played. The Bears defense is well recognized across the state, holding their opponents in non-district to a total of just 38 points, the most being 14 allowed against Centennial. The Bears have also been stellar on offense, the passing game working out very well for them. This has been a new twist this season that isn’t usually seen from a La Cueva offense from a historical standpoint. With passing-centric quarterback Dylan Summer running the show, it’s been working out well for them. But don’t count out RB D’Andre Williams, who can put some points up on the board for the team as well.
The keys to defeating Manzano for them is to contain Jordan Byrd, the fastest high-school athlete in the state. If he can’t find a receiver open, he will tuck that ball in, and start running with it, reading the gaps well as he goes along with it. Another key would be to overpower Manzano’s front defensive line, as they can hold blocks that are coming at them with hard strength.
Manzano Monarchs (6-0, 0-0 in District 2/6A)
Wins: Atrisco Heritage, Centennial, Cibola, Del Norte, Rio Rancho, Piedra Vista
Starting Quaterback: Jordan Byrd, Senior
Team Outlook and Game Preview: The Monarchs have impressed high school football fans across the state with the talent on that team. Whether it be their quarterback in Jordan Byrd, the fastest high school athlete in the 2017-18 year, a running core of Xavier Ivey-Saud and Alejandro Vallejos, or a strong receiving core with Andrew Erickson, Dakota Powell and Jack Blankenship, they are a tough offense to match up against. But they have yet to meet a defense like La Cueva’s.
This is what makes this match up a good one, the clash between the best offensive defensive powers in the state. With a high-scoring offense like the Monarchs and a low-scoring allowed defense like the Bears, high school fans are in for a treat.
La Cueva: Dylan Summer leads the district in total passing yards with 1,440, Reece Wilkinson leads the district in total receiving yards with 638 and Ryan McClain leads the district in sacks with six.
Manzano: Xavier Ivey-Saud leads the district in total rushing yards with 646, total points scored with 78 and total touchdowns scored with 13.
The game will take place on Friday, 10/6 at 7:00 pm at Wilson Stadium. For La Cueva students, the game is a whiteout.