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Carlsbad High School dominant in season opening win against Artesia

Carlsbad made the most of its return to Friday night lights in New Mexico. 

The Cavemen led from start to finish against Eddy County rival, Artesia, and was impressive in beating the Bulldogs, 31-6, at Ralph Bowyer Stadium in the season opener for both teams. 

Last fall, high school football in New Mexico did not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic and teams were limited to a handful of games in the spring. But Friday night, the fans, the band, the cheerleaders and the noise associated with a high school football game was back and the energy was felt throughout the night. 

“To be back with a crowd cheering us on, our family and friends watching and just whole atmosphere was amazing,” junior quarterback Dane Naylor said. “We had the games in the spring, but it wasn’t the same thing. These Friday nights are what we play for.”

The second quarter of the 105th Eddy County War saw the Carlsbad Cavemen leading 16 to the Artesia Bulldog's 6 on Aug. 20 at Ralph Bowyer Stadium in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Defense shines

Artesia is typically one of the state’s top offensive teams, but Carlsbad controlled the line of scrimmage, limiting Artesia’s big plays and forced six turnovers. The Cavemen did not allow a second half score. 

Strong first half for Carlsbad

The Cavemen scored the first 14 points of the half and took a 14-6 lead at halftime. The Cavemen defense forced three turnovers, including two interceptions. 

Jonathan Mendez recovered an Artesia fumble at the Bulldogs’ 11, which set up a short touchdown run by Naylor in the first quarter and the tone was set for the rest of the game. 

The Carlsbad Cavemen faced the Artesia Bulldogs Aug. 21 at Ralph Bowyer Stadium in the 105th Eddy County War.

In the second quarter, Carlsbad used its running game to go up 14-0. Jesse Rodriguez scored from a yard out and he helped set it up with a 23-yard run to the three. Eli Asay also had a 13-yard run on the drive. 

Artesia with nice score before half

After struggling to find consistency on offense in the first half, the Bulldogs scored with 1:09 left in the first half when Artesia quarterback Nathan Taylor connected with wide receiver Vance Cabogason on 26-yard touchdown pass, but the point after touchdown failed.