The Valencia Jaguars kicked off their home slate on Friday with the team’s biggest win since 2018, beating the Del Norte Knights 36-6.
It was the largest margin of victory for the Jaguars since a 48-7 win over Los Alamos on Oct. 4, 2018.
With the win, VHS improved to 1-1 on the season.
“I thought we played hard,” VHS head coach Wesley Shank said. “We’re low on numbers, we’ve got a lot guys going both ways.
“Because a lot of the kids never make it to the sidelines communication is very difficult but we did a couple of things well and hopefully, we’ll just keep improving.”
The Jaguars have only dressed out 21 players for each of their two games so far, but Shank is hopeful the team will be able to swell its numbers in a few weeks when the first grading period is completed and academically ineligible players can regain their eligibility.
Junior quarterback Rey Garcia led the way for the Jaguars and was involved in every one of the Jaguars touchdowns.
However, he was particularly effective from the second quarter on, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for two more in the final three quarters of the game.
“I thought after the first quarter he started to throw well,” Shank said. “I think he needs to relax more. He throws the ball differently in practice and then he gets in the game and the nerves are there.
“Also, our numbers are so small it’s tough for us to simulate what he’s going to see on Friday night in practices.”
The second quarter was when the Jaguars blew the game open.
After taking a 12-0 lead on a Garcia keeper with just seconds left in the first, Del Norte opened the second quarter by gifting the Jags two more points after three consecutive low snaps backed the Knights up all the way into the endzone for a safety.
On the next possession, Garcia once again kept it for the score from about 30 yards out to push the lead to 22-0 less than six minutes into the second.
With less than a minute remaining in the second quarter, Garcia would connect with Damien Estrada for the touchdown through the air and VHS would connect on the two-point try as well to give themselves a 30-0 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.
After the break, the Knights showed a bit more life, including a big return on the opening kickoff.
However, the Jaguars defense held off the threat and kept DNHS off the board.
Valencia’s offense was held in check for most of the quarter, but Garcia connected with Nate Rodriguez with less than a minute to go to push the lead to 36-0 and start the running clock.
The running clock would be short-lived as Del Norte finally got on the board with a short touchdown pass.
The touchdown stopped the clock with 7:45 to go in the fourth quarter and made the score 36-6, which would become the final.
After Garcia appeared to pick up a lower leg injury on the Jaguars next drive, VHS just looked to run out the clock.
Garcia was able to return to the game and was only asked to hand the ball off the rest of the way.
VHS kneeled in the redzone to run out the clock earn the first win of the young season.
The Jaguars are home again this week as they welcome the Rio Grande Ravens to town.
It will