'Topper Notes: LA has homecoming work cut out for it

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By Mike Cote

Homecoming week is often a reason for the hosting football team to celebrate.
Los Alamos will have a lot to celebrate if it pulls off what would be the biggest upset in the state this season should it knock off its homecoming opponent Friday night.
The Hilltopper football team’s date with the second-ranked team in Class AAAA, the Belen Eagles, will highlight the weekend’s events. Other big contests include Los Alamos’ District 2AAAA soccer doubleheader with Santa Fe and the cross country teams’ appearance at the Albuquerque Academy Invitational.


LA has tall order for homecoming

The Hilltoppers’ cavalcade of top-5 Class AAAA teams hits its crescendo Friday night when they face off against the Belen Eagles.
The Eagles (4-0) have rolled over their opponents so far during the regular season, outscoring them by a combined 189-49, including last week’s road victory over Delta (Colo.), 51-7.
Despite the fact Belen, which has handled Los Alamos fairly easily in the teams’ recent meetings, including a 54-8 thrashing in Belen in 2009, could go into the game with a chip on its shoulder for being selected as the Hilltoppers’ homecoming opponent, it will also be coming in with a banged-up quarterback.
Eagle star playcaller, Dylan Barba, was injured in the second half of last week’s runaway victory on special teams, according to the Valencia County News-Bulletin. Barba is not expected to play Friday.
Belen will be the third ranked Class AAAA opponent Los Alamos (1-3) has faced in four weeks. Los Alamos was trounced by both third-ranked Aztec and fifth-ranked Farmington in consecutive weeks before falling last week on the road at Bloomfield.
Homecoming hasn’t been a big reason for Los Alamos to celebrate in recent years. It hasn’t won its homecoming contest since 2007.
Cross country

Hilltoppers head to Academy on high note

Virtually every year since 2000, the Class AAAA championship has pitted Los Alamos and Albuquerque Academy. This year is shaping up to be the same way.
The two teams will tangle for the third straight time to open the 2010 season Friday when Los Alamos travels to the Albuquerque Academy Invitational.
In two races this season, the girls teams have split their decisions, while the Academy boys are still the team to beat, in New Mexico and possibly even in Colorado as well.
Los Alamos’ girls won their initial race of the season at the University of New Mexico meet, then were nipped last week at the Liberty Bell Invitational, held in Littleton, Colo.
Meanwhile, Academy’s boys cruised to a decisive victory in last week’s race, but Los Alamos’ boys finished a strong third. Paced by Daniel Roybal’s top-20 finish, the Hilltoppers turned in an impressive showing against very tough regional competition at the invitation-only meet.
Roybal improved his finish at Liberty Bell, on an identical course, 37 seconds from his 2009 time.
For Los Alamos’ girls last week, Victoria Honnell also cracked the top 20 individually, helping her team to a seventh-place finish. Academy, with Julia Foster leading the way, finished two spots ahead of the Hilltoppers, garnering 173 points to Los Alamos’ 196. The total was 81 points better for Los Alamos’ girls than their 2009 team score.
Last season, Academy’s girls topped Los Alamos in three of four regular season meetings, but Los Alamos had the last laugh, wrenching the state AAAA title from the Chargers, who went in as the race favorites.
Hilltopper co-head coaches Rob and Kathy Hipwood noted that the Liberty Bell race took place in 90-degree temperatures, conditions that favored Academy.

Boys, girls continue with District 2AAAA play Saturday

With district-opening wins under their belts, both the Hilltopper boys and girls soccer teams will be in action at home Saturday.
Los Alamos will play Santa Fe in a boys-girls doubleheader at Sullivan Field. The girls game is set for 11 a.m. and the boys game will follow.
Despite their struggles, particularly on the offensive end, Los Alamos’ girls team is still a big favorite to win the 2AAAA title this year. Los Alamos’ boys are also solid favorites, although head coach Evan Gartz said Santa Fe, the new kid on the district block, is on the same competitive level as the team it’s replacing, Taos. Capital is also a solid team that Los Alamos will have to contend with.
Santa Fe’s boys haven’t put up many goals this season, but will go into Saturday’s game off a win over Class AAAA Piedra Vista.
The Demon girls, meanwhile, had won three straight prior to their meeting Wednesday against Pojoaque, the results of which hadn’t been reported as of press time.