Looking at the New Mexico Titans scores this season, you’d think they were a team on an EA Sports video game, being played on the junior varsity or rookie difficulty by a gamer that has a lot of free time on his hands.
Unfortunately for their opponents, this is real life, and if you’re another team anywhere around New Mexico, this is a date you’re probably not looking forward to having on your schedule.
On Saturday, the Titans improved to 10-0 on the year with a 91-6 win over the Santa Fe Sting. Through 10 games, the Titans have outscored opponents 610-33 with the majority of those points given up in a 31-21 win over the New Mexico Thunder.
“That game was really close,” Titans assistant head coach John Pennington told Developmental Football USA. “It was a 10-point spread, 31-21, but there was an onside kick at the end we ended up running back. It was closer than that. They had three broken plays total on our defense. It was a good game. They have a solid quarterback and a running back that’s definitely a stud. You have to be aware of where he’s at on the field at all times.”
Aside from the Thunder, the Titans’ second closest win was by 32 points and their third closest win was by 51 points. Do the math and eight of their 10 wins have been by at least 51 points and four of them have been by more than 70 points.
“I went and really started recruiting a lot,” Pennington said. “I’ve been on a couple of national title teams, so I know what it takes. I was recruiting, recruiting, recruiting and we ended up with a lot of athletes. Everybody is looking at our scores like we’re not playing anybody, but we really just have a tremendous amount of talent and we’re working towards being on that national level.
“We have a special group of guys and that is hard to get. It’s a group of guys that I believe can play with some really good teams in different parts of the country, whether that’s a team from Texas, Arizona, or Southern California that normally win the nationals.”
Players in all three phases of the game are responsible for piling on points for the Titans, which are led by a high-scoring offense full of veterans.
“Quarterback Jason Bray is the leader,” Pennington said. “He’s been around since 2006, he was on the 2006 Crush and he was on our 2012 championship team. Everything starts with him.”
Bray oftentimes has all day to throw behind what is a dominant and deep offensive line.
“We’ve got John McCord heading up the o-line,” Pennington said. “Jonathan Clark is just an animal at right tackle – he’s a force to be reckoned with. Flavio Lopez, he’s a force to be reckoned with. He’s our guard on the right side. Severino Quinn, he’s our center. Our whole o-line across the board is pretty nice, that’s what gives our quarterback time.”
Not only does the Titans offensive line do a tremendous job of protecting the quarterback, they also pave the way for the ground game, which is led by veteran running back Tee Wilkins.
“He’s been with the Titans for many years,” Pennington said. “He’s just an elusive, small running back, he can catch, block. He’s just a full package out of the backfield.”
On the other side of the ball, the Titans attacking defense begins with strong safety Anthony Ratliff.
“He’s a game changer, he’s the x-factor,” Pennington said. “I built that defense around him really. He’s just about as good as Rat, Aaron Brack, he’s another strong safety. We picked him up right around the start of the season. We run the two high safeties and roll different coverages. Phil Williams is another lockdown corner and Raphael Corley, he played corner at Michigan.”
At linebacker, the Titans have Eddie Villanuava and Michael Gormley flying downhill to bring the hat.
“We run a three-man front and rotate linemen,” Pennington said. “Jared Hunter, he’s a Marine. He was there with the 2012 national title team. He’s a stud that brings the hat from the outside. Brandon Garcia is the other outside backer. They can blitz they can play d-end, they’re pretty much the total package all the way across.
“John Gregory plays right side defensive end, he’s an edge setter. He’s played tight end – a bigger tight end. He played offense in the 2012 game, got in the gym, got his diet right and got more wheels. He’s definitely something to be reckoned with on that other side. Jermaine McChristensen, I’ve been around Jermaine many years, he was with us in 2012 when we beat the SoCal Coyotes in Las Vegas.
“Terrell Anyaibe played at New Mexico for four years under Rocky Long. He’s a freak, he’s like a Jovon Kearse. He looks like he’s hunting every time he comes off the outside edge.”
At this rate, it would be foolish to bet against the Titans winning the New Mexico Independent Football League. This juggernaut of a team doesn’t plan on stopping after league play this year.
“I want to win,” Pennington said. “Our expectation is to win New Mexico, win the north, play the champion of the south and I want to possibly get something going with a Colorado league. I also understand Texas always has some great competition. Overall we’re just looking to go and play.
“There’s a Rio Grande Football League in the south, we’re looking to play whoever wins that, maybe have a New Mexico State champion. The other team we’re looking to play is the Colorado Greyhawks. They’re going to have to be on that path. If we can’t beat the Greyhawks, then we don’t need to play anywhere else. We haven’t beaten them in the last two games. I think we’ve traveled up there twice so they owe us a travel game, we’ll see if we can get that coordinated and host them down here.”