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Home | Tag Archives: montwood

Tag Archives: montwood

Socorro ISD offers free tax preparation services at district high schools

Tax season is here, and students in the Socorro Independent School District are set to help community members file free of charge.

SISD students, with the help of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, will offer tax preparation services from Feb. 3 through April 15 at Americas, Eastlake, Socorro, Montwood and Pebble Hills high schools.

To receive services, taxpayers with an annual income of $56,000 or less can show up to one of the sites from 4:30 to 7 p.m. to file their 1040 EZ, 1040A and 1040 forms. The process for a typical return takes about 30 minutes.

Taxpayers who are disabled, elderly or limited English speakers who make above the maximum income may still be assisted in their tax preparations.

Individuals should take a photo identification card, original social security card for everyone listed in the income tax return, W-2 wage statements for the 2019 year, 1099-SSA, 1099-R and 1099-G, work expenses, 1095 health coverage, direct deposit information, the 1098 for student loans, proof of child dependent care expenses, and property tax statements.

If filing joinly, both individuals must be present.

The students are certified for basic preparations and advanced preparations for self-employment and retirement.

“We have a lot of repeat student volunteers because they enjoy doing this,” said Christopher Nwihim, business academy coordinator at Pebble Hills High School. “They enjoy the challenge and want to assist the community, so the feedback has been nothing but positive.”

SISD income tax preparation sites include:

Americas High School, 12101 Pellicano Dr.

Feb. 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25 and 27

March 3, 5, 24, 26, and 31

April 2, 7, 9, 14 and 15


Socorro High School, 10150 Alameda Dr.

Feb. 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24 and 26

March 2, 4, 25 and 30

April 1, 6, 8, 13 and 15

Pebble Hills High School, 14400 Pebble Hills Blvd

Feb. 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24 and 27

March 2, 5, 26 and 30

April 2, 6, 9, 13 and 15


Montwood High School, 12000 Montwood Dr.

Feb. 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25 and 27

March 3, 5, 24, 26 and 31

April 2, 7, 9, 14 and 15

Eastlake High School, 13000 Emerald Pass

Feb. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26

March 3, 4, 24, 25 and 31

April 1, 7, 8, 14 and 15

El Dorado High School, 12401 Edgemere Blvd

Feb. 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24 and 26

March 2, 4, 25 and 30

April 1, 6, 8, 13 and 15

Montwood earns top honors at UIL BEST robotics competition

Socorro Independent School District students showcased their talent and knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at the 2019 UIL BEST Robotics competition.

William D. Slider Middle School and Montwood, Americas, Eastlake and El Dorado high schools participated in the recent competition.

“Our students did extremely well this year,” said Veronica De Avila, career and technical education facilitator. “Students were tasked with finding a solution to a real life natural disaster where they had to use their robots to repair electrical lines and supply electricity to an area.”

From the 24 El Paso and New Mexico teams that competed, Montwood won the overall prize. El Dorado and Slider also took home awards for their engineering notebook and exhibit.

The Rams, who are now advancing to the state contest, won first place in the UIL team category, first place in the marketing presentation, and first place for their engineering notebook. The Rams also won two second place awards for their robotics game performance and the coveted BEST Award.

“Our team has come a long way from four years ago,” said Jesus Hernandez, a senior and Montwood robotics president. “We have worked very hard to come up with better plans on how we approach things, and to see it all work out is an amazing experience. I am looking forward to seeing how we fare against other Texas and New Mexico area teams at state. I have high expectations.”

Slider won second place for their engineering notebook, which is a comprehensive report where students document potential solutions, their design process and strategies they employ.

“We are extremely proud of our students,” said Sophia Benavidez, Slider co-coach and team mentor. “They did really well and had to go up against high school and early college students at this competition. They produced nothing but quality work. By the time they get to high school they will be phenomenal.”

El Dorado won third place for best team exhibit, which is the visual display of the project. The Aztecs also placed third for the interview, a category in which students share knowledge and understanding of their work.

