ALBUQUERQUE— The Los Lunas Tigers (2-1) easily brushed aside the class 6A Sandia Matadors (1-2) on Friday night at Wilson Stadium, winning 28-3 behind three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Kade Benavidez.
“Kade is just a solid guy, does a really good job of running our offense,” Los Lunas head coach Jeremy Maupin said. “He knows what’s open. I’m really excited about his performance.”
The Tigers scored with their very first possession, driving down the field and capping the drive with a 15-yard pass from Benavidez to Lorenzo Sosa to get the scoring started and put Los Lunas up 7-0, where the score would remain through the end of the first quarter.
Los Lunas’ second touchdown would prove to be the highlight reel play of the night as senior receiver Chris Lucero leaped over his defender to make the catch in the back of the endzone on a 16-yard pass from Benavidez.
“Chris literally just came out before two-a-days, he’s a senior, this is the first year he’s played football for me and has just been solid in practice and worked his way into the rotation,” Maupin said. “We actually had called something to the other side and (Benavidez) checked it because we got a better matchup there and (Lucero) just made a play. He keeps making those plays, he’s going to keep playing football. It’s fun.”
The Tigers third touchdown came out of a fourth-and-two play where defensive lineman Bryce Santana lined up at quarterback. Santana took the direct snap and went straight up the middle, breaking a tackle at the line of scrimmage before getting loose in the second level and going 62-yards for the touchdown to make the lead 21-0.
The Sandia offense had been averaging 38 points a game coming into Friday’s matchup, but they didn’t show any of that capability against the Tigers defense. The Matadors rarely threatened to score, with their best opportunity coming in the final moments of the first half.
They had a first-and-goal from the nine-yard line and had been moving the ball well; but the Los Lunas defense buckled down and didn’t allow Sandia to get any closer, forcing the hosts to settle for the 19-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 21-3.
“I think our defense has really played well in all three games,” Maupin said. “Tonight against a good 6A team they just came and made a statement and played well, which is exciting.”
In the third quarter, the Tigers would get one more touchdown as Benavidez and Sosa connected again as Sosa ran a go route down the sideline and was able to shake off a defensive hold and bring in the pass for a 40-yard touchdown that capped off the scoring and pushed the lead to 28-3.
The fourth quarter didn’t lack opportunities for the Tigers, but nothing more would come of it before LLHS pulled its starters halfway through the quarter to watch the clock wind down. Next for the Tigers is a trip down to Roswell for a rematch of last year’s state championship game.
Lobo coaches there
With the University of New Mexico football team off last week, Lobos tight ends coach, Clay Davie, and acting head coach, Saga Tuitele, who typically coaches the offensive line and coordinates the running game for UNM, were in attendance at Wilson Stadium on Friday night.
Los Lunas junior Tyler Kiehne was offered by the Lobos last April, and Tuitele was also seen talking to Santana briefly at halftime, just after his touchdown run.
The Eagles were looking to rebound from a loss to Farmington last week in a return to the home turf, but Artesia made quick work of BHS in a 56-14 victory. The Bulldogs led 20-7 after the first quarter and 42-7 at the half.
Both of Belen’s touchdowns came from the arm of Luke Aragon, who connected with Sefe Aragon in the first quarter to give the Eagles a brief 7-6 lead and then with Ben Hirschfield in the final minutes to make the final slightly less lopsided at 56-14. The homestand continues this week as Belen welcomes Highland to town on Friday.
The Jaguars opened their home slate with Rio Grande on Friday, and the Ravens came in and spoiled Homecoming with a 33-22 win. Valencia drops to 0-2 on the season and is still looking for that first win. The Ravens held a lead after every quarter and a 21-6 lead at the half.
The Jaguars offense got going in the third quarter and closed the gap to 11 at 33-22, but couldn’t muster anything else in the fourth to come back. The Jaguars go back on the road this Friday and face off against Moriarty.