Tigers roll; will host 5A power Sandia on Friday

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It should be one of the most anticipated games in the Albuquerque area when Class 5A power Sandia comes to visit Los Lunas for Friday’s 7 p.m. game.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Chris Sanchez of Los Lunas, top, tries to corral a pass against Del Norte’s Tyrelle Jackson in Friday’s Homecoming game. The Tigers rolled to a 51-3 win over the Knights and have a huge pre-district showdown when Class 5A comes to LLHS for a 7 p.m. game Friday.

The Matadors are undefeated at 3-0 with quality wins over Volcano Vista (31-14 last Friday) and Cibola so far this season.

The Tigers, 3-0, added to their resume on Friday night with a dominating Homecoming celebration over Del Norte, 51-3. Add that to wins over the Class 4A defending state champ Aztec (50-28) and Class 5A Alamogordo (20-0) and Friday’s showdown with Sandia could be one of the most entertaining pre-district games of the season in New Mexico.

It only took 12 seconds for Los Lunas to turn a close game into a rout of Del Norte.

With 9:28 left until the halftime crowning of the senior king and queen, and Los Lunas ahead 7-0 on an earlier Chris Wisneski run, Wisneski threw a flanker pass to Ruger Rodriguez, who had drawn single coverage on the outside.

The Los Lunas signal-caller changed the play at the 5-yard line and hit Rodriguez with a perfect pass, as the wideout dove for the end zone. Rodriguez then added a two-point pass to Isaac Parra.

Del Norte fumbled the kickoff return and Wisneski scored from the 20-yard line on a quarterback draw. Mikey Martinez ran the ball in for the two-point conversion and Los Lunas had turned a 7-0 game into a 23-0 Tiger romp with 9:17 on the clock.

“We need to be able to throw the ball,” said Los Lunas coach Jeremy Newton of not only the Del Norte contest, but of strong opponents, such as Sandia, on the rest of the schedule. “They stacked the box on us, and we just took what they gave us.”

Wisneski finished the night with 106 yards passing on a 6-of-10 night.

Exactly two minutes later, Jalen Chavez struck on a 78-yard run down the north sideline to make it 30-0 after Colin Keeton’s extra point kick.

Chavez struck again, this time from 46 yards away, in the second quarter for a 37-0 Tiger lead. The speedy sophomore tailback finished the night with 145 yards rushing.

Darron Gallegos scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with under two minutes left in the first half. The Tigers led 44-0 at the break.

The Knights got their only score of the game on a 38-yard field goal by Calob Nixon early in the fourth quarter. Reserve running back Sasha Gallegos scored the final Los Lunas touchdown on a 12-yard run with only 3:44 to go.

“We stuttered a little bit, but we got our feet underneath us,” said Newton of the slow start. “The first couple of series we did not get anything going but our defense held us in it. I just think they wanted to come out and perform in front of their home crowd and that was the biggest thing for them. They did that.”


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.