“Competing at BEST was a good experience,” said Julissa Artiaga, a senior at El Dorado. “When you’re in robotics you have fun and build a family. Students should join because there is something for everyone, like marketing, programming and team spirit. It teaches you professionalism, life lessons, and the importance of working as a team.”

TxDoT Talks Project Completion Timelines; Dates for New Central, East Projects

Drivers in West El Paso may be tired of the orange barrels, but come 2019 much of that construction will be wrapping up and new projects will be underway in Central and East El Paso.

TxDOT’s GO10 project is one of the biggest drivers are most familiar with.

The $158 million undertaking started in April 2015 and aims to improve traffic flow, vehicle capacity, and safety along the I-10 corridor between North Mesa Street and Executive Center Boulevard.

In 2018, significant milestones included traffic switches on North Mesa Street and Sunland Park Drive, and new high-speed connections to the Border West Expressway project via direct connector ramps between I-10 and Paisano Drive (US 85).

The first quarter of 2019 will result in traffic shifts from the collector-distributor lanes to newly paved main lanes of I-10 between North Mesa Street and Resler Drive. Drivers traveling eastbound may expect to see the shift early January.

Drivers traveling westbound may expect to see the shift in their route late January.

Late January/early February will bring the permanent closure of the westbound Resler exit ramp. The new Resler exit, which will be accessible from the collector distributor lanes, will open by April.

Drivers who use North Mesa will see the final configuration of the interchange, complete with turnarounds and new pavement between Remcon and Osborne, by late February/early March. Soon after, at the end of March, the Sunland Park/I-10 interchange will be finished.

The Border West Expressway is scheduled to open in 2019. The project will provide an alternate route for I-10 and completes the loop around the city. It’s located west of downtown El Paso, south of I-10 and extends approximately 7.4 miles from Racetrack Drive near Doniphan Road and New Mexico 273 East to US 54, to one mile east of Park Street, near US-54.

Work is scheduled to be complete by the end of summer 2019 and includes a one mile long bridge that runs along the US Mexico border and straddles the border fence.

Drivers benefitted from multiple milestones in 2018 including the opening of the Paisano connectors from downtown to Cesar E. Chavez Border Highway; new westbound Doniphan lanes and a new Racetrack/Doniphan intersection; a new connector to McNutt and the completion of the installation of 1,173 girders on the project.

Projected milestones for first quarter 2019 include the opening of the Delta bridges (vehicle and pedestrian) that will provide access over railroad tracks near the Bowie area; the completion of the construction of nearly one million square feet of walls on the project and the pouring of the last bridge deck on the expressway. There are 35 bridges on the project totaling 1.4 million square feet.

In East El Paso the Braided Ramps project changed ramp configurations on I-10 near the Cielo Vista Mall/Fountains at Farah shopping areas. The project, which started in January, resulted in new Hawkins eastbound and westbound exits and half of the Braided Ramp (Viscount westbound entrance ramp) in 2018.

Drivers will see a new Hawkins eastbound on ramp, widening on I-10 and the second half of the Braided Ramp open in the first quarter of 2019

The project also includes: frontage road improvements; intersection improvements at Airway Boulevard, Hawkins Boulevard, and Viscount Boulevard; new pavement markings, signs, illumination and computerized transportation management system.

TxDOT’s US 54 Widening and Illumination project started in November of 2017 and is expected to be complete by fall 2019.

The $35 million dollar project stretches from Hondo Pass to Loop 375/ Transmountain.  Once complete, each side of US 54 in those limits will have an added lane, high mast illumination and turnarounds at Hondo Pass Avenue, Diana Drive, and at Loop 375 Transmountain.

To improve safety in the area, the project will also reverse the existing on/off ramps in order to allow for traffic to merge on the access roads instead of the main lanes.  Pedestrians and residents will also enjoy a 2-mile shared use path that will be constructed northbound from Hondo Pass to Transmountain.

End of year milestones include the opening of the Hondo Pass turnaround, new Transmountain ramps, and the opening of the Diana underpass post construction to widen the bridge.

First quarter 2019 goals include the switching of traffic on US 54 main lanes, the completion of the shared use path, and shoulder work for ramp tie-ins.

