Yodice on preparatory football: the game concocted in August delivers for the centenary


Amid all the madness, it was largely the silence that surrounded Aaron Ocampo on Thursday night.

At the moment of truth for the Ocampo Centennial Hawks, a quarter of the 14-yard Las Cruces and Centennial line behind 41-35 at the Field of Dreams, Ocampo, the Hawks head coach, knew what play he wanted. to manage.

It was something Ocampo added to Centennial’s playbook the first week of August. And now, with the District 3-6A title likely on the line, Ocampo was ready to pull the trigger.

But since he pitched the idea during a downtime, there wasn’t much feedback from his assistants.

“It was silent,” Ocampo said on Friday afternoon. “I’m like ‘Come on guys, what do you think?’ “

What happened after the time out resulted in what was easily the Game of the Year (supplanting, in my mind, that crazy Clovis-Albuquerque High finish from several weeks ago) and, in the circumstances, probably the return of the year.

On that fourth try, Centennial quarterback Ian Lopez, with a shotgun, passed the baton to running back Mikah Gutierrez, who began to move to his right. He threw it at receiver Isaiah Abeyta, who had returned to training.

Meanwhile, Lopez has slipped to the left, uncovered and seemingly unnoticed. Abeyta, with his gloved right hand, rose to his feet and landed a 14-yard touchdown pass to open Lopez with 14 seconds left to tie the 41-all game. With Johnathan Umphress’ PAT, Centennial scored an unforgettable 42-41 victory.

And so capped Centennial’s epic 41-14 comeback midway through the third quarter, and a victory that puts the Hawks close to winning the 3-6A title and a first-round playoff pass.

For the former Manzano coach who has been involved in mind-blowing finishes throughout his career, many with the Monarchs, including a few at Centennial, this one too deserves a memory burn forever.

“Each moment is in some way unique,” ​​he said. “And they’re all fun.”

THE SILVER LINING: Few of the football schools in New Mexico seem as isolated as the Silver Colts.

The Colts, a Class 4A program, had to be placed several years ago in a district with a handful of 5A schools as there were no other 4A schools for them to play near Silver City .

This season, Silver finds himself in a 4A district that includes Lovington, Portales and Ruidoso, making it the largest football district in the state. Lovington drove about 720 miles round trip on Friday to play Silver City. The Colts will travel around 800 miles next week to play Portales.

“Honestly, I think we just learned to play with the punches,” said first-year Silver coach Jerome Ortiz. “We were placed in one of the toughest neighborhoods I have ever seen, and even if I was Lovington coach, Portales coach or Ruidoso coach, I would put all of us. four in the best teams in 4A. It’s crazy.”

Ruidoso is the closest to Silver City, approximately 235 miles.

Silver’s location, however, is what makes the Colts saga so different.

“The best thing we’ve all found (in the district) is a neutral site, but it takes money away from your school,” Ortiz said. “It takes away the advantage of having a home game. It’s not fair to either team.

It is not yet clear how Silver will be placed for the next two-year realignment and classification block. This will be known in early December.

ACT OF BALANCE: Cibola second-year catcher Marcus Wilson’s plate was full this fall.

He’s been an important receiving weapon in the Cougars’ passing game, but he also plays basketball for ABC Prep, a new local academy. To that end, Wilson is bypassing his 2021-22 high school basketball season at Cibola to play ABC Prep.

Many days, the 6-foot-3 combo guard finishes soccer training in Cibola before heading to the gym.

“The most important thing is to maintain the strength and make sure that I don’t hurt myself,” he said.

As to why he is skipping a season of hoops at Cibola, Wilson said: “Because I thought it was better for me, the competition… is going to be great, to see where I am as a basketball player. -ball. “

It has been a tough 4-4 season for the Cougars, losing to the top three 6A teams in the coaching poll – Cleveland, Rio Rancho and La Cueva – plus 5A Los Lunas power.

“What people don’t understand,” he said after a loss to Cleveland, “is that our football team is suffering from injuries. Hopefully in these next two games we will turn things around.”

THAT AND THAT: At halftime of the October 28 showdown between St. Pius and the Albuquerque Academy in Nusenda Community, the three mayoral candidates of Albuquerque – Tim Keller, Manny Gonzales and Eddy Aragon – are expected to participate in a punt, pass and kick competition. Keller and Aragon are graduates of Saint-Pie. Gonzales had three children who attended and graduated from St. Pius.


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