Artesia welcomes New Mexico football players for weekend all-star games

High school football players from all corners of New Mexico square off in the 2022 Red-Green All-Star game Saturday at Artesia’s Bulldog Bowl.

The game format features players from northern, southern, eastern and western New Mexico on the red and green teams from small and large schools.

The small school game kick’s off Saturday at noon as Kief Johnson, head coach of Ruidoso High School, coaches the red team.

Johnson guided the Warriors to the 3A state championship Thanksgiving weekend with a win over Santa Fe St. Michael’s.

More:Artesia Bulldogs and Ruidoso Warriors crowned state football champions Saturday

Johnson has three Ruidoso players on the red squad. Defensive lineman Dalton Trapp, defensive end-outside linebacker Cooper Pritchett and running back Kaden Sago.

Loving Falcon receiver Andres Cueto and tight end Amari Benavidez were named to the red roster along with Tularosa center Justin Porter.

West Las Vegas head coach Adrian Gonzales leads the green team, and two Ruidoso players are on the squad with inside linebacker Gavon Hall and offensive center Enjady Reid.

The Warriors defeated West Las Vegas in the second round of the 3A playoffs 52-14.

More:Ruidoso and Artesia head north for football state title glory Saturday

The large school game kick’s off at 3 p.m. and Eddy County is represented on both squads.

Artesia’s Payton Deans and Gage Donaghe are on the red squads defensive team. Both played a pivotal role in the Bulldogs’ win over Farmington Piedra Vista Nov. 19 in the 5A state championship game.

Artesia defeated the Panthers 27-14 in Farmington for their first state title in nearly five years and their 31st overall.

The Carlsbad Cavemen have one player on the red team. Running back Eli Asay was the main offensive threat during the past season.

He carried the football 200 times and gained 1,548 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. Asay also caught eight passes for 207 yards and scored two touchdowns through the air.

The red team is coached by Albuquerque La Cueva head coach Brandon Beck. The Bears lost to Rio Rancho Cleveland 75-61 in the 6A state title game Thanksgiving weekend.

The Cavemen landed two players on the green team coached by Chad Wallin of Albuquerque Volcano Vista.

Inside linebacker Saul Ruiz and defensive end-linebacker DJ Moore are representing Carlsbad on the green squad.

More:Cavemen, Cavegirls closing excellent seasons

Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Carlsbad Current-Argus: Artesia hosts red green all-star high school football game