The New Year will bring new projects in Central and East El Paso.

FM659-Montwood & Zaragoza- Operational Improvements include grading, concrete pavement, retaining wall modification, storm sewer system, retention ponds, illumination, signing, striping, signalization and landscaping. This project will be the first in El Paso, and second in the state, to utilize pre-cast concrete panels.

Pre-work started in November and the estimated completion date is May 2020.

Montana Avenue improvements will widen US 62/180 (Montana Avenue) to three controlled-access main lanes in each direction, three frontage road lanes in each direction from Global Reach Drive to Loop 375, and two frontage road lanes in each direction from SL 375 to FM 659 (N. Zaragoza Road).

The project will also include the construction of a shared-use path, bike lane, sidewalks, and landscaping. In a future phase, two direct connector ramps will be constructed at US 62/180 (Montana Avenue) and Global Reach Drive, and four direct connector ramps would be constructed at the US 62/180 (Montana Avenue) and SL 375.

The project is expected to start in early spring and last two and a half years.

The I-10 Connect Project is the convergence of US-54 and I-10 in El Paso County and extends from I-10 to Loop 375 (César Chávez Border Highway). It will provide access to the Bridge of the Americas (BOTA) Port of Entry.

The project  consists of constructing direct connectors, ramps, auxiliary lanes, and widening existing ramps and direct connectors between I-10, I-110, United States Highway (US) 54, and Loop 375 (Cesar Chavez Border Highway). The project will improve mobility and address congestion on the existing roadway network.

Work on the project is expected to start in February and be completed in 2021.

The 2.4-mile long Loop 375 Frontage Roads Configuration project is intended to improve mobility and reduce congestion by extending frontage roads across the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) and reconfiguring ramps.

The existing Loop 375 frontage roads generally consist of three lanes in each direction, with two 14-foot-wide lanes and one 12-foot-wide lane. The proposed improvements would extend the frontage roads over the UPRR just north of the Alameda Avenue (State Highway [SH] 20) and Loop 375 intersections and reconfigure ramps in both the north and southbound directions between FM 76 and the Zaragoza Port of Entry. Construction is slated to start in early spring and last about 18 months.

The Braided Ramps, Phase II will start January 3 and is expected to be complete by Thanksgiving of 2019. It runs on I-10 from Airway to Viscount and focuses on operational improvements to include grading, paving, utility relocations, illumination, etc.

Phase II is more focused on the eastbound frontage road. There are proposed widenings at Airway and at Hawkins, and plans to rebuild/extend new ramps at the Viscount exit and Hawkins entrance ramps. The project also widens the Viscount right turn to Gateway Boulevard West. No work is being done in front of Cielo Vista with this project.

Coordination with the current phase of the Braided Ramps is occurring for as little disruption as possible to traffic patterns.

In the rural area project progress in 2018 included the completion of the US 90 project. The 20 mile-long project entailed the full depth rehabilitation of US 90 in all of Jeff Davis County from the Culberson county line to the Presidio county line.

Before the construction work, there was no guardrail. Now every structure is protected and the stretch of road has new signing and delineation.

In Presidio, construction began on the new international bridge in early 2018. Completion is expected in late 2019.

SISD, Project Vida Team Up, Earn Grant to Provide Behavioral Health Services at Schools

The Socorro Independent School District and Project Vida Health Center recently launched a Community Mental Health Grant Program in three high schools and their feeder campuses.

“We are honored to be working with Project Vida Health Center and humbled to be the first school district in the region to reap the benefits of this grant and expand the services to hundreds of students in our schools,” said SISD Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D.

“With this program, we are working together to listen to our children, to watch over them daily, to give them help right on the spot, or to be able to direct them to assistance with other agencies, if necessary.”

The program has been implemented through the Community Mental Health Grant, an $800,000 award donated to the health center from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The five-year grant is the only one of its kind to be awarded in the El Paso region and aims to eliminate barriers for students and families to receive behavioral health services and provide easy access to services from Project Vida Health Center at the schools.

