Aug. 8—Santa Fe's own Anthony "Bones" Segura has been hired as the new football coach at Ortiz Middle School. He made the announcement on his Facebook page Saturday night.
He lauded Ortiz Principal Felicia Sena and Assistant Principal Phillip Gonzales for lending their support to his quest in landing the job.
"We are going to be hard at work this year to establish an elite academic and sports experience for Ortiz Middle School student athletes," he wrote. "Academics will be this programs TOP priority! Our student athletes will learn and establish team work, discipline, and leadership skills."
Segura grew up in Santa Fe and played football at every level, including with Capital and his stint with the semi-pro team the Santa Fe Sting.
Practice for Ortiz begins Monday.
Highlands football team picked to finish near bottom of conference
The Lobo football team was picked last in their division in the preseason media poll for the Mountain West Conference a few weeks ago. No shock there, considering the recent history of UNM's moribund program and the fact that it owned the nation's longest losing streak until winning its final two games last season.
There wasn't much love for New Mexico Highlands, either. The Cowboys were picked to finish eighth in the 10-team Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference preseason coaches' poll.
Released last week, the tabulation had perennial NCAA Division II power Colorado School of Mines in first followed closely by Colorado State-Pueblo.
Sitting just a couple spots from the very bottom was NMHU, which garnered 31 points in the poll compared to the 76 gobbled up by Mines. The only teams picked below the Cowboys were Black Hills State and Fort Lewis, the latter being the only team NMHU faced in what was a one-game "season" just a few months ago.
Adams State sat in seventh thanks, largely, to an unidentified coach voting the Grizzlies as the league's top team. The other first-place votes (worth 10 points per vote) went to Mines and CSU-Pueblo. If that one Grizzlies-waving booster had voted with his head instead of his heart, NMHU might have actually jumped into seventh in the poll.
As Highlands coach Josh Kirkland said after his team's demolition of Fort Lewis on April 26 in Las Vegas, N.M., he knew the minute he took the NMHU gig that the team would be thought of as a bottom-feeder until it proved itself a few times on the field.
So is Highlands truly the eighth-best team in the RMAC? Probably safe to say it's a little overlooked, but now's the time to start showing why.
Oh, by the way, the Cowboys' season opener is set for Sept. 4 at Fort Lewis in Durango, Colo. The home opener comes two weeks later against Colorado Mesa.
Fuego end season on 3-game win streak
In case you missed it, the season came to an end for the Santa Fe Fuego last week. The team won three of its final games to finish 27-29. The Fuego missed the playoffs, fading out of contention in the final two weeks after enduring an eight-game losing streak in mid-July to effectively end any chance of staying in the race.
The top three teams from the Mountain South Division made the postseason, which started Wednesday and continues through the middle of this month. For a Fuego fan, it's a tough pill to swallow considering they were the only team left out of the playoffs. True to Pecos League form, the playoff format changed virtually without warning. The top two teams from the Mountain North and South were slated to make the playoffs with the Pacific Division having separate playoffs. They'd have a pair of best-of-three series in the Mountain, then have the winners face off next week. The winner there would go face the Pacific champion.
Instead, Mountain South champion Tucson is now playing Bakersfield from the Pacific, leaving Alpine and Roswell — each of whom passed the Fuego in the home stretch — as the South playoff representatives. They opened their series Friday night with Roswell winning Game 1. The winner advances to face Garden City.
It almost seems a fitting end to another weird year in the Pecos League, one that gave Fuego fans a little bit of everything to keep an eye on.
Fuego's Gay wins home run title with 24
Hey, speaking of the Pecos League, congrats to Fuego first baseman Jared Gay for winning the league's home run title. The New York native, whose family lives in Albuquerque and whose two younger brothers play on the UNM football team, hit 24 dingers this season to edge teammate Parker DePasquale for the long ball honors.
DePasquale hit 23, making it four Santa Fe players who finished in the top 10 for home runs. Matt Cachora hit 14 to tie for eighth while Ryan Bernardy's 13 was good enough for 10th.
Gay finished second in the league in runs scored while he, DePasquale and Bernardy were all in the top 10 for runs batted in. Of course, with all the power came a lot of misses. Gay's 82 strikeouts were far and away the most in the league; he whiffed once every 3.4 plate appearances.