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Sep. 25—Professor Y. was forced into hiatus in the spring, as the pandemic reduced last football season to a month-long sprint and thus negated any need for a midseason report card.

But we are back after a two-year absence to assign midterm grades to the 24 football-playing schools in the metro area.

Grading, as has been my practice, will be done on a scale. Nothing lower than a C-minus. And the usual reminder that each school’s grade exists in a bubble.

ALBUQUERQUE ACADEMY (5-1): So much to like about the Chargers, who have enjoyed one of the best first halves to any football season in the private school’s history. There is a road loss at Bloomfield, no shame there. An intriguing team to watch over the second half. GRADE: A-minus

ALBUQUERQUE HIGH (2-3): Bulldogs’ first half has been disrupted by two opponents having to cancel on them, Highland and Manzano. AHS has been though a lot. GRADE: B-minus

ATRISCO HERITAGE ACADEMY (3-2): Two of the three wins were forfeited to them, although Jags have played reasonably well the last two weeks. GRADE: B-minus

BELEN (3-2): Eagles and new coach Andrew McCraw are surging, having won three straight. Belen may be the second-best team in its district, behind only Los Lunas, and this group should be in the mix for a postseason bid. GRADE: B

BERNALILLO (4-2): Spartans on a two-game skid, both low-scoring losses to Moriarty and Taos. Bernalillo took care of nearly all its business in the first half; the second half will be demonstrably tougher. GRADE: B-minus

CIBOLA (3-2): Professor Y’s alma mater has been a confounding group (to my eyes, anyway). Cougars have shown flashes of excellent football, but there also have been moments of self-implosion to impede progress, like in last week’s loss at Los Lunas. GRADE: B

CLEVELAND (5-0): Plenty of new faces, but the same old results for the Storm, which hasn’t lost a game since the 2019 season. Overall strength of schedule gives Cleveland status as the metro valedictorian at the midway point. GRADE: A

DEL NORTE (1-4): It’s been a struggle for the young Knights through the first half, a shutout win over Rio Grande aside. GRADE: C

ELDORADO (4-2): Eagles are grinding it out, that’s for sure. It’s not usually fancy, but Eldorado’s running game and defense are keeping things going. Burnt orange seem playoff-bound, from this keyboard. GRADE: B

HIGHLAND (1-4): This record includes two forfeit losses, so it’s a little more difficult to grade the Hornets than most teams. In fact, this may be the most difficult team to grade in our classroom of 24. GRADE: B-minus

HOPE CHRISTIAN (3-3): Professor Y. admires the Huskies, who go out and take on a demanding schedule by choice. That has paid off in some ways and has been penalizing in others. GRADE: B-minus

LA CUEVA (5-1): Bears had one horrible, dreadful night against Rio Rancho, but otherwise the Bears are going about their business and getting healthy in the process. Definitely the District 2-6A favorite here. GRADE: B

LOS LUNAS (6-0): Are the Tigers the best team in Class 5A? Maybe. They’ve certainly made their case over the last three games. This group is strong in all three phases and ought to be a factor deep into November. GRADE: A

MANZANO (0-4): I truly feel for new Monarchs coach Stephen Johnston, who has had so many things go wrong in the first half of the season (missing officials, weather postponements, COVID), much of it out of their control. GRADE: C

MENAUL (2-2): Panthers shape up as possibly the favorites to win their district; both their losses came to quality teams. GRADE: B

MORIARTY (2-2): The Pintos have had to cancel two games because of COVID, but when they play, they’ve been extremely competitive. Definitely on the playoff watch. GRADE: B

RIO GRANDE (0-5): Professor Y. feels for the Ravens, who have endured an extremely difficult first half. GRADE: C-minus

RIO RANCHO (4-0): The Rams have been a veritable sledgehammer in their four wins, and statistically, Rio Rancho has been perhaps the most dominant team in New Mexico on both sides of the ball, outscoring its four opponents 201-7. For now, the Rams have to settle for salutatorian status. GRADE: A

SANDIA (1-4): Not much going right for the Matadors at the moment, as they’ve lost four in a row after opening with a win against Valley. Good news is, a strong finish could get Sandia into the postseason. GRADE: C

ST. PIUS (4-2): Led by metro MVP candidate Marco Ybarra, there is no question that the metro area’s most consistently entertaining team is the Sartans, who seemingly go down to the wire every week. They’re connecting more than they’re swinging and missing. GRADE: B

VALENCIA (4-2): These Jaguars are the pleasant surprise of the first half of the season in the metro area. They backed up one strong victory against Portales two weeks ago with an even better one, toppling No. 1 Bloomfield on Friday. GRADE: B-plus

VALLEY (1-4): Despite the won-loss record, I believe — perhaps to my detriment; we’ll see — that the Vikings have a shot to contend (primarily with Belen, I would imagine) for second place in their district behind Los Lunas. GRADE: C-plus

VOLCANO VISTA (3-2): One of the interesting storylines to follow in the second half —can the Hawks finish top-three in their district, which would virtually guarantee a playoff bid in November? Top-four will likely get the job done, too. GRADE: B

WEST MESA (2-3): The momentum from the spring didn’t quite carry over to the fall the way I thought it might, and the Mustangs started slowly with three lopsided losses. Won their last two, however, leading into district. GRADE: C-plus

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