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High School Football Wrap Up

Big second half lifts visiting St. Michael’s to Friday night’s 41-21 District 2-4A win over Taos, while Santa Fe High falls again, 48-0, to visiting Roswell and extends its losing streak to 31 games

In West Las Vegas, Santa Fe Indian Schoolbloses its third in a row as the Dons rolled 48-0

Arnie Leshin

By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today

Down went Suazo, Taos senior quarterback Jude Suazo as the finals seconds ticked down before halftime. Helped off the field, it was said to be a rib injury, possible a broken rib.

Most important, he did not take the field again. At the half, the Tigers led 14-6, but for the next two quarters the entire District 2-4A game turned around, turned into a 41-21 victory for the visiting St. Michael’s Friday night.

Without its two-year starter, Taos’ offense was not the same. It inserted sophomore Noah Armijo at quarterback and the Horsemen pressured him. Then their offense went into full gear with three touchdowns in the third quarter and a 34-14 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

It was enough to bring St. Michael’s (5-1) its third straight win, tie undefeated Los Vegas Robertson at 2-0 in district and drop the Tigers to 5-2 overall and 1-2 in district.

It was boom, boom, boom, three unanswered touchdowns in a row after intermission.

First, senior Miguel Montoya dashed 71 yards to conclude an 87-yard drive in but two plays. Then it tacked on the 2-point conversion to deadlock the contest at 14-all. The defense then rattled Armijo enough to force a punt that was followed by a drive that ended on senior Antonio Gabaldon connecting with senior Joey Fernandez, Jr., for a 47-yard touchdown.

Junior Andrew Salazar was wide on the point-after kick and the lead was now 27-14. But as soon as the Horsemen forced another punt, senior Shawn Roybal gathered it in and raced 55 yards into the end zone. This time, Salazar’s kick was good and it was now 34-14.

St. Michael’s wasn’t done yet. Mixing up its offense with a run-pass combo, it took over at its own 34. Gabaldon passed to Montoya for nine yards and Montoya then ran the ball 14 yards before he caught a throw for 16 more yards and a first down at the Taos 43.

After Montoya gained eight yards to the 35, Gabaldon found junior Luke Kastendieck just short of the end zone and he ran it in. Salazar then kicked the PAT for a 41-14 lead with 7:42 to go.

The Tigers had just abandoned their running game when the score mounted, but junior Jonathan Garcia tugged the ball four times with time running down, and scored on a 10-yard scamper up the middle. He totaled 54 yards on the drive.

The opening quarter was scoreless and Taos put up the first points early in the second quarter. Quickly, it gave the ball to Garcia and he went three and then one yard to score. The conversion made it 7-0.

At 5:09, the Horsemen answered on a 30-yard pass from Gabaldon to Fernandez, but the point-after failed. But the Tigers responded by going 63 yards in eight plays before Soasa ran it in for the halftime lead.

Soon after, Soasa, playing safety on defense, went down holding his side. He never made it back and that meant a big loss for his team.

The 6-4, 200-pound Armijo did complete three passes, but the same number were dropped. His biggest run was a 15-yarder on a fourth and one at the Horsemen 48, and that left the rest for Garcia to score the touchdown.

It was the fourth time in four outings that St. Michael’s defeated Taos.

At Ivan Head Stadium the same night, it was much of the same for Santa Fe High as it fell 48-0 to Roswell and stretched its losing streak to 31.

Roswell (4-2) scored all the points it needed on the Demons’ initial punt. Sophomore Jasia Reese ran it back 51 yards to the SFHS 17, and three plays later senior Justin Carrasco took it in from the three.

It was 34-0 at halftime after the same Reese ran a punt 55 yards into the end zone. He had the majority of his team’s rushes, and that made for 289 on the ground to go with a total of 346.

When the Demons did force consecutive punts, they couldn’t get anything going on offense. Senior quarterback Zach Russell could connect on only 3 of 15 passes with three interceptions, one leading to a TD. Overall, they had only 98 total yards. When they forced the Coyotes into consecutive punts, they just couldn’t get their offense going.

Thus, victory remains as elusive as ever for Santa Fe High and first-year head coach Andrew Martinez. On homecoming night Friday, it will face undefeated 2A Escalante (7-0), which has won three state championship and has been in six finals.

Winding up the program’s independent schedule will come with a visit the following Friday night against Clovis, which is in the same 2-6A district as the Wildcats, but this contest will be a non district one for both schools.

At West Las Vegas that night, Santa Fe Indian School lost its third in a row after starting out 4-0. It was a 48-0 romp for the Dons, who are now 2-0 and in a tie with unbeaten Robertson and St. Michael’s in 2-4A. The Braves slipped to 4-3 overall and 0-2 in district.

It was a bye weekend for Capital High and it begins District 2-5A at Albuquerque Del Norte Friday night. The Jaguars are 2-4 overall and the Knights (2-4) have won two-straight.

In other state scores, Albuquerque Academy turned back Espanola Valley, 40-20, Bernalillo defeated Pojoaque Valley, 37-6, Rio Rancho Cleveland edged Rio Rancho High, 35-32, Del Norte topped Los Alamos, 51-25, Goddard triumphed over Deming, 24-14, Albuquerque Manzano beat Albuquerque La Cueva, 28-21, Los Lunas won 50-0 over Grants.

Then there was Miyamura breezing past Bloomfield, 36-6, Moriarty blanking Thoreau, 43-0, Piedra Vista taking out Albuquerque Cibola, 28-14, Portales winning over Albuquerque Hope Christian, 14-0, Ruidoso shutting out NMMI, 54-0, Socorro triumphing over Cobre, 29-12, Albuquerque St. Pius X scoring a 48-0 rout over Albuquerque Highland, 48-0, and Lovington topping Santa Teresa, 25-18.

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