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Santa Fe Indian School remains unbeaten with win on Thursday

While Friday night St. Michael’s lost 41-8 at Moriarty and Capital earned its first win by turning away visiting Santa Fe High, 45-0. Friday night, Demons play at Taos and Jaguars home to Miyamura, while Saturday afternoon, Braves entertain Zuni and Horsemen play host to Portales

Arnie Leshin

By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today

You play your schedule, that’s the way the football bounces, and these days surprising Santa Fe Indian School has played three games and has won all three in dominating fashion.

On top the 4A state rankings with five other schools, the Braves are home Saturday afternoon when also-undefeated Zuni visits for the homecoming game.

Zuni, too, has had it rather easy so far, winning home games 55-16 against Laguna-Acoma, and 50-14 over Valley from Sanders, Ariz., and last week, 32-12 at Questa.

Doesn’t matter who Zuni played, it hasn’t lost, and Indian School should get a tough test. The Braves opened by routing Cuba, on the road, winning, at Wingate, and over Espanola McCurdy at home last week on Thursday night.

While head coach Carl Vigil’s Braves triumphed, it wasn’t the same for Santa Fe High in the 45-0 loss at cross town rival Capital, and St. Michael’s 3-0 record is no longer after the 41-8 setback at Moriarty.

Now it doesn’t get any easier, and that includes the Jaguars who play host Friday night to Myimura, which is 2-0 with wins over Grants and Rio Grande. Capital advanced to 2-1 behind the quarterbacking of senior Cisco Leos, the aggressive running game, and a stout defense that used its size to clear the way.

The Jaguars came together with an offence powered by 413 yards along the ground from four running backs. Defensively, they controlled the line and stuffed the Demons to the tune of but 73 rushing yards in the 25th anniversary of the intercity cross town rivalry.

Along the ground, Capital senior Pancho Miranda paved the way with 124 yards on 14 carries, and the reason he didn’t have more tugs was there were five other teammates who rushed for at 54 yards. Freshman Lucas Padilla picked up 66 yards on eight carries and scored the final touchdown that upped the score to 45-0 with only 32 seconds left.

Leos ran the show, not in statistics, but in engineering the offense. He had some trouble handling snaps, but settled down and moved the ball. The rival quarterback, Santa Fe High senior Levi Lopez, was 11-for-18 passing for 112 yards but his receivers were covered most of the time.

The Demons are 0-3 and with a 27-game losing streak as they now head up to unbeaten Taos (3-0) for a Friday night contest. They came close to reaching the end zone early. At the Jaguar 15, Lopez attempted to pitch the ball out to Roberto Alarid, but it sailed behind Alarid and recovered by Capital senior Cesar Granados at his own 30.

The next stop for St. Michael’s is a home game Saturday afternoon versus 3-0 Portales in a District 2-4A contest against the defending state champion.

At undefeated Moriarty, the Horsemen began well, driving 77 yards on a dozen plays, and on third and goal at the 1, senior Joey Fernandez, Jr., bulled his way into the end zone, and a two-point conversion made it 8-0.

Senior quarterback Antonio Gabaldon while Fernandez accounted for 59 yards with his versatility. In the second half, the Horsemen put the ball in the air, but didn’t have it that much.

But once that first drive was history, it was the Pintos having their way. They ran the ball as they pleased, and after intercepting a Gabaldon pass, that set them up to come away with 41 unanswered points. The Horsemen had the ball for only 2 minutes and 35 seconds of the second quarter, and Gabaldon went to the air with little success.

Matt Smith was the culprit for the home team. He gave his side the lead on a 17-yard run at 8:10 of the quarter. He scored another one late in the half and added two more in the last two quarters.

As for Gabaldon, he threw the ball 15 times for 36 yards and 240 yards, and was intercepted three times. Running the ball, St. Michael’s picked up only 42 yards. The Pintos, too, had 42 yards through the air, but its ground game produced 337 yards.

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