’Cats named All-Conference in football

Ignacio juniors Cruz Martinez (left) and Elliott Hendren express excitement after a scoring drive during action at IHS Field in the 2022 season. Hendren recently received First Team All-Southern Peaks Conference honors; Martinez earned Honorable Mention All-SPC.
Prior to kickoff against Del Norte at IHS Field, Ignacio's Zane Ross (52) receives Senior Night congratulations from head coach Alfonso 'Ponch' Garcia. Ross was recently named First Team All-Southern Peaks Conference.
Ignacio senior John Riepel (4) and junior Devante Montoya (11) lead the Bobcats onto IHS Field for a game during the 2022 season. Both Riepel and Montoya were recently named First Team All-Southern Peaks Conference.
Ignacio junior Elliott Hendren (65) congratulates senior John Riepel (4) on a successful end-zone breach during road action at Farmington, N.M., Navajo Prep. Both Hendren and Riepel were recently named First Team All-Southern Peaks Conference.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Prior to kickoff Friday evening, Aug. 19, John Riepel admitted he’d felt some proverbial butterflies internally as his day to become Ignacio’s starting quarterback – replacing the graduated Gabe Tucson – had at last come. 

“It was kind of nerve-wracking, but I was expecting it from … summer camp,” he said. “And I was like, ‘Hey, you’ve got to be a leader; you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.’ So I just winged it, tried my best at everything.” 

Week in, week out, Riepel proved to be the Bobcat for whom opposing coaches game-planned the most, but who still powered IHS to a second consecutive winning season, with five (and six total, counting their 8/19 scrimmage-game thrashing of Red Mesa, Ariz., by a 70-0 margin) victories against three defeats. 

Including a 99-yard kickoff-return touchdown and a 95-yard TD carry, Riepel tallied 16 six-pointers (14 rushing) during official 2022 action and added three two-point conversions as he accounted for 102 of IHS’ 216 points. Splitting more and more time under center with freshman heir apparent Zane Pontine as the season progressed, Riepel still slung four TD passes. For his extensive offensive – and defensive – contributions, he was recently named First Team All-Southern Peaks Conference. 

Joining him as First Teamers were junior wide receiver/defensive back/return specialist Devante Montoya (3 TD catches, 1 interception-return TD, 1 punt-return TD), junior offensive/defensive lineman Elliott Hendren and OL/DL Zane Ross. 

“Zane Ross is … a straight dog,” Riepel had said of the one-year senior. “Great lineman – he went from wide receiver to offensive line – and I’m glad he decided to stick it out, pull through and get after it … in the trenches.” 

Sophomore OL/DL Kendrick Nossaman and freshman Lincoln deKay – who saw time on both sides of the ball, including in the offensive backfield – were voted Second Team All-SPC, and junior OL/DL Cruz Martinez Honorable Mention All-SPC. 

“I love our line,” remarked Riepel. “They block, go after the (other) quarterback every single game, and I’m so proud of them for what they’ve done this year. Just got out there and had fun.” 

Centauri’s Kyle Forster was chosen Coach-of-the-Year after guiding the Falcons – including First Team All-SPC pick and Co-Offensive Player-of-the-Year Chaz Holman, a junior WR/DB – to a 5-0 SoPeaks record and 8-3 overall finish after falling 37-0 at Strasburg in the CHSAA Class 1A State Playoffs’ quarterfinal round. 

Monte Vista senior RB/LB Khegan Gunter was a First Team All-SPC selection as well as Co-Offensive POY after helping MVHS also reach the Playoffs’ quarters, when the Pirates (9-2, 4-1 SPC) fell 50-20 at Limon. Senior OL/DL Alejandro ‘Alex’ Felix received Defensive POY, as well as First Team All-Conference. 

Also named First Team were CHS’ Leighton Curtis, Blade Absmeier, Ivan Lopez, Austin Stockebrand, and Josh Polkowske, plus Monte’s DeAngelo Archuleta, Andrew Chavez, and Jonah Waggoner. Center’s Cael Ruggles, Jesus Valadez and Aaron Valadez were all named First Team, as were Del Norte’s Michael Laymon and Jace Pacheco, plus Trinidad’s Jayden Maxfield and Jesse Gutierrez. 


Centauri – Troy Huffaker, Coby Thomas, Dylan Vasquez; MVHS – Jack Noonan, Jaxon Martinez; Center – Joaquin Moreno, Chayse Bouet; DNHS – Tyler Gallegos, Cody Worz; THS – A.J. Bowman. 


Centauri – Adrian Prieto; MVHS – Addan Heredia; Center – Alexis Villagomez; DNHS – Marques Quintana; THS – David Romero. 

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