The program serves students at Montwood, Pebble Hills and Socorro high schools and will serve the feeder schools in those areas, as well. The program started last year with successful implementation of services by Project Vida Health Center at Eastlake High School and Desert Wind School.

As part of the district’s proactive commitment to Keep SISD Safe, the goal is to expand the Community Mental Health Grant Program services to all high schools and feeder areas in the district.

Tammi Mackeben, SISD’s guidance and counseling director, said it is highly beneficial and important to have access to the behavioral health services directly on campuses.

“There can be many barriers to our students’ educational learning and one of those is their emotional health,” Mackeben said. “So, providing a service in our schools helps to make that barrier a little bit smaller.”

Along with Dr. Espinoza and Mackeben, Project Vida Health Center leaders, other social and emotional health partners, and SISD administrators, principals, counselors and staff attended a special ceremony at Pebble Hills High School to celebrate the program launch.

“The fact that Socorro ISD openly embraced this initiative says a lot about the district,” said Aida Ponce, chief wellness and outreach officer for Project Vida. “The district really wants to help students’ wellness and well-being. We see that there is a necessity to address that and that is why we started this program.”

Carmen Crosse, SISD’s assistant superintendent of secondary education, said the district does not shy away from things like emotional health.

“We know there is a need,” Crosse said. “We want to help our students. This program is about supporting our kids at all levels.”

The Community Mental Health Grant Program is supervised by a project manager and project director and promoted and sustained by an in-school outreach facilitator. A Project Vida Health Center navigator provides students and their families access to behavioral health services as needed from Project Vida Health Center or other community agencies.

The innovative program gives counselors more support to provide early intervention access to behavioral health services for students and families. The grant also allows more students in Team SISD to benefit from mental health services with ease and convenience.

“We know that if our students don’t feel safe emotionally, it is very difficult for them to perform academically,” Mackeben said. “So, providing this in the school makes it so students don’t have to leave school for these services. The can get these services right here on their campuses.”

Pebble Hills Principal Melissa Parham knows the importance of making sure students have overall good health to succeed.

“We will continue to watch our kids, watch for signs,” Parham said. “Now, we can get them the help they may need here. Honestly, we have hit the jackpot with this program.”

The programs were announced in October.  To view a gallery of the event, click here.

Montwood, Pebble Hills Bands Advance to State Championships, Hanks Wins ToB

It was one of the busiest weekends yet for El Paso bands, with three separate contests taking place on Saturday. The end result was some great finishes for our local groups.

The first contest of the weekend was the 4-A Area contest in Lubbock. Mountain View and Clint represented El Paso, but neither band was able to advance past the preliminary round.

The largest contest of the season was simultaneously happening in Las Cruces. The 41st annual Tournament of Bands took place with some outstanding results for our local groups.28 bands took the field in 4 classes with the following results.

In preliminary Class B Awards, Irvin won Outstanding Music Execution, Burges won Outstanding Percussion, Alamogordo won Best colorguard, and Jeff/Silva won the Drum Major award. Riverside finished third, Irvin finished second, and Alamogordo finished in first place.

In preliminary Class A , Eastlake High School took Music Execution, Percussion, and Colorguard, while Parkland High School took home the Drum Major award. Top finishers were Las Cruces High School in third, Bel Air in second, and Eastlake in the top spot.

In preliminary Class AA, Hanks swept all captions. Cleveland High School from Rio Rancho, New Mexico, came in third, while Onate finished second and Hanks took the top spot.

The 10 bands advancing to finals were Albuquerque Eldorado, Las Cruces, Cleveland, Del Valle, Eastwood, Eastlake, Horizon, Onate, Bel Air, and Hanks High Schools.

Hanks High School ended the night as Grand Champions with their show ‘Pocket Full of Poseys.’ Other finalist finishes included Eastlake in second place, with Onate High School from Las Cruces in third and Bel Air High School finishing fourth. Cleveland was in 5th place, followed by Horizon High in 6th, Eastwood in 7th, and Del Valle in 8th. Las Cruces High finished 9th and Albuquerque Eldorao finished 10th.

