ALBUQUERQUE — The Los Lunas Tigers took care of business on Friday night against West Mesa despite an uncharacteristic lack of discipline, beating the Mustangs 42-13.
“It’s always good to get the win,” head coach Greg Henington said.
“There are definitely some small things we still need to clean up, taking penalties like we did tonight will kill us in a big game.”
With the win, the Tigers improved to 3-0 on the season heading into next week’s showdown with the Roswell Coyotes at the Wool Bowl.
“These next three weeks are going to be big for us,” Henington said. “We’re going to learn a lot about ourselves in the next stretch.”
Following the matchup with the Coyotes, the Tigers will return home to host Cibola, followed by a visit from the No. 1 team (Maxpreps) in Class 5A, Goddard.
Tigers quarterback Paul Cieremans got the scoring started halfway through the first quarter with his first touchdown run of the night to put LLHS up 6-0 after Kaden Bell’s extra point attempt was blocked.
LLHS added another touchdown not long after and pushed the lead to 13-0.
Then, a quick stop from the Tiger defense gave Los Lunas the ball back. Running back Malachi Roybal wasted no time doubling the advantage on a 64 yard touchdown run in front of the Tigers sideline.
Cieremans then connected with Devin Gallegos on the two-point conversion to put the team up 21-0 before the end of the first quarter.
Cieremans would score his second rushing touchdown with 3:13 left in the first half and push the Tigers’ advantage to 28-0.
With less than a minute left before halftime, the Tigers defense surrendered its first points of the season on broken coverage in the endzone which left a West Mesa receiver all alone as the Mustangs got on the board and made the Tigers lead 28-6 heading into the locker room.
The Tigers’ struggles continued as the second half got underway, as a fumble on the first play from scrimmage gave the Mustangs a short field.
The defense struggled with penalties, making the field even shorter after a personal foul on West Mesa’s first play put the Mustangs in the red zone for the second time in two drives and an offsides penalty put WMHS inside the ten.
The Mustangs finally punched the ball into the end zone on the fourth attempt from the one-yard line to make the score 28-13 with 7:54 to play in the third quarter.
Los Lunas refound some of their earlier rhythm and answered on Ciereman’s third rushing touchdown of the night to push the lead to 35-13. With just over three minutes left to go in the third quarter.
With 10:46 to go in the fourth quarter the Tigers finished the scoring with another touchdown, making the score 42-13.
The Tigers travel to Roswell on Friday, Sept. 10, to take on the Coyotes at 7 p.m.
“We’re not going to change the way we do things, but there’s going to be a lot of focus on the little stuff and making sure we aren’t making some of those errors we had tonight going forward,” Henington said.
RHS is 0-3 on the season, including a 14-0 loss to Hobbs on Friday night.
The Eagles finally opened their home schedule last Friday as BHS played host to the Artesia Bulldogs. After taking a 7-0 lead into halftime, Belen gave up 21 unanswered points and fell to AHS 21-7.
Next week, Belen is back on the road traveling to Gallup to take on the Miyamura Patriots with kickoff scheduled for Friday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m.
The Patriots are 2-1 on the year and coming off a win over Gallup, 28-6 on Friday night.
Valencia was at home for the second straight week and earned their second straight win, beating the Rio Grande Ravens 36-7 to improve to 2-1 on the season.
VHS will also be on the road next week, traveling east to face Portales on Friday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m.
The Rams are 0-2 on the year after falling to West Las Vegas 46-38 on Friday night.