The Belen High School football team has already hit some peaks and valleys this season.
The Eagles were on top of the world after winning their first two games by a combined score of 65-6. But they found the lowlands in Los Lunas where they not only lost a football game, 58-14, but lost their starting quarterback.
Junior Josh Peña tore the meniscus tendon in his right knee — the same knee he had surgery on nearly two years ago. Peña had season-ending surgery performed on the knee on Monday, according to head coach Kevin Benavidez.
“Losing Josh is a big loss,” the coach said. “But Jake has run the offense; he understands it. It just might make it a little more difficult to throw the ball.”
Jake Pargas played quarterback the entire second half of the Los Lunas game and did not attempt a pass. While at the helm, he did lead the Eagles on one long, scoring drive.
Though only a sophomore, Pargas said he’s up to the task. “It’s a big responsibility, but I’m willing to step up to it. I think I’m ready for it,” he said.
Pargas was quick to point out burden doesn’t fall on his shoulders alone. “It’s not really me, it’s our offense,” he said. “It’s not just my responsibility — it’s our line and our backs, mostly.”
The Eagles are a run-oriented team anyway. Pargas’ responsibilities generally involve getting the ball in the hands of running backs John Henry Peralta and Allen Thompson.
The Eagles were off last week, so they had time to lick their wounds after the loss to Los Lunas. It also gave Pargas more work with the first team offense in preparation for the next game at Los Alamos on Friday.
“It kind of helped us,” Benavidez said of the break, “but after getting beat the way we did, you almost want to get back into it right away.”
The Eagles are eager to get back to higher ground and are hoping to find it against the 0-4 Hilltoppers. “They seem like a team that’s down on its luck,” Benavidez said. “From what I can tell on film, they have some good size and some good talent. Things just haven’t gone their way.”
Last Saturday, Los Alamos lost, 7-0, to Pojoaque.
Friday night’s game is set for 7 p.m. in Los Alamos.
“Hopefully, we’ll show up ready to play,” said Benavidez, who didn’t think his team was prepared to play when it last took the field against Los Lunas. “If we do, we’ll be fine.”