Perhaps the biggest news of the days is El Paso has both the advancing bands from the Area A 6-A marching band contest. 14 bands competed in prelims, with seven bands advancing to finals. El Paso bands in finals included Americas, Coronado, Montwood, and Pebble Hills.

At the end of the second and final round of competition, Pebble Hills came in first, followed closely by Montwood. These two bands, both from the Socorro ISD, will now travel to San Antonio to represent West Texas at the State marching band contest.

Prelims for the 6-A contest will be held in the Alamodome on Monday, November 5, with the finals round taking place on Tuesday, November 6.

Directors of the Pebble Hills Spartan band are Maximo Sierra, Raul Chavira, Daniel Hunt, and Cecil Crabtree.

The Montwood “Mean Green” band is under the direction of Beto Pererz, Roman Lechuga, and Caitlyn Colette.


Graphic courtesy Musical Notes- The Blog


Author – Lorraine Kubala

The complete schedule can be viewed on the ‘Musical Notes- The Blog’ page on Facebook.

Eastlake, Montwood Receive TEA T-STEM Designation, Planning Year Approval for 2018-19

Eastlake and Montwood high schools have received the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) application planning year approval and designation, respectively, by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for the 2018-19 school year.

T-STEM Academies are rigorous secondary schools focusing on improving instruction and academic performance in science and mathematics-related subjects. They increase the number of students who study and enter STEM careers.

“We are excited to have been awarded the T-STEM designation and planning year approval at Montwood and Eastlake High School,” said Carmen Crosse, assistant superintendent of secondary education. “The innovative instruction and support our students will receive through these programs is another endless opportunity they can benefit from.”

This is the first year Eastlake High School receives the planning year approval for its computer science program.  Eastlake’s computer science T-STEM Academy will engage in a year of planning with TEA-selected technical assistance providers to meet the design elements and requirements in the T-STEM blueprint.

Upon successful completion of the planning year, the school will be eligible to apply for the provisional designation in 2019-20.

“Receiving the T-STEM application planning year approval from TEA is truly an honor for our campus,” said Gilbert Martinez, principal at Eastlake High School. “We are very excited for students and teachers. Our computer science classes are a prime example of extending the most opportunities for all students in Socorro ISD as a T-STEM school.”

Montwood’s Synergi4 Academy has earned the designation since 2014.

“We are excited to continue providing our Synergi4 biomedical and engineering students with the great opportunities that come from being a TEA T-STEM designated campus,” said Carlos Guerra, Montwood principal. “We are happy to continue making Montwood High School and Team SISD the best place to be.”

T-STEM academies have access to professional development, receive technical assistance, and participate in the network of T-STEM Academies. Students can receive a high school diploma while earning college credit, they also can complete industry certifications and credentials.

T-STEM campuses are designated based on a rigorous designation process, according to the TEA website. Once a campus is designated, professional development and technical assistance are provided to designated T-STEM academies to serve as demonstration schools and learning labs.

Designated academies showcase innovative instruction methods which integrate technology and engineering into science and mathematics instruction.

“Thank you for Socorro ISD’s hard work and dedication in providing STEM opportunities for students so they may accelerate their learning and graduate from high school prepared for the post-secondary path of their choosing,” said Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, in a letter.

Galleries: Socorro ISD Bids Farewell to Class of 2018

The Socorro Independent School District celebrated more than 3,400 graduates at commencement ceremonies on May 31, June 2 and 3 at the Region 19 Chito Samaniego center and the Don Haskins Center at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Graduates from Options, Pebble Hills, Mission Early College, El Dorado, Americas, Eastlake, Montwood, and Socorro high schools were cheered on by family, friends and Team SISD members, including Superintendent José Espinoza, Ed.D., the SISD Board of Trustees, and school faculty and staff.
The graduates at all the high schools were honored with special awards, words of congratulations and praise from various speakers, and special moments such as singing of the alma mater and school cheers.
The presentation of diplomas was the highlight of all the graduation ceremonies in Team SISD.
In total, the SISD Class of 2018 earned more than $45.8 million in scholarships and grants, collectively.
Pebble Hills High School Early College High School

El Dorado High School

Americas High School

Eastlake High School

Montwood High School

Socorro High School

Socorro ISD Student Artwork Showcased at El Paso Museum of Art

Socorro Independent School District students recently made history, as they were the first SISD students to exhibit their work at the El Paso Museum of Art.

