By UTEP Zay 

We’re already going into week 5 of the high school football season around the El Paso area. We’ve seen overtime classics, high-scoring barn-burners, and the occasional shocking blowout.

Today, I’ll reveal my weekly top 10 going into week 5. There were a lot of surprising results that shook up the rankings and we have several new teams in the rankings.

Here are my top-10 rankings going into week 5:

1. Eastwood (2-1):

The Troopers were off on a bye last week following their huge win against Pebble Hills. They retain their number 1 spot. Quarterback Evan Minjarez has proven to be one of the elite QBs in El Paso, and it looks like he found his new top wideout in Rudy Garcia. Garcia already has 360 receiving yards to go along with his 3 receiving TDs. RB Max Mancilla, who shared snaps in the position last year with now-graduated Jake Chenausky, has flourished as the guy in the backfield. He already has 359 rushing yards and is averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

2. Pebble Hills (3-1):

The Spartans bounced back after their loss to Eastwood with a 49-10 dominant win against El Dorado. The emergence of RB Zereian Quarles has been huge for Pebble Hills this season. Quarles missed most of last year due to an injury, but he’s come back this season better than ever. He rushed for 190 yards on only 12 attempts and had 4 touchdowns. He adds another element to an already dangerous Pebble Hills offense that is led by UTEP commit Gael Ochoa at QB. The Spartans will have to travel to west El Paso for a matchup against a much-improved Coronado team this week.

3. Eastlake (4-0): 

Eastlake was a team that went under the radar throughout the offseason. Led by yet another stifling defense, the Falcons picked up a win over Coronado last week. QB Luke Lomeli has really taken a step up in his second year as the starter for Eastlake. He has a pair of wideouts in Junior Trotman and Ivan Acosta who have combined for over 500 yards and 5 TD’s through four games this season. The Falcons are here and will compete for a district title. They get a big game against a very good Americas squad coming off a win at Franklin.

4. Del Valle (3-1)

Del Valle sophomore Jake Fette had his coming out party against Canutillo, leading the Conquistadores to a huge win over their former district rival, 31-7. Fette went 18-of-26 and threw for over 300 yards. He also added 54 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Two-way star Jonathan Estrada caught five passes, two of them being touchdowns, and totaled 124 yards. Estrada also picked off Canutillo QB Jeremiah Knox. Del Valle was banged up in their only loss earlier this season to Pebble Hills, and outside of that game, they’ve looked great. A showdown with Chapin is on the schedule this week, in what could be one of the most intense games around the city.

Photo by Zay Galindo
Photo by Zay Galindo

5. Chapin (2-1)

The Huskies beat previously unbeaten Parkland in a high-scoring affair, coming out on top 43-36. Their opening week loss to Coronado brought up a lot of questions about Chapin, but after their win over the Matadors, most of those questions have been answered. QB Evan Rivera, who was slated to be the starter last year before an injury ended his season, has stepped in and played a couple of solid games. Having Rivera at QB has put Chapin in the position to move star Daveon Singleton around the field and it paid off. Singleton had 173 total yards and a touchdown last week. Running back Carey Wade is quickly proving to be one of the best backs in District 1-5A Division ll, ranking third in rushing yards despite having one fewer game. The Huskies have a big opportunity to put themselves on the map this week against Del Valle.

6. Montwood (2-2)

The Montwood Rams are undefeated against teams in the El Paso area. They opened up District 1-6A play with a triple overtime upset of Americas at the S.A.C. and followed that up with a dominant win over Socorro. Their high-powered offense is really starting to show up, putting up over 40 points in back-to-back games. QB Michael Southern has a trio of electric weapons to get the ball to in WR Diego Oaxaca, WR Kaleb Alvarez, and RB Izayuh Claudio. Perhaps the best player on that team, WR Gio Varela, has been out since the Rams’ loss to San Angelo Central earlier in the season. If they can get him back at some point throughout the year, Montwood could be a very dangerous squad. They have a bye this week, but a matchup against Franklin looms in a couple of weeks.

7. Americas (2-2)

The Trailblazers bounced back from their heartbreaking loss to Montwood with a big road win over Franklin. Sophmore Cam’Ron Johnson continues to impress, rushing for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He leads District 1-6A in total rushing yards this season, with 487. Their secondary could be one of the best in El Paso, and they had two INTs and 8 pass breakups last week. The Trailblazers have a huge game with playoff implications against No. 3 Eastlake this week. A win could put them in a good position for one of the four playoff spots in 1-6A.

8. Franklin (4-1)

The Cougars have struggled offensively the past couple of games, which can be attributed to major injuries to key weapons. Shay Smith is one of the best QBs in El Paso, and they got back to their winning ways with a strong victory over Socorro on Thursday, 52-24.

9. Canutillo (2-2)

Canutillo fell to No. 4 Del Valle last week but will have another opportunity to beat a district title contender against Parkland this week. Their only 2 losses are to the No. 2 and No. 4 teams in these rankings, and their tough schedule will pay off later on in district play. Replacing superstar RB LJ Martin has proved to be difficult, and the offense has struggled. But when you have a veteran starter at QB like Jeremiah Knox, you should be able to get their offense going. They get another test in Parkland this week.

10. Bel Air (4-0)

Bel Air struggled against Clint this past weekend but ended up coming out on top 44-37. They had their first real test against the Lions, as their offense showed up but their defense didn’t. Their run defense allowed over 325 rushing yards, which simply can’t happen. It’s worth noting that they had only allowed 7 points through the first three games. If they can re-tool some things on the defense, the Highlanders will compete for a district title.

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