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Prep football teams kick off

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By The Staff

Get ready for some football.

Las Vegas’ two prep gridiron teams are starting off this campaign against some tough competition.

Robertson and guest Portales will kick off the 2010 season at 7 p.m. Friday at Cardinal Stadium.

It’ll be the official launch of the Leroy Gonzalez era at RHS, although an argument could be made that that era began long ago. While Friday night marks Gonzalez’s debut as head coach, the Cardinals’ longtime defensive coordinator has already enjoyed ample success with the program.

Daniel Martinez is one of the better option quarterbacks in the state and will lead an offense that has much of its personnel back from a team that reached the state quarterfinals last November.

RHS rated sixth in Class 3A at the end of the regular season and drew a No. 9 preseason ranking from the New Mexico High School Coaches Association.

Among the other returning Cardinals are Johnathan Lucero, Dalan Abreu, David Coca, John Pino and Girard Maestas, to name a few.

The 2008 state champion, Portales began the year with high hopes but sank to ninth in the state polls by year’s end and lost to Hatch Valley in the ‘09 playoffs.

Mark McAfee, the Rams’ coach, has pretty good depth to work with this go-round.

Gonzalez, as fans know, was on the sideline  at Blackwater Draw in December 2006 when Robertson beat Portales 28-6 for its first state football title.

West Las Vegas also opens its season on Friday night — visiting a very good Socorro team.

The Dons are looking for more growth in head coach Mike Ulibarri’s second season at the helm. West lost several key playmakers from the ‘09 squad and will look for youngsters moving up from the improving middle school and JV programs to help fill the void.

Corey Archibeque, Jayvis Medrano, T.J. Esquibel and Martin Blea are a few of West’s key returners.

After eliminating Robertson and then Raton in last November’s playoffs, the Warriors pushed Lovington to the brink in a 28-21 loss in the 2009 state championship game; Damien Ocampo’s bunch finished ‘the regular season ranked third.

Socorro returns more than a dozen seniors.