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All four Las Cruces Public Schools high school football teams return to action this weekend, opening with the Las Cruces High School Bulldawgs, who host Volcano Vista 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, at the newly re-surfaced Field of Dreams stadium.
And at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Field of Dreams, Centennial High School, with a pre-season rank of No. 3 in Class 6A, hosts three-time defending state champion Cleveland High School from Rio Rancho, who is ranked No. 1 again in 6A. Cleveland finished last year 11-2, with one of those two losses last year comign at the hands of Centennial, who beat Cleveland on the road in the season opener 38-35.
Las Cruces’s other District 6A-3/4 team, Organ Mountain High School, plays at 7 p.m. August 18, in Albuquerque against Albuquerque High School.
Mayfield High School, ranked No. 8 in Class 5A, is also in Albuquerque, with a 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, game against Manzano High School.
Mesilla Valley Christian School, which plays in the 8-man District 2, doesn’t start its season until Friday, Sept. 8, when it too opens in Albuquerque with a 7 p.m. game against Menaul High School. The SonBlazers are led by Head Coach Doug Coyle and finished last season at 3-5.
Organ Mountain and Mayfield both enter the season with new head coaches.
Kenny Sanchez came in from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he coached Bishop Gorman High School for 11 years, including 2016, when he was named National Coach of the Year by MaxPreps. The Knights were 3-7 last season.
The new coach at Mayfield is a familiar name. Gary Bradley is the brother of Michael Bradley, who retired last year after coaching the Trojans since 2006. Of course, they are both sons of longtime Trojan Head Coach Jim Bradley.
CHS Head Coach Aaron Ocampo is in his 12th year leading the Hawks. They were 9-2 last year: 9-and made it to the 2022 state semifinals.
LCHS had a rare down year last year, finishing 2-7, but 8th-year Head Coach Mark Lopez is hoping the Bulldawgs return to the form of 2021, when they made the state semifinals.
The annual LCHS-Mayfield rivalry game this year is 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, and District 6A-3/4 play begins the following week on Sept. 22.
Joining LCHS, Centennial and OMHS in District 6A3/4 are Alamogordo, Hobbs and Carlsbad.