Area volleyball teams set to open season on a positive note

VBsportsweb

By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer

As a new season of high school volleyball draws near, many teams are making the adjustments for lost players, new coaches and even a district rival.

Dana Benavidez takes over as head coach for the Tucumcari Lady Rattlers this season, replacing Lawrence Sena, who took an administrative position in another district.

Benavidez will lead a young team that lost four players to graduation, two of whom — Melissa Gardea and Cyann Armijo — were starters.

Benavidez said a strong core group of players is returning this season. Five of them are seniors and all but one were varsity starters this past year. She said the girls have been working hard to learn and adapt to her style of coaching.

Along with the six returning seniors, 25 girls have expressed interest in playing this season, Benavidez said. She explained that the Rattlers could form a C team to give players some additional floor time.

Benavidez said the girls start their season with two strong opponents, the Fort Sumner Vixens on Tuesday and the Melrose Lady Buffaloes on Thursday; both games are at home. She said the Vixens and Lady Buffs played for the 2A state championship last year, with Melrose winning the title. “It would be great to see the community come out and support the Lady Rattlers as they start their season,” Benavidez said.

Lady Rattlers Schedule
Aug. 23 Fort Sumner
Aug. 25 Melrose
Aug. 30 at Pecos, 4 p.m.
Sept. 2-3 Tucumcari Invite, TBA
Sept. 8 Logan
Sept. 13 East Mountain
Sept. 15 at Dexter, 4 p.m.
Sept. 20 Estancia
Sept. 23-24 at Santa Fe Invite
Sept. 27 at San Jon
Oct. 1 Penasco, 2 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Santa Rosa *
Oct. 15 Texico *, 2 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Clayton *
Oct. 22 Santa Rosa *, 2 p.m.
Oct. 27 Clayton *
Oct. 29 at Texico *, 2 p.m.
All games at 4:30 p.m., unless otherwise marked.
District games marked By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer

High school football returns to the area Friday with a road game for Tucumcari and home games for Logan and San Jon.

Escalate is going to be a strong challenge for the Rattlers to open the season, said Wayne Ferguson, Rattlers head coach.

Ferguson said the Lobos are the two-time defending 2A state football champions under coach Dusty Giles. He said the Rattlers have played them the previous two seasons and that the Lobos have played the Rattlers tough.

Ferguson said the Lobos lost a powerful duo on their offense being their starting quarterback and running back. He said the team has watched film on the Lobos’ scrimmage this season and he added that their new quarterback has a lot of talent.

“They did not appear to have the same size line they have in the past but you can’t read too much into that,” Ferguson said. “When you have played multiple years at the state championship level the younger players stepping up into the line are just as talented.”

The Rattlers will play at 7 p.m., at Escalante.

Friday at Escalante
Sept. 2 Desert Academy
Sept. 9 Estancia
Sept. 16 at Dexter
Sept. 23 at Fort Sumner
Sept. 30 Eunice (Homecoming)
Oct. 7 Bye week
Oct. 14 Clayton *
OCt. 21 at Santa Rosa*
Oct. 28 Texico*
Nov. 4 at Raton*
All games are at 7 p.m., district games marked with an asterisk.

8-man

The Logan High School Longhorns will start the season with a relatively unknown opponent as they play the Tatum Coyotes Friday at Logan.

“Last year our game against the Coyotes was canceled due to the weather,” said Kene Terry, Longhorns head coach.

Terry said the Coyotes also have a new coach this season and that makes it a harder to know what to expect. He said the team has watched some film on of the Coyotes’ scrimmage game and is doing its best to prepare for the season.

“All we can do is work each week on improving and come Friday night be ready to give it our all when we step out onto the field,” Terry said.

The Longhorns will play at 7 p.m., against Tatum at Logan.

