Jaguars beat Bengals for first win

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Valencia fans saw glimpses of last year’s Jaguars in the final four minutes of play in Friday night’s home win over Gallup.

But other than the fourth-quarter heroics in the 30-15 win, it was a night of missed opportunities, a combined 204 yards of penalties and a combined five fumbles and four interceptions.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Leaping Gallup bengals in a single bound is Valencia tailback Trase Peperas in Friday night’s 30-15 Jaguar win. The Jags hope to follow up their first win of the season with a Homecoming win against Miyamura this Friday.

But the Jags did get their first win with three touchdowns in a three-minute span to break open a 10-7 game with 4:20 left.

Valencia will try to improve on their 1-5 mark, and 1-0 District 6-4A 1-0 record, when they host Miyamura (2-5, 0-1) on Friday for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

“I preached to them, it doesn’t matter where you start, it matters where you finish,” said first-year Jag coach Kevin Jolley. “We are going to stop the non-believers. We are going to shut those guys up. We are going to do everything we can to show them that this is an awfully good team.”

Against Gallup (2-4, 0-1), the two teams settled into a scoreless first half tie, although the Jags had some major scoring chances slip away.

Valencia struck first on a 41-yard fumble recovery early in the third quarter. Chris Brandt caught the ball on the first bounce and scored, bringing the Jaguar faithful to their feet.

But the cheers didn’t last long. On Gallup’s next offensive play, Gallup quarterback Taylor Ramirez hit Marlon Barber in stride for a 74-yard touchdown pass. It only took 15 seconds for the Bengals to tie the game at 7-all.

Caleb Crum hit a 36-yard field goal with 2:23 left in the third quarter to give the Jags a 10-7 lead heading into the final period.

Valencia’s Trase Peperas scored from five yards out to give Valencia a 17-7 lead with 4:20 left in the game.

On the next series, Santiago Ibuado scooped up the ball along the far sideline and turned a Gallup fumble into a 44-yard touchdown. The extra point was missed, and Valencia led 23-7.

But Gallup didn’t give in, scoring on a 22-yard pass from Ramirez to tailback Dominic Martinez. The two-point pass was good with 2:23 left in the game.

With the VHS lead cut to 23-15, Valencia went to work to run out the clock, needing only a first down with Gallup only having one timeout left.

The pitch went to the left side and Burbank, the ball and a Gallup defender all got to the same spot in the Jaguar backfield at about the same time.

Burbank grabbed the toss, shook off the defender without breaking stride, did a 360-spin about 10 yards downfield to elude another tackler, and raced 66 yards for the final score to give Valencia the 15-point win.

“I knew it from the moment I went into the huddle, actually,” said Burbank of the scoring run. “I knew this because the run Trase (Peperas) scored on, I led him to the end zone and he told me it was my turn.”

Burbank noted that his run, and all of the Jaguar success, was a team effort.

“I just felt I needed help my team put away the game and I just did what I do and broke a couple tackles and followed the sea of red to the end zone,” the sophomore running back said.

“I owe it all to the blocking of my team, they did their job and I did mine.”

The schedule would seem to favor some recovery for the Jaguars from their 0-5 start, getting the district teams from bottom to top. After the Patriots visit, the Jags travel to Grants, host Belen and travel to Los Lunas.

“We know that people are upset and disappointed with the record, but this is an awfully good team, I think,” said Jolley. “We are going to surprise some people. They just can’t look past us.”


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