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Champion Lions to test Redbirds

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Last weekend’s gridiron results have made Friday night’s Robertson-Santa Rosa football clash even more interesting.

Robertson (1-1) found its groove with a 27-19 upset of perennial Class 3A power Lovington last Friday at Cardinal Stadium.

Then on Saturday, Santa Rosa (2-0) doubled up Albuquerque Academy 54-27 in a major road victory for the Class 2A state champion Lions. Academy had edged Trinidad (Colo.), ordinarily a competitive bunch that generally battles Raton close, 26-25 in week one.

The Lions, coached by Mario Trujillo, have won three consecutive 2A state titles. They blanked last year’s No. 2 team in the classification 28-0 to secure their most recent blue trophy last December.

Santa Rosa’s single-wing offense posed a tough challenge to Robertson last season; the Lions won 48-7 in Santa Rosa on Sept. 14, 2012.

But even if still relatively young, the Cardinals are more mature overall this season, and they got some good production from several players in the eyebrow-raising win over the Wildcats.

Playing in his first game back from injury, Dominic Lucero rushed for 153 yards on 31 carries, helping the Redbirds amass 317 total yards. Quarterback Nathan L’Esperance completed 50 percent of his passes for 143 yards, providing a measure of balance to the attack.

Across town at the Herrera Complex, the West Las Vegas Dons (1-1) hope to keep the positive vibes flowing after picking up their first win of the season, a 36-6 rout of visiting Española Valley.

West hosts defense-heavy Portales (2-0), which owns wins over Robertson and Texico by counts of 14-6 and 13-7.

Like RHS, the Dons have shown more offensive balance in recent days, getting a good passing effort from Jose Juan Montaño to complement the running game.