SPARTANS PUTTING TOGETHER THEIR BEST SEASON YET
“The excitement is at an all-time high right now,” is how Bernalillo football head coach John Cobos describes the enthusiasm around the Bernalillo community. The Bernalillo football team is 4-0 for the first time in the history of the school.
“It’s definitely a different year, it’s definitely better,” said junior lineman Michael Maes. “Practices are more intense. I feel like players are more involved this year, too.”
Senior wide receiver Aron Neely agrees. “I like it, the culture is changing. We’re putting in the work to get what we deserve and it’s showing.”
“I’ve played varsity football since my eighth-grade year, so I’ve been around the culture and it’s definitely changing,” said sophomore Ayden Madrid. “It’s exciting to see smiles on people’s faces.”
“People are looking at the school as a football school now instead of basketball,” said senior Reyes Ludi-Herrera.
John Cobos took over as head coach four years ago and this work-in-progress is paying off this season.
“We’ve talked to these kids since the first week in June at the start of summer workouts that the buy-in is everything,” explained Cobos. “With 30-35 kids showing up in the summer, it says a whole lot for Bernalillo and their football program. That’s not really something that they try to do for the summer. So, each week that we’re winning they’re understanding the system we’re doing and that it works.”
What they’re doing on offense sure is working. Senior quarterback Damian Gutierrez has thrown for over 600 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s started for the Spartans since he was a freshman.
“I feel like I have a really big impact on this team just to be able to control what goes on and how everyone reacts,” said Gutierrez.
Offensively they are one of the highest scoring teams in the state. Defensively they’ve given up six points all season.
“We tell the kids all the time, in order to get respect in the state we have to go out and get it,” said Cobos. “We need to keep taking care of business and winning our football games.”
The last time Bernalillo made the postseason was 2010. Making the playoffs would mean a lot for Cobos, a former Roswell High School football player.
“It would mean the world to me and my program to where we started and where we’re at right now. But we’re not done, we have a long way to go and we’re going to keep getting better.”
The road doesn’t get easier. Bernalillo is in a six-school district with the likes of Taos, St. Pius X and Grants.