TOME—The new head football coach at Valencia High School is well aware of the Jaguars’ program and Los Lunas Schools.
LeDarrius Cage is a 2007 graduate of Los Lunas High School and a former coach in several sports at VHS, including football.
“This is a great opportunity for me to come back to my hometown and take over a program that’s been struggling in the last couple of years,” Cage told the News-Bulletin.
Cage started coaching at VHS in 2016, where he was the boys head track coach and an assistant coach in boys basketball and football. He eventually was promoted to defensive coordinator but later sought a new challenge.
“I made the decision to leave and learn more things,” Cage said about his stint as an assistant coach at Cleveland High School, the three-time defending 6A state champion.
“Now, I’ve got more tools with me to come back and make a difference.”
Cage interviewed for the Jaguars head coaching job several years ago but didn’t get it.
“I was impressed with him then, and now he is bringing additional knowledge with him,” said Wilson Holland, director of athletics for Los Lunas Schools. “He’s motivated. He’s a player’s coach. The kids will buy into what he’s doing.”
Holland emphasized that Cage’s main goal is to increase the participation numbers at Valencia, which competes in 4A.
Cage has a strategy to do that.
“We’re going to visit the middle schools and get to Pop Warner (youth) games — get my name out in the community,” the newly-hired coach said.
Cage, who will teach physical education at VHS, believes having local ties will be an advantage.
“A lot of people know me and I know them,” he said. “Just having that trust is going to open the eyes of people who are considering having their kids come to play for us.”
Cage replaces Wesley Shank, who resigned after five seasons as the head football coach.
The Jags record during that time was 19-26 and 1-3 in the playoffs.
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.