Eagles mercy-rule Bengals; hit the road again

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Coming off a frustrating, district-opening home shutout loss to Los Lunas, the Belen High football team decided it was time for a shutout of its own.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Belen High senior C.J. Newey cuts between Gallup tacklers en route to the end zone on a punt return in Friday’s District 6-4A game agains Gallup. The Eagles rolled past the Bengals, 53-0, and play a 7 p.m. district game Friday in Gallup against Miyamura.

The Eagles ran through and around Gallup on Friday in a 53-0, mercy-rule-shortened win. They hope that gives them momentum going into this Friday’s District 6-4A road game against Miyamura.

In the win over Gallup, the Eagles (5-2 overall, 1-1 in District 6-4A) were able to gain confidence again after their humbling 40-0 home loss to rival Los Lunas the week before. The Eagle defense and special teams stifled the Bengals (2-5, 0-2) and set things up nicely for the BHS offense, which moved the ball almost at will.

“I’m proud that the kids got us back on track again, because we needed that win,” said BHS coach John Lerma. “Not only did the guys play hard, but they played well, also. I was pleased with the intensity, and our defense has been getting better and better all year.”

The Eagles got great field position all night, and took advantage, building a 34-0 halftime lead in front of a small home crowd. Senior running backs Xavier Armijo and Wyatt Robinson each had two first-half touchdown runs, and C.J. Newey scored on an exciting 85-yard punt return in the second quarter.

“That was a heck of a run by C.J.,” Lerma said regarding the Eagles’ first punt-return TD of the season.

Chris Peralta and Trenton Barba scored on second-half runs, with Peralta’s score happening after a Gallup fumble was recovered by the Eagles at the Bengal 4-yard line.

Manuel Romero recovered a fumble in the end zone with 1:49 left in the game, which ended early due to the 50-point-margin mercy rule. The Eagles rushed for 266 yards, led by 106 from Armijo, and Peralta completed 3-of-7 passes for 76 yards.

Peralta, the Eagle quarterback, also ran for 56 yards on 13 carries. The sophomore was making his third career start. Aside from a fumble on the Eagles’ final offensive play of the first half, he performed well, and looked more confident than in the Los Lunas game.

“As a sophomore, Chris is getting better with every game,” said Lerma. “He’s getting more comfortable running the offense.”

Injured wide receiver Zach Martin didn’t play Friday, and Lerma said the senior is awaiting medical test results. No timetable has been set for his return.

Kaitlyn D’Arcangeli of the BHS girls soccer team made her debut as an Eagle placekicker, converting 5-of-8 extra-point kicks and four of her first five.

Miyamura outlasted the Eagles in a shootout “offense fest last year, though the Patriots later had to forfeit the game for using an ineligible player. This year, the Patriots (2-5, 0-2) desperately need a win if they are going to get their first-ever playoff berth, though three-year starting quarterback Zach Shank doesn’t have as many veterans around him as he did a year ago.

“They don’t have everyone back, but they still have some weapons,” said Lerma. “They still have two receivers that can hurt you, and so can their running back. They run more, but they’re still primarily a passing team.”

The Patriots, who lost 36-18 in the district opener at Grants and 35-22 at Valencia High last Friday, run a spread offense that offense has four wide receivers.

“They really hurt us last year with all those medium-range crossing routes,” said Lerma.

On defense, the Patriots run primarily an odd-numbered front, the coach said.

All Miyamura and Gallup high school football games are played at Gallup Schools Stadium, located near the intersection of Logan Avenue and South Grandview Drive.

“We’ve got to really play 48 minutes of football to win there,” said Lerma.


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