ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – They’ve duked it out before this season: the La Cueva Bears and the Manzano Monarchs, are district rivals.
Saturday, they’ll be back at it again, but this time they’re fighting for the State Championship.
“It’s an exciting week for the [New Mexico Activities Association] and Albuquerque Public Schools. It’s the first time we’ve ever had two Albuquerque Public Schools schools matched up in the State Football Championship,” said Dusty Young with the NMAA.
Not only is it the first time two schools from the biggest district in the state are going at it for the championship, but Manzano — which opened in 1960 — has never won the championship.
“It’s awesome that the kids have an opportunity to make history,” said Manzano Head Coach Chad Adcox.
The coach has led the team through an undefeated season but knows they still have one huge test in front of them.
“The kids played really well throughout the season and we are undefeated, but, we’ll see,” said Adcox.
La Cueva has won the title all four times they’ve played in the state final.
“Our defense is our strength and their offense is their strength so it’s gonna be a good match-up between those two,” said La Cueva Head Coach Brandon Back.
At Manzano, going into Saturday’s game on their home turf at Wilson Stadium, they’re hoping it will up the ante.
“It’s really exciting. The whole atmosphere at school, it’s really energetic. People are pumped, people are talking about it the whole time,” said Manzano wide receiver Jack Blankenship.
They’d love to have a trophy for winning it all, to go next to their two for coming in second.
“It’s a big deal just for our school, for our family, for our fans. It’s been a while since we’ve been on this stage, and it’s about time to bring one home,” said football player Dakota Powell.
Wilson Stadium holds almost 6,000 people. The NMAA said it’s sold 1,500 tickets so far.
Tickets can be purchased online, or at the gate on game day.
La Cueva is asking fans to wear white, while Manzano wants everyone in purple.
The game is at 1 p.m. Saturday.