by Mike Magers
Foothill High School is unique among New Mexico schools in that all of its players are incarcerated juvenile offenders. The school is managed jointly by the New Mexico Department of Education and the Children and the Youth and Families Department. The student body is comprised of mostly males with some females. It has a Parent Teacher Student Association made up of parents, teachers, guards and officials of the school.
Foothill is in the 8-Man class and has competed in NMAA football for at least about 10 years, though for various reasons no team was fielded in 2015, despite having posted winning records the three previous years and reaching the playoffs each of those years.
Unless something has recently changed, its practice field has no grass. It is a sandy lot in the general area of Edith Blvd NE and Industrial Ave SE near the Youth Development and Diagnostic Center in Albuquerque. The team plays most of its games on the road each year with its home games played at Menaul and other neutral sites in Albuquerque. Its coaches have included Alan A. Harrington, Patrick Quillen and John Sais.
Allowing juvenile offenders to compete in high school sports is not limited to New Mexico. North Texas has its Gainesville State Home and School and South Texsas has the Giddings State Home and School, each of which field teams. In Texas, they complete in a class of private schools, the Texas Assocation of Private and Parochial schools, rather than how it is done in New Mexico with public and private schools competing together.
Putting a Foothill team together has its own challenges. New players may become available on short notice as they are sentenced. Likewise, existing players may be released out of the system. The ultimate goal is to have the players become productive members of society, once they leave the system.