Friday Tatum
Sept. 2 at Gateway Christian
Sept. 10 at Mesilla Valley Christian School, 2 p.m.
Sept. 23 Foothill
Sept. 30 at Springer*
Oct. 14 Melrose *
Oct. 21 Dora/Elida *
Oct. 28 at Mountainair *
All games are at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted and district games marked  with an asterisk.
6-Man

The first game for the San Jon Coyotes will be against a stout Vaughn Eagles team that is returning most of its players, said Bobby Gomez, Coyotes head coach.

The team has been working hard to prepare for the start of the season, Gomez said. The Coyotes will be led again by D.C. Lee at quarterback and Jacob Benavidez at running back.

Gomez said Jacob Thurman is another returning running back he expects to have an impact on the field.

“Playing against Vaughn is going to be a great test for our Coyotes,” Gomez said. “The boys are excited about their first home game and hopes the community comes out to show their support.”

The Coyotes play at 4 p.m., against Vaughn at San Jon.

Aug. 26 Vaughn  4 p.m.
Sept. 2 at Hondo 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Carrizozo (Reserve) 4 p.m.,
Sept. 15 New Mexico School for the Deaf 4 p.m.
Sept. 30 Roy* 4 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Lake Arthur* 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 at Floyd* 3 p.m.
District games marked with an asterisk.

Logan

Adjusting to the loss of two starting middle hitters and a setter is no small issue, however, the biggest adjustment weighing on the minds of the Logan Lady Longhorns is the loss of district rival Melrose.

“It is a rivalry that has produced many great matches over the years,” said Robert Young, Lady Longhorns head coach.

Young said Melrose has dropped from class 2A to 1A and Mountainair has moved into District 6 with Logan and Fort Sumner. He said the addition of Mountainair to the district will present some challenges the main being a six hour round trip bus ride for away games.

Young said the Lady Longhorns have been working hard to prepare for their season and to adjust for the spots left open by hitters Kippi Webb and Brooke Rocher and setter Bailey Hines. He said the team will have no seniors this year, but will welcome six returning players.

Young said the Lady Longhorns still have a strong blocking and attack game with the return of Karli Webb, Harley Roach and Kaylee Foote. He said Jordan Hines will be stepping in to the role as setter, a position held last year by her older sister.

Young said the team has a strong core group of juniors and sophomores that have worked together well in the past. He said there is a lot of potential for the younger players to learn and develop from the leadership of the veteran players over the next two years.

Young said the Lady Longhorns try to focus on each game and not look too far ahead but they are already committed to advancing further than they did last year. He said the Lady Longhorns season ended with a semifinals loss to Fort Sumner at the 2A state tournament in Albuquerque.

Fort Sumner lost in the championship game to Melrose.

Lady Longhorns Schedule
Aug. 25-27 Logan tournament
Sept. 2-3 at Lady Rattler tournament
Sept. 8 at Tucumcari, 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 10 at Fort Sumner tournament
Sept. 15 at Texico, 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 16-17 at Cimarron tournament
Sept. 22 Santa Rosa, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 1 at Mountainair*, 2 p.m.
Oct. 6 Fort Sumner*, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Dora*, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Fort Sumner*, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 20 Dora*, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 27 Mountainair*, 4:30 p.m.
District games marked By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer

High school football returns to the area Friday with a road game for Tucumcari and home games for Logan and San Jon.

Escalate is going to be a strong challenge for the Rattlers to open the season, said Wayne Ferguson, Rattlers head coach.

Ferguson said the Lobos are the two-time defending 2A state football champions under coach Dusty Giles. He said the Rattlers have played them the previous two seasons and that the Lobos have played the Rattlers tough.

Ferguson said the Lobos lost a powerful duo on their offense being their starting quarterback and running back. He said the team has watched film on the Lobos’ scrimmage this season and he added that their new quarterback has a lot of talent.

“They did not appear to have the same size line they have in the past but you can’t read too much into that,” Ferguson said. “When you have played multiple years at the state championship level the younger players stepping up into the line are just as talented.”

The Rattlers will play at 7 p.m., at Escalante.

