LAS CRUCES—Dr. Steven Sanchez, Las Cruces Public Schools Interim Superintendent, announced today that the Oñate High School varsity football team will have to forfeit four wins played this season due to violation of a rule by the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA). Sanchez said NMAA’s Executive Director Sally Marquez notified LCPS that one of the athletes on the Knights football team who played during four winning games was ineligible to participate.

Sanchez said to maintain the student’s confidentiality, the district will not disclose the basis for the ineligibility or the student’s name.

“A mistake was made and the district has taken action to address this matter. There will be no finger-pointing,” Sanchez said. “Understandably, this ruling will be heart-breaking and disappointing to the players, coaches, school administrators and all the Oñate fans. However, we will uphold the rules as we file an appeal to the NMAA.”

Ernie Viramontes, LCPS director of athletics, said the four forfeited games are as follows: Atrisco Heritage Academy of Albuquerque played on Sept. 3 (won 14-0); Sandia High of Albuquerque played on Sept. 9 (won 40-29); Gadsden High played on Sept. 23 (won 51-0); and Mayfield High played on Sept. 30 (won 31-28).

Viramontes said the wins now go to the opposing teams, leaving Oñate’s overall record as 1-6, and 1-2 in district play. Onate’s win over Carlsbad High School last Friday, Oct. 7 (50-0) is not affected by the NMAA ruling.

“Oñate has great players and coaches and our goal now is to encourage everyone to get behind these student athletes and help them move on,” Viramontes said.

Jim Schapekahm, Oñate High School principal, will meet tonight (Tues., Oct. 11) at 6:00 p.m. in the Oñate Library with parents of the athletes. He asks that parents park on the school’s east side.

“I would like the Oñate community to come together for our last few games and help our football team, coaching staff and Oñate family make a push for the playoffs during this challenge,” Schapekahm said. “We are a family, both on and off the field, and a family sticks together through the good times and the tough times. We need to support these young men now more than ever and the fans’ support and attendance at the games is necessary and appreciated.”

Oñate’s remaining district games for the season will be against Hobbs High on Friday, Oct. 21; Las Cruces High School, Oct. 28; and Centennial High School, Nov. 3, all at the Field of Dreams.

—For more information, contact Director of Athletics, Ernie Viramontes, 575.527.5812, eviramontes@lcps.net