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“Our motto is ‘A New Era’,” said Las Cruces senior Ricky Clark.  “No one really talks about us, no one really talks about Cruces. It’s a new era and here we are.”

The Las Cruces Bulldawgs haven’t played in the championship game since 2016 and haven’t won it all since 2013.  They are hungry to get back on top.

“I’m excited about our group,” said head coach Mark Lopez.  “We have a high character group.  We have a lot of guys that got varsity experience last year.  I think we have nice team speed.  It’s always nice to have a quarterback returning that knows what’s going on.”

That quarterback is Marcos Lopez.  As a sophomore, he was asked to just manage the game.  This year as a junior, he is 6’1” and 195 pounds with more options.

“He’s grown, physically and mentally,” said Lopez, his coach and father.  “He can make a lot of throws he couldn’t make a year ago at this time. I think he can manage games well and take care of the ball, but he can also he can go out and win us some games this year.”

Last season the Bulldawgs were 7-5, but head coach Mark Lopez has reason for optimism this season.

“Offensively we didn’t have anyone returning on the line last year and this year we have three guys with a lot of varsity experience.  So, we’re a little bit more battled tested than we were a year ago. I’m excited about this group.”

Much of the preseason talk in the state’s largest classification is surrounding some schools north of Las Cruces.  The Bulldawgs hope to change that come November.

“The big Albuquerque teams are always looked at as ‘the big Albuquerque teams’,” said senior Austin Salas. “Down south it’s like, ‘They’re always consistent, but are they going to be contenders?’  I think we are going to answer that question as a yes, I think we are going to be contenders this year.”

“We’ll prove something for sure this year,” added Clark.  “No one’s going to expect us to be up there, but we’re going to be up there.”

Test number one is this weekend against Manzano.


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