Belen rolls into semis with win over Wildcats
The third time was not the charm for visiting Deming Friday night against host Belen in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
The No. 6 Wildcats traveled to the Hub City for the third time in a year’s time hoping to upend the No. 3 Eagles and avenge a pair of road defeats.
But the Eagles had other plans, beating Deming 45-14 handily in frigid conditions at BHS Stadium..
“We knew there was a lot of talk about how Deming wanted to come here and beat us,” said junior quarterback Chris Peralta. “We kept that in mind and did what we had to do to make semis. This year we’re looking to push it one step further.”
Belen began the season with a 23-20 win over the Wildcats in Belen, leading at the end of three quarters but needing a strong defensive effort late in the game. The Eagles also dominated Deming in the state quarterfinal game in Belen last season, winning 40-6.
Belen (10-2) advances to the 4A state semifinals against No. 2 Farmington at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hutchinson Stadium in Farmington.
The Scorpions defeated seventh-seeded Valencia 28-7 in Farmington Friday night. It is the fifth time in six years that the Eagles have advanced to the semifinal round of the playoffs.
Because the Eagles and Farmington had never met in the playoffs, the two teams had to resort to a coin toss to determine the host of Saturday’s game.
On Friday night, it looked as though Deming would reverse the losing trend, going up 14-7 in the first quarter.
But the Eagles offense scored 38 unanswered points in the final three quarters and the Belen defense completely shut down the potent Wildcat defense in the second half to claim the win.
Senior running backs Trenton Barba, Andrew Castillo and junior quarterback Peralta each scored two touchdown runs as the Eagles advanced to the Class 4A semifinals for the third year in a row.
“Our defense played very well in the second half,” said coach John Lerma. “We kept them from really moving the ball. We were able to keep pressure on them defensively and that was the key to the ball game.”
Deming scored on its first drive of the game with quarterback Dante Urrea scoring on a 15-yard touchdown run.
Belen answered less than two minutes later when Castillo broke away for the first of his two long touchdown runs — a 40-yard run that tied the game at 7-7.
The Wildcats answered five minutes later, capping 10-play drive, 60-yard drive with a 1-yard run by Urrea to take their last lead of the game at 14-7.
The second quarter proved to be a pivotal point in the game. Down 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, Belen (10-2) mounted an eight-play, 67-yard drive that ended on a 10-yard run by Barba to tie the game 14-14.
The Eagle defense then stuffed a fake punt attempt by Deming to take the ball on downs.
On the next play from scrimmage, Castillo broke away from the Wildcat defense with a 64-yard run to give Belen the 21-14 lead.
“Our offensive line did a great job. They always do a great job,” Castillo said. “We just had to adjust to their defense.”
After forcing a Wildcat fumble two plays later, the Eagles again scored one play later on a 22-yard scamper by Peralta, who juked a pair of tacklers to get into the end zone and Belen took a 28-14 lead into halftime.
Deming (9-4) managed only two first downs in the second half and punted the ball four times before giving up an interception late in the fourth quarter.
Barba notched his second touchdown run 6:39 into the third quarter, a 3-yard dash that gave the Eagles a 35-14 advantage.
Peralta ran for the game’s final touchdown three minutes later, juking tacklers adroitly again for a 9-yard touchdown run to put the Belen lead at 42-14.
Senior Tristan Baca added a 28-yard field goal for Belen with just over four minutes left in the game.
“Our defensive tackled started making good plays, shutting them down,” said Baca, who also made several key plays at defensive end. “They started forcing balls. We were able to get pressure on the quarterback, and that was it.”
The Eagles-Scorpions game will be streamed over the Internet on two different outlets Saturday afternoon.
Farmington radio station KENN (92.1 FM/1390 AM) will have an audio stream of the game at www.kennradio.com.
ProView Networks is also likely to have a video stream of the game available at www.proviewnetworks.com. The site does charge a $15 monthly fee for subscribers.