Friday at Escalante
Sept. 2 Desert Academy
Sept. 9 Estancia
Sept. 16 at Dexter
Sept. 23 at Fort Sumner
Sept. 30 Eunice (Homecoming)
Oct. 7 Bye week
Oct. 14 Clayton *
OCt. 21 at Santa Rosa*
Oct. 28 Texico*
Nov. 4 at Raton*
All games are at 7 p.m., district games marked with an asterisk.

8-man

The Logan High School Longhorns will start the season with a relatively unknown opponent as they play the Tatum Coyotes Friday at Logan.

“Last year our game against the Coyotes was canceled due to the weather,” said Kene Terry, Longhorns head coach.

Terry said the Coyotes also have a new coach this season and that makes it a harder to know what to expect. He said the team has watched some film on of the Coyotes’ scrimmage game and is doing its best to prepare for the season.

“All we can do is work each week on improving and come Friday night be ready to give it our all when we step out onto the field,” Terry said.

The Longhorns will play at 7 p.m., against Tatum at Logan.

Friday Tatum
Sept. 2 at Gateway Christian
Sept. 10 at Mesilla Valley Christian School, 2 p.m.
Sept. 23 Foothill
Sept. 30 at Springer*
Oct. 14 Melrose *
Oct. 21 Dora/Elida *
Oct. 28 at Mountainair *
All games are at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted and district games marked  with an asterisk.
6-Man

The first game for the San Jon Coyotes will be against a stout Vaughn Eagles team that is returning most of its players, said Bobby Gomez, Coyotes head coach.

The team has been working hard to prepare for the start of the season, Gomez said. The Coyotes will be led again by D.C. Lee at quarterback and Jacob Benavidez at running back.

Gomez said Jacob Thurman is another returning running back he expects to have an impact on the field.

“Playing against Vaughn is going to be a great test for our Coyotes,” Gomez said. “The boys are excited about their first home game and hopes the community comes out to show their support.”

The Coyotes play at 4 p.m., against Vaughn at San Jon.

Aug. 26 Vaughn  4 p.m.
Sept. 2 at Hondo 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Carrizozo (Reserve) 4 p.m.,
Sept. 15 New Mexico School for the Deaf 4 p.m.
Sept. 30 Roy* 4 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Lake Arthur* 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 at Floyd* 3 p.m.
District games marked with an asterisk.

San Jon

The San Jon Lady Coyotes will be using this year as a rebuilding year, but at the end of the season just may surprise people, said first year head coach Jaree Elliott.

Elliot said she starts her term as head coach down two starters, Rylee Key and Riley Young. She said to add to those losses, returning sophomore Gracie Whitson is out for the season after undergoing ACL surgery.

Elliot said the Lady Coyotes will welcome back senior Selena Caldera, and sophomores Skyler Block and Morgan Becerra. She said other than the addition of Bailey Barbo, a freshman transfer from Kansas, the remaining members of the team are eighth graders.

Elliot said after a week of two-a-days and a scrimmage, she has been pleasantly surprised with how the team has developed. She said the girls are working hard to improve and will be building a strong fondation for the program next year.

“We may not set the world on fire at the beginning of the season, but we just may surprise some people at the end,” Elliot said.

This season, the Lady Coyotes will have a new team to face in District 4 1A play. The Melrose Lady Buffaloes, the 2015-2016 defending 2A state champions, have moved down to the join San Jon, Clovis Christian, Elida, Floyd and Grady.

Lady Coyotes Schedule

Sept. 1 at Vaughn, 4 p.m.
Sept. 10 Hondo Valley, 2 p.m.
Sept. 24 Floyd*, 4 p.m.
Sept. 27 Tucumcari, 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 Elida*, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 1 Clovis Christian*, 3 p.m.
Oct. 6 at Grady*, 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 8 Melrose*, 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Floyd*, 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Elida*, 4 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Clovis Christian*
Oct. 27 at Melrose*, 4:30 p.m.
District games marked with *

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