Eagles rush for 328 yards in win; Valencia next

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With only four home games this season, the Belen High football team is a road-warrior bunch, spending a lot of time on buses and eating on the run.

Fortunately, the Eagles have posted several impressive road wins this season, including Friday’s 51-30 win in chilly Gallup over Miyamura. The win improved the Eagles’ record to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in District 6-4A.

News-Bulletin file photo: Jonathan Madrid, center, and Jonathan Sepulveda pursue a Gallup passer in a recent game. Belen’s linemen were key on both sides of the ball in Friday’s win over Miyamura. Here, The Eagles are set to play at 7 p.m. Friday at Valencia High.

Belen has won four of its five road games, which is a good thing, considering the Eagles are on the road again this week. They’re set to play their next-to-last game of the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday at Valencia High.

“It’s not easy to play up there,” said BHS coach John Lerma, regarding Gallup. “Our backs ran hard, our offensive line did a great job, and our defense played well enough to win.”

Belen had little trouble in either moving the ball or scoring against Miyamura. The Eagles possessed the ball and finished drives with touchdowns, and the Patriots (2-6, 0-3) seemed to have no way of stopping the Belen ground attack, which racked up 328 yards on 46 attempts.

Senior tailback Xavier Armijo ran the ball 28 times for 236 yards and scored five touchdowns. He scored three times in the first half.

Quarterback Chris Peralta was 3-of-7 passing in the game for 77 yards with no interceptions. One of the sophomore’s completions was a 33-yard touchdown pass to Nick Aragon that helped stake the Eagles to a 28-8 first-half lead. A late second-quarter score by the Patriots cut the Belen lead to 28-16 by halftime.

In the second half, Miyamura twice pulled to within one score on touchdown passes by senior Zack Shank. The second one made the score 36-30 with 11:20 left in the game.

However, Belen then scored twice in the fourth quarter, on short runs by Armijo and senior Wyatt Robinson, to pull away. Robinson had 55 yards on nine carries and a two-point conversion run.

“Xavy and Wyatt each had a big night, and we had success running both inside and outside,” said Lerma. “And a lot of credit goes to our line. Even though they’re small, they’re quick aggressive, scrappy, and have great techniques.”

Lerma praised junior Cody Thompson for playing both ways on the line, as he was filling in for right guard Devin Vigil, who was ill and didn’t play.

Peralta added 37 rushing yards; senior Kaitlyn D’Arcangeli, the BHS girls soccer player, made all five of her point-after kicks.

For Miyamura, Shank went 25-44 for 358 yards with three touchdowns. However, the Eagles intercepted him twice, and held the Patriots to 60 rushing yards on 22 attempts.

Lerma said the BHS defense stopped Miyamura drives a few times and forced the Patriots to punt, and each time, the Eagle offense took the ball and made a productive drive happen.

The coach said cornerback C.J. Newey and linebacker Trenton Barba had excellent games.

Valencia poses a completely different type of challenge to the Eagles. The speedy Jaguars have a run based offense, and will be playing on natural grass — a surface the Eagles have only played on twice this year.

The Jaguars are 3-5 and 3-0 in district, having gone in 0-5 during a tough pre-district slate before beating three of the weaker 6-4A teams in successive weeks. Valencia won 21-7 at Grants on Friday.

Belen closes the regular season by hosting Grants on Friday, Nov. 9. The 12 Class 4A playoff teams will be announced Saturday, Nov. 10.


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