A few notes from the armchair quarterback as we scrape out from this week’s much-needed one-two punch of snow storms.
• • •
The loss of Matt Barela to a torn knee ligament is a crushing blow to the St. Michael’s boys basketball team.
The senior has earned a reputation as one of the most clutch players in the state. Cool under pressure, his heroics at the end of last season’s Class AAA State Championship solidifies his place in Northern New Mexico hoops lore.
Head coach Ron Geyer said it’s not the death of Horsemen basketball, that the team will soldier on without an intuitive player who make those around him better. Replacing him isn’t possible, so the best the team can do is try to reinvent the wheel as it moves ahead.
While we’ve likely seen the last of Captain Cool on the hardwood, at least we can be grateful for what he showed us the last two years on the varsity roster. Love St. Michael’s or hate it, Barela was one of the reasons to get off the couch, buy a ticket and sit in the stands.
• • •
At least one irate fan contacted us after St. Michael’s beat Silver in the AAA football championship last weekend. Apart from the obscenities cast in our direction about comparing the Horsemen to Santa Fe High’s memorable title team in 1979, the caller lambasted Demons head coach Ray Holladay for apparently lending his support to Silver during the game.
Not that it matters, but the coach is a Silver grad and has family still living in Silver City. He played with, coached with and/or knew a number of the families who had players on this year’s roster.
Truthfully, he could be a graduate of Olympus Mons High on Mars and it shouldn’t have made a difference.
Holladay — just like anyone else from Santa Fe High or Capital — is under no obligation to root for a city rival. Doing so would undercut any notion of a true rivalry that should (but basically doesn’t) exist between the schools.
Love thy neighbor? Doubt it.
A rival coach rooting for the team down the street is laughable. Try to imagine Goddard’s Sam Jernigan pulling for Roswell or Mayfield’s Michael Bradley cheering for Las Cruces. Doesn’t happen.
If the Demons ever reach the championship game, don’t expect to see St. Michael’s head coach Joey Fernandez down on the sidelines waving a blue and gold flag. And shame on him if he does.
• • •
Big day in Albuquerque on Saturday. The seventh annual New Mexico Bowl kicks off college football’s postseason. Discounted tickets went on sale Friday. Further discounted tickets will be available just before the game.
After that it’s the latest rendition of the Lobos-Aggies rivalry in The Pit. Nationally ranked for the second straight week, it’s beginning to look more and more plausible that New Mexico will head into its Dec. 27 game at Cincinnati at 13-0.
Should that be the case, it could be a post-Christmas showdown of two undefeated teams ranked in or near the top 10.