Artesia High School head football coach Jeremy Maupin is no stranger to playing or coaching in state championship games. He is hopeful that experience pays off as the Bulldogs seek the first trophy in nearly five years Saturday in Farmington against Piedra Vista.
Artesia (10-2), the No. 1 team in 5A plays the No. 3 Panthers (11-1) Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hutchinson Stadium.
The Bulldogs have not won a state title since 2017 and last season Maupin came close in his rookie year at Artesia’s helm.
More:Artesia Bulldogs practice for 5A title game
The Los Lunas Tigers, Maupin’s former team, defeated Artesia last season in Los Lunas for the championship trophy.
Not only does he have experience as a coach, Maupin knows the feeling of playing in a state championship game.
He quarterbacked the Bulldogs to a 42-0 win over the Silver High Fighting Colts in 2004. Maupin played for former Bulldog head coach Cooper Henderson.
“Playing with Coach Henderson was such a blessing and now being able to coach with him is amazing. He’s like a second a dad to me,” Maupin said.
Henderson coached the Bulldogs for nearly 30 years before retiring nearly seven years ago. He still remains as the athletics director of the Artesia Public Schools and braved cold and foggy weather the day before Thanksgiving assisting Maupin in preparation for Saturday’s title game.
Maupin guided the Bulldog offensive scoring in 2004 as the team put up 485 points on the scoreboard and the defense gave up 176 points.
“Our defense was really good that year,” Maupin said as the Bulldogs went 11-2 with losses to Carlsbad and Las Cruces high schools.
“The legacy here in Artesia. It’s a proud community there’s a lot of tradition and it’s really fun to be part of that,” he said.
More:Artesia routs Deming in state semifinal, will face Piedra Vista in championship
Scouting Piedra Vista
The Bulldogs and Panthers did not play in the opening round of the 5A football state championship.
Piedra Vista defeated Mayfield 42-7 in the quarterfinal and upset No. 2 Roswell last Saturday in the 5A semifinals with a 13-7 win.
The Bulldogs shutout Albuquerque Valley 50-0 in the quarterfinals and defeated Deming on the road last week in the semifinals 49-12.
Maupin said Artesia’s three phases of offensive, defense and special teams shined against the Wildcats.
“We got after those guys. We had a big turnover early in the kicking game. Our offense moved the ball pretty much the whole day. The defense caused three interceptions and a fumble recovery. Just a huge day all around and really proud of our guys’ efforts in being able to travel down there and go out and play,” he said.
The Bulldogs and Panthers won their respective district football titles.
Maupin said Piedra Vista is well coached.
“They play hard. They tackle hard. They move well. We know we’re in for a battle on Saturday,” he said.
More:Artesia controls Albuquerque Valley from start to finish to move to state semifinals
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter