Peralta, Armijo shine in BHS win at Los Alamos

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Sophomore quarterback Chris Peralta scored twice on long runs, and Xavier Armijo scored on three short runs as Belen went to Los Alamos and blew out the Hilltoppers, 46-15, on a chilly Friday evening.

Belen (4-1) and Los Lunas (5-0) each have the week off before facing off in the 60th annual Valencia Bowl on Friday, Oct. 12. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Belen’s Zach Martin, left, and a Los Alamos player go up for a pass in Friday’s game. The Eagles rolled to a 46-15 win over the Hilltoppers, and will host Los Lunas for the 60th annual Valencia Bowl on Friday, Oct. 12.

Peralta made his first start after Nick Kurtz was unavailable due to a head-related injury. There is not timetable for Kurtz’s return.

The sophomore sent notice that the Eagles were in good hands on the second play from scrimmage. Peralta took the snap and faked the handoff, skirting around the outside of the Belen blockers for a 62-yard touchdown run.

It was clear that Peralta would score when he was five yards past the line of scrimmage. He was simply too fast for the Hilltoppers to catch.

“He just did a terrific job. He was so poised for a sophomore,” said coach John Lerma of Peralta’s leadership in Kurtz’s absence.

Peralta struck again on the first play of the second quarter, scampering around the left side and running 74 yards untouched to the end zone.

The young signal-caller got his third touchdown on a 19-yard pass to Isaac Valdez out of the backfield. Peralta faked the handoff to Valdez, who then went straight up the field and caught the ball at the Los Alamos 10-yard line. He avoided two tacklers on the way for the final Belen score of the first half.

The Eagles led 46-0 at the break.

Lerma was pleased with his quarterback’s night throwing the ball. Peralta hit 3-of-4 for 27 yards. The quarterback also had 138 yards on three carries.

“He faked the ball well (on the handoff) and his release was good,” said Lerma of the touchdown toss. “I was impressed with his poise. This is the first game that he has started and he did really well.”

Los Alamos scored twice in the second half, battling against a running clock for most of the final two quarters.

Armijo had somewhat of a breakout game in the visit to Los Alamos. He ran for 136 yards on 13 totes and scored on runs of 12, 15 and four yards.

The 12-yard score came when the game was still close. He broke through the line and twisted out of the grasp of a’Topper tackler and outran the secondary to paydirt. Belen led 13-0 at that point.

“That touchdown run was all because of my line,” said Armijo. “They held their blocks and didn’t stop. Everything was executed, and that’s the reason why I scored.”

Armijo scored in the second quarter on a 15-yard jaunt and then was part of an unusual four second sequence for his final score.

Wyatt Robinson capped off a nine-play drive with his one-yard score to put Belen ahead, 26-0, with 3:29 left until halftime.

On the kickoff, the Los Alamos returner watched the ball roll to the four-yard line. Evidently not knowing that the ball was live, he stood watching as an Eagle defender fell on the loose ball, giving Belen possession at the Hilltopper four-yard line.

Armijo ran the ball in on the next play to make it 33-0 at the 3:25 mark.

“It felt good. Whenever I have the chance to have a game like that and help my team the way I did, it always feels pretty darn good,” said Armijo, who rested through the second half with the big Eagle lead.

The Belen ground attack was superior, racking up 425 yards to Los Alamos’ 150.

Robinson had 10 carries for 68 yards. Manuel Romero, Trenton Barba and Danny Chavez all got playing time at running back for BHS.

Lerma is glad to have the week off to prepare for the important District 6-4A opener against rival Los Lunas.

“They have an outstanding team,” Lerma said, regarding the Tigers. “They are solid in every facet of the game. They have it all.”

Belen concentrates on the run game a little more than Los Lunas and has 1127 yards on the ground and averages 7.51 yards per carry. The Tigers have 1169 yards on 172 carries for a 6.79 yard per carry average.

Belen has put the ball in the air 38 times, completing 21 for 250 yards. Peralta is 5-for-12 for 44 yards. He has one touchdown and no interceptions.

Armijo is ready for the rival contest. Along with seniors Kurtz, Robinson, Martin and CJ Newey, Armijo wants to revenge last year’s 20-13 loss to the Tigers.

“It’s going to be a battle, but if we do everything we are taught to do, we have a good chance of winning that game,” said Armijo.

“Trust me, we will be prepared and ready to battle it out for that chile roaster.”


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