“I am really excited for our students,” said Macka Jones, visual art specialist for SISD. “This is an amazing experience and for many of them a dream come true. We are proud to be a district of endless opportunities and that is what we created today, an opportunity for our students.”

Young artists were thrilled to see their beautiful ceramics, diverse paintings and hand-crafted sculptures at the 59-year-old museum. Their art was placed next to an exhibit featuring artwork owned by the actor and comedian Richard Anthony “Cheech” Marin.

“It’s pretty unbelievable that my work is being showcased at the El Paso Museum of Art,” Saenz said. “We all worked really hard to get here so we could display our love of art.”

Photo courtesy SISD

The exhibit originated last September when students toured the museum’s permanent collection of art, the 7,000-piece Kress Collection.

The students were asked to choose a work that caught their eye and create an art piece inspired by that particular work.

“Working with the SISD students and teachers has been a great experience,” said David Hernandez, education curator at the El Paso Museum of Art. “The art work is impressive and it’s interesting to see the direct correlation between their work and what they saw at the museum.”

Marquez, a senior at Pebble Hills, was inspired by American painter Raphael Soyer.

“It took a long time to finish my piece but I’m really proud of it,” Marquez said. “My freshmen year I would have never imagined that my work would be featured in a museum. This is a really big deal!”

Photo courtesy SISD

Teachers and parents also were happy to see the student work at the showcase.
“During the process I saw tears, passion and joy and that is the creation of art,” said Veronica Chaparro, art teacher at Eastlake High School. “To see them release their emotions into something visual and tangible for the community to see is amazing!”

The student art was displayed April 21-23 and drew a large crowd of students, families, teachers and friends.

The student showcase featured the work of 27 high school students from Americas, Eastlake, El Dorado, Montwood, Pebble Hills and Socorro high schools.

The students featured are: Alimei Saenz, Ana Calderas, Ana Varela, Andrea Soto, Ariel Anguiano, Ashley Diaz, Ayleen Garcia, Blanca Gonzalez, Brianna Robles, Caleb Hernandez, Desiree Boykin, Isaiah Gutierrez, Kimberly Juarez, Leslie Cuellar, Lynette Baez, Marlena Ray, Mikayla Espineli, Natalia Quizz, Natalia Arzola, Noelle Marquez, Paul Sescon, Phoebe Lozano, Sergio Chavez, Stephanie Vazquez, Vanessa Najera, Victoria Aldaco and Viridiana Kropf.

UTEP Football Adds Former Montwood Coach Veliz as Wide Receivers Coach

Head Coach Sean Kugler announced Chuck Veliz as the Miners wide receivers coach on Friday.

Prior to coming to UTEP, Veliz was the head coach and athletic coordinator for Montwood High School for 13 years and compiled 11 winning seasons with the Rams.

While with the Rams, Veliz mentored current Miner Warren Redix who earned back-to-back All-District 1-5A Overall MVP honors. During his senior campaign, Redix compiled 751 rushing yards on 63 carries and added 39 tackles. Redix had four showings with 100 or more receiving yards as a senior. As a junior he notched 857 yards (13.82 average) on 62 receptions and five touchdowns.

The Rams finished the 2012 season 8-3 overall and 6-1 in league play. Montwood opened the season beating the highly competitive Odessa Permian.

In 2007, Montwood established a 10-2 overall record including an 8-0-league record. The team registered 270.3 receiving yards per game, 141.8 rushing yards per game and totaled 53 touchdowns in the season. The Rams recorded five showings of 300 or more passing yards.

In 2006, Veliz led the Rams to an 8-3 mark and a district championship. He mentored former Miner Julio Lopez, who guided Montwood that season and was named first team All-District, All-City and honorable mention All-State honors after registering 51 catches for 978 yards and eight touchdowns.

