Jaguars stung by Scorpions in quarterfinals

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The No. 7 Valencia football team knew what to expect coming into its state quarterfinal game Friday night against No. 2 Farmington.

That didn’t help the Jaguars, who were seeking revenge for a 33-12 loss in week five to the Scorpions. One week removed from its comeback victory over Farmington Piedra Vista, Valencia found itself thwarted by the Scoprions’ defense and it’s own miscues, falling 28-7 on a chilly night at Farmington’s Hutchinson Stadium in the Class 4A Football Playoffs.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: LLHS’ TIEGE ZELLER, right, laughs with father/coach Marty Zeller, center and mother Gael while signging her national letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Nevada, Reno next season.

Famington (10-1) got their ground game going early, using the run to amass 237 of their 244 total yards of offense, and forced Valencia’s junior quarterback Garrett Gibson into throwing two interceptions while also getting a score on special teams in the win.

Jaguars coach Kevin Jolley said the game was decided at the line of scrimmage.

“They did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage,” Jolley said. “We had a tough time moving the ball until the second half.”

Farmington scored on their first two possessions of the game, getting on the board first when running back Austin Foutz capped a 10-play, 72-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown run to give the Scorps a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

FHS scored again on their next possession, when Tyler Blades finished an 11-play, 77-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run with 8:43 left in the second quarter. The Scorpions would wind up leading 21-0 at halftime after a 47-yard punt return for a touchdown.

The Jags offense finally got going in the second half as Gibson connected with Troy Lowe on a 33-yard touchdown pass midway through the quarter to cut the lead to 21-7

In the second half, Valencia tightened the score with a 33-yard touchdown pass by Garrett Gibson to senior tight end Troy Lowe with 5:29 left in the third quarter.

“We were able to move the ball a little bit in the second half,” said Jolley. “We had opportunities to score but didn’t. Whether it’s play-calling or they beat us at the line of scrimmage, we just didn’t get it done.”

Valencia drove the length of the field early in the fourth quarter and were threatening to score again when the Scorpions made a decisive play.

On fourth-and-1 at the Farmington 6-yard line, the Scorps defense stuffed Jaguar senior fullback Marcos Griego to force VHS to turn the ball over on downs. Minutes later, Farmington scored on a 14-yard touchdown run for the final points of the game.

Gibson finished the game with 8-of-22 passing for 102 yards and the lone touchdown pass for Valencia, which finished the season 7-5.

Jolley said the season was a success despite the loss. The Jags do lose some key senors like defensive back Joe Heneghan, linebackers Estevan Gallegos and Anthony Gallegos, as well as linemen Jason McClung, Graeson Hartiline and Porfie Baca.

But Valencia does return its entire backfield — quarterback Garrett Gibson and two-way players Tyler McClarran, Nate Nash and Josh Burbank — as well as linebacker Orlando Lucero.

“We’ve got a good group coming back,” said Jolley. “Our core is coming back. We do have a couple of spot that will be hard to replace. Hopefully we’ll have some guys coming up who’ll step up.”