County teams all dominate in victories

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All three county high school football teams moved to 2-0 on the season by winning in dominating fashion over the weekend, posting double-digit scores and posting big individual performances in the victories — which included wins over two Albuquerque-area teams.

Another week, another mercy rule win over another team of Tigers for LLHS as senior wideout Chris Sanchez caught three touchdown passes and had 98 receiving yards.

Kenn Rodriguez- News-Bulletin photo: MARIO AVERY (57) and Alex D’Arezzo (58) of the Valencia High football team watch the ball pop loose from a Rio Grande running back’s hands after a solid hit by the Jaguars’ Estevan Gallegos during Valencia High’s win over the Ravens Saturday afternoon. Avery recovered the fumble, which led to a VHS touchdown.

Senior running back Jalen Chavez added two running touchdowns and 137 yards rushing in another dominating home win for the Tigers of Los Lunas.

Alamogordo (0-1) and the hometown Tigers scoreless in the first quarter, but LLHS broke the scoring drought at the 11-minute mark of the second half when senior Darron Gallegos connected on a halfback option pass to Chris Sanchez for a 57-yard touchdown.

Fourty seconds later, after a 3-and-out for the visiting Tigers, Los Lunas struck again when sophomore quarterback Anthony Sanchez found Chris Sanchez in the end zone for a 31-yard pass.

Freshman halfback O’Maury Samuels finished the second quarter scoring with a 9-yard run and the home Tigers led 21-0 at halftime.

“It took us a while to figure them out and get us rolling,” said LLHS coach Duane Toliver. “We didn’t come out (in the first quarter) as well as we’d like, but we were able to make some adjustments on the run.”

Aided by a pair of Los Lunas penalties, Alamogordo opened the third quarter witha successful drive, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown dive by quarterback Conrad Collins.

“We came out a little flat, but that’s the sign of a good team,” Toliver said. “They rose up.”

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: LOS LUNAS HIGH’S JALEN CHAVEZ (5) is lifted in celebration by Dakota Wood (58) while Randy Moore (16) looks on during the Tigers’ 42-7 win over Alamogordo Friday night.

But the Los Lunas defense shut down Alamogordo in three plays on their next possession and a poor punt gave LLHS the ball at the visiting Tigers’ 27-yard line. Two plays later, Chavez slashed his way through the Alamo defense for a touchdown. Chavez scored again, hitting paydirt with a 7-yard run two possessions later, following a muffed punt attempt.

Chris Sanchez and Anthony Sanchez connected on LLHS’ final score, an 8-yard touchdown pass with 10:18 left in the game that triggered the mercy rule’s running clock.

“Our defense really helped us,” said Chavez. “They gave us great field position (all game) and just kept us in the game the whole time.”

Anthony Sanchez finished the game with 12-of-24 passing for 133-yards and two touchdowns.

Los Lunas played without senior wide receiver Jacob Holland, who practiced with the team during the week but was on the sidelines in street clothes during the Alamogordo game.

On Sunday, the Albuquerque Journal reported that Holland had been suspended because of hosting an under-age drinking party at his home over Labor Day weekend.

The News-Bulletin was able to confirm, through a Los Lunas Police Department report, that officers had dispersed an “underage party.” LLPD confirmed last week that the homeowner of the house officers went to is Jacob Holland’s father, Wilson.

Coach Duane Toliver and Wilson Holland, who is the Los Lunas Schools’ athletic director, both said last week that they were unable to comment on the suspension.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: QUARTERBACK GARRETT GIBSON vaults over a pair of Rio Grande defensders to score in Valencia High’s 49-0 win Saturday afternoon. Gibson threw three touchdowns passes in addition to running for this score in the rout of the Ravens.

On Tuesday, the district’s Assistant Superintendant Staff and Student Services, Dana Sanders. Sanders confirmed that a football player had been suspended but could not confirm that name of the player, citing the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA,) which prohibits school districts from sharing the “personal and identifiable information” of students.

