Jaguar football beatls LLHS, Eagles blown out at Grants

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Noah Brown has certainly bigger statistical nights than his 22-carry, 123-yard performance in Friday’s District 6-4A game.

 

But since his yardage and second-quarter touchdown helped Valencia High earn its first-ever district championship in football, the senior’s contributions meant as much to the Jaguars as at any other time.

The Jaguars (10-0 overall, 5-0 6-4A) held on for a 13-7 home win over Los Lunas to claim the 6-4A crown and cap an undefeated regular season. In the Class 4A playoff bracket announced Saturday night, the Jags earned the No. 3 seed and a first-round bye, and will host the winner of next weekend’s first-round game when No. 11 St.Pius travels to No. 6 Farmington High.

Second-round games will be played the weekend of Nov. 18-19 with exact times and dates announced once matchups are determined.

Los Lunas drew a No. 5 seed and will host No. 12 Los Alamos, most likely in a 7 p.m. game on Friday, Nov. 11, with the winner traveling to No. 4 seed Artesia for the quarterfinals.

Belen (5-4, 1-4) sufferred a 55-20 loss at Grants on Friday. The Eagles weren’t selected for the playoffs.

For Valencia, it was its first win over Los Lunas, the Tigers having won the first three meetings. Valencia was ranked No. 3 in last week’s coaches association poll; the Tigers were No. 4.

Valencia quarterback Jude Pepke, also a senior, rushed for 84 yards and threw a second-quarter touchdown pass to James Gallegos.

Both teams made several mistakes, but Los Lunas (8-2, 4-1) made more, and at key times. Each team lost three fumbles, and while Pepke didn’t throw any interceptions, the Tigers’ Ruger Rodriguez was picked three times.

One interception, by Pepke himself, was at the goal line on 4th-and-goal early in the fourth quarter with Los Lunas trying to cap a long drive. After another interception by VHS freshman Joshua Burbank, Valencia picked up several first downs to end the game.

The Tigers took advantage of a Valencia fumble and a short field late in the third quarter for their only score. Darron Gallegos, a sophomore who rushed for 83 yards in the game, went in from a yard out.

Valencia rushed for 253 yards to 189 by the Tigers. LLHS lost tailback Jalen Chavez for the rest of the game after a second-quarter rib injury.

More details on Belen’s game will be added when available.

Look for more football coverage in the Wednesday, Nov. 9 issue of the News-Bulletin.