Tomorrow night at 7 o'clock at Wilson Stadium in Albuquerque, the Las Cruces Bulldawgs will be gunning for their seventh state championship in the school's history and their fifth since 1999.
"At the end of the year, that's our main goal," junior running back J.J. Granados said. "We've been blessed to get that far, and now we have to finish the game and get our ring."
Of all the championship trophies showcased at Las Cruces High, head coach Jim Miller is responsible for four of them. After Friday night's championship game though, he would like to add a fifth state championship trophy to the display case.
"We want to win a state championship each and every year," Miller said. "I know it's hard, and you can't do it every year, but when you have the opportunity to do it, you want to take advantage of it."
Entering the 5A showdown with the Sandia, the Bulldawgs come in with an eight-game winning streak. The Matadors are 9-3 but have an offense that averages 30-plus points a game.
"We just have to play our game," junior tight end and linebacker Sam Denmark said. "We just have to keep doing what we've been doing all year, and we should be alright."
The Bulldawgs, though, are focused on winning the state's top prize. That's something they feel couldn't have happened without experiencing defeat, which they did in week three, falling to Rio Rancho 42-21.
"We hear we got big-headed and everyone was talking about us," Miller explained. "After we lost, the team responded real well."
Friday, the Bulldawgs will play their final game of the year and the biggest of their careers. Coach Miller has already built a legacy for himself in Las Cruces and is looking for his fifth title with the school. As for the players, they're looking for the chance to add their names to the school's and state's record books and leave their marks as the top dogs in the state of New Mexico.