Sanders did confirm that students suspended under the district’s student athletic handbook are suspended for 45 days and cannot appeal the suspension. First-time offenders can reduce their suspension by taking an alcohol and drug prevention class.

Sanders said to her knowledge, no changes in the length of the suspension had happened at this time.

In the end, a lightning storm did what the visiting Ravens could not — stop the Jaguars.

Officials called Saturday’s game at Valencia High School on account of lightning at around the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter with Valencia driving for another score after scoring 35 first-half points to trigger the mercy rule.

Junior quarterback Garrett Gibson led a speedy and varied Jaguar attack, throwing for three touchdowns and running for one more score by vaulting over a trio of Rio Grande defenders in the win.

Junior running back Josh Burbank added 105 rushing yards on nine carries, scoring on a breakaway 58-yard run for a touchdown that kicked off VHS’s scoring. The game was a big reversal from last season, when Rio Grande held the Jags scoreless for a half before winning 18-15 in Albuquerque.

“I think the key was just working together and getting after it,” said Burbank. “Coming after last season, completely storming us and us coming out real strong this year took some air out of their balloon.”

While the Jaguars offense showed its firepower, amassing 259 total yards and tallying 16 first downs to the Ravens’ three, the Valencia defense did the work of keeping Rio Grande (0-2) off the field and backed into its own end of the field.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: Nearly 200 BELEN FANS traveled to Albuquerque’s Milne Stadium to watch the Eagles, shown here on offense, defeat the Del Norte Knights 56-30 Friday night.

The Ravens did not complete a pass in the game and were held to 45 yards of total offense, all on the ground.

The Jags forced three turnovers — one interception and two fumbles — while also pressuring Rio Grande quarterback Pablo Duarte consistently, scoring four sacks on the day.

Gibson finished 6-of-10 passing on the day for 163 yards and one interception plus three touchdown passes and also ran for 20 yards, including his one running touchdown.

The junior accounted for all three touchdowns in the pivotal second quarter, connecting with senior Troy Lowe on a 2-yard scoring strike, senior Chris Brandt on a 51-yard strike and his running touchdown.

“Garrett’s doing real good, we’re happy with the way the offense is performing,” said coach Kevin Jolley.

Junior Nate Nash closed scoring with 1:33 left in the third quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run. Brandt finished as the Jaguars’ top receiver, catching two passes for 89 yards.

“I think we had a good plan to stop them,” said coach Jolley. “We’ll always give credit to that defensive line and offensive line. They played hard. We held them and forced some punts and capitalized off that.”

Quick strikes on offense and special teams in the second half, coupled with a solid, powerful performance in the first half enabled the Eagles to easily defeat the host Knights at Milne Stadium in Albuquerque.

Running back/kick returner Andrew Castillo accounted for nearly 300 yards of total offense in the win, rushing for 96 yards on nine carries, 68 yards of which came from a 68-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Castillo also had a pair of 99-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter, giving him three touchdowns on the night with 294 yards total in the win.

Quarterback Chris Peralta finished with three touchdowns of his own, all on the ground as well as 161 yards rushing on 12 carries and one pass completion for 13 yards.

Trent Barba and Josh Garcia each scored touchdowns as well and ran for 83 yards and 41 yards, respectively. All in all, Belen (2-0) racked up 400 rushing yards.

The Eagles easily contained Del Norte (1-1) with its defensive effort in the first half, picking off a pass in the second quarter and engineering a pair of long drives capped by short touchdown runs by Barba and Peralta.

Leading 21-7 at halftime, the Eagles increased the lead to 28-7 on Castillo’s long touchdown run from scrimmage. The Knights were able to move the ball a little better in the second half, but had to settle for a pair of field goals instead of touchdowns, which, along with the long touchdown runs, proved to be the difference.

Belen plays its homecoming game this week against Moriarty Friday night at Belen High School. The Pintos are 1-1 on the season after defeating Gallup Miyamura 42-10.