After a promising spring ball and a productive offseason of recruiting, hopes a re high this fall for the New Mexico Highlands University football program.
Year Two of the Chad Roanhaus era officially begins Saturday as Highlands players open camp with practices on campus.
NMHU will have three weeks to prepare for the start of the season. The Cowboys open Saturday, Aug. 29, at Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, Texas. After another non-conference road game at Washburn in Topeka, Kans., the team hosts Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference rival Mesa State on Sept. 12. NMHU has five home games this season.
Highlands finished 3-8 in Roanhaus’ first season at the helm but was competitive in most games, holding leads in a number of them. Three of the defeats were decided by seven points or less.
While they have brought in some notable transfers, Roanhaus and his staff have committed to building the program by signing freshmen and developing them within the system. Signing in-state student-athletes has remained important, but the recruiting net has been cast over a broad region that includes Houston, San Antonio and west Texas; Arizona; Colorado; and Nevada. NMHU’s sports information office reported the signings of 33 new players, including 19 on defense to replenish a group depleted by graduation.
Initial two-a-day practices will be held from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m.
In high school sports, the New Mexico Activities Association’s first day for official fall practice is this coming Monday, August 10. That means next week will feature a flurry of activity on prep sports complexes in Las Vegas, Mora, Wagon Mound, Pecos and the rest of the state.
Locally, prep soccer teams began workouts on Monday.
Upcoming issues of the Optic will further preview the busy fall sports schedule.
Fans can circle one big date on the calendar — Nov. 7, when Vegas Bowl takes place at Robertson’s Cardinal Stadium.