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by JEFF MATTHEWS
For The Bulletin
Some games, some years, just take on a life of their own.
The annual Las Cruces-Oñate football game hasn’t always had the spotlight of this year’s highly anticipated matchup. The two teams are both 4-0 in district and meet at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Field of Dreams. With Oñate’s win over Hobbs and Las Cruces’ dismantling of Centennial, the winner of Friday night’s game between the Dawgs and Knights has the inside track to the district title.
“It’s a special game,” said Oñate head coach Brent Jaquess. “It’s special because our kids are in a situation where they have a chance to win a district championship. That hasn’t happened over here at Oñate for a while. You’re playing for seeds and playoffs. There are a lot of ramifications on this game. This is a juiced-up game,” he said.
Las Cruces Head Coach Mark Lopez agrees.
“There is definitely a special feel in the air: that playoff-type of atmosphere. I think these last three weeks have that feel for us. We’ve got an opportunity to punch our ticket Friday night,” Lopez said.
Las Cruces is 7-1. Oñate is 6-2. Lopez and Jaquess both served as long-time assistants with the now-retired Jim Miller on the same Bulldawg staff which won its share of state championships.
“I have a lot of good friends still over there,” Jaquess said. “They’re playing good ball. We are going to be competitors for a week. We’ll be friends for life afterwards.”
You can tell both coaches were on the same successful staff. When asked about the essential elements of a win, both had similar viewpoints.
“Well, you know they manhandled Centennial
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