Last season, led by tough as nails QB Tanner Ireland, Sandia posted a 9-3 record. This upcoming season, with the graduation of Ireland, Sandia will need to find a replacement at signal caller. Buying time for the Matadors to find a QB will be what looks like a solid returning defense as well as multiple talented running backs.
The Sandia defense looks very strong for this upcoming season with linebacker Seth McVey and safety Marcus Washington leading the way. McVey had a breakout junior campaign at middle backer as he registered well over 100 tackles to go with eight sacks. Getting after it in the weightroom, McVey now goes 217 while still maintaining good quicks. A key for the D and Sandia overall is the continued recovery of S/RB Marcus Washington. Last season, in the midst of a very strong campaign, Washington injured his knee. According to Washington, his recovery is going very well. Supporting McVey and Washington on the defense will be linebacker Chris Gutierrez and DBs Drew Mathson and Carlos Mora.
Offensively, experienced backs as well as returnees on the offensive line should help counteract the loss of Ireland at QB. Before getting hurt last season, Washington was posting very good numbers in the backfield and looked like one of the top backs in New Mexico. In Washington's absence, James Morehead stepped up and did a great job as he rushed for nearly ten yards a carry. Wilton Rogers and Alex Gard should supply support from the offensive line.
Last season, the three Sandia losses came at the hands of Eldorado, La Cueva and Clovis, three of the top programs in New Mexico. If the D stays solid and a QB emerges, the Matadors may overcome and improve on last year's record.