Veliz led the Rams to a bi-district title in 2004 going 6-0 in district play and advancing to the second round of playoffs. Leading the way for Montwood was three-star recruit Edward Britton. Britton was an Associated Press Class 5A First-Team All-State selection. While with the Rams tallied 2,172 rushing yards, averaging nearly 9.0 yards per carry and 220.0 yards per game. Britton was a four-year letterwinner at Texas Tech.

Prior to coaching at Montwood, Veliz went 35-10 at Del Valle from 1998-2002. In 2000, the Conquistadores went 11-1 and Veliz was named the El Paso Times Coach of the Year.

Before being appointed the head coach of Del Valle, Veliz served as an assistant coach for the Conquistadores for five seasons and began coaching high school football at Bel Air from 1987-88.

Veliz graduated from Ysleta High School in 1982 and received his bachelor’s degree from UTEP in 1987.

Veliz and his wife, Terri, have three children – Chris, Amanda and Joshua.

Montwood stays in playoff contention after beating rival Eastwood

The Montwood Rams squared off against district 1-6A rival, Eastwood Troopers, in hopes to keep their playoff hopes alive and so they did by winning 37 to 22.

What started off as a low-scoring affair, ended up with a wild fourth quarter that featured both teams score a combined 29 points, forcing Eastwood to attempt an onside kick to keep hope alive.

The comeback attempt was denied after Rams defensive back Roman Alvarado intercepted a Mark Torres pass and returned it for touchdown that added to the lead.

Rams head coach, Chuck Veliz, wanted his team to play aggressive and not be intimidated by an Eastwood team that entered the contest with a 6-1 record.

“I knew they were going to play well they were going to play hard. To beat that team right there, they’re loaded with great athletes,” Veliz said. “Outstanding defensive effort, I just can’t say enough about the sophomore quarterback, Andrew Fernandez. He came in for the hurt, Gio Cisneros, the kid lit it up.”

Fernandez finished the night with 331 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception and added a third touchdown on the ground.

“We lost our starting quarterback, didn’t let that faze us, just got the W,” Fernandez said. “They had trouble adjusting to us in the second half, we capitalized on it and scored.”

Montwood held the ball for most of the first half, but failed to capitalize on promising drives that resulted in two failed field goal attempts by Daneil Forzan and an interception by Fernandez inside Eastwood’s 20-yard line minutes before the half with the score in favor of the Rams, 9 to 7.

The Rams would take a two-point lead into the fourth quarter after exchanging touchdowns. It was then that Montwood would take a late 30-14 lead after defensive back intercepted an Eastwood pass on the goal line and returned it 98 yards to set up the two-yard score by running back Evan De Anda.

The Troopers would not give up that easily, cutting the Rams lead to eight with 1 minute, 11 seconds left to play. It was then that Eastwood would fail to recover an onside kick and Rams to score the final touchdown on Alvarado’s interception.

“We were going to be aggressive, kids were making adjustments on their own, we weren’t just going to be content,” Veliz said. “Other than that last drive, when we tried to kneel on the ball, was the only time we were a little conservative. We were aggressive tonight, we took our shots down the field and again, the sophomore quarterback was outstanding.”

The win helps the Rams improve to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in district, while dropping Eastwood to 6-2 and 2-2 in district play. The result now leaves the playoff picture in a scramble with Americas, Franklin, Eastwood, El Dorado and Montwood still alive in the race.

“We’re right back in the race, we have a chance get back in the race and get to the playoffs is going to be our goal,” Veliz said. “I liked my kids tonight, I always like them, but I like my team tonight, the way we played ball and we competed and it worked out well.”

Montwood has a bye before preparing for Socorro, while Eastwood takes on Socorro next Friday to continue district play.

District 1-6A Standings


Americas 5-3, 3-1

Franklin 4-4, 3-1

El Dorado 5-3, 3-1

Montwood 5-3, 3-2

Eastwood 6-2, 2-2

Coronado 2-7, 1-4

Socorro 3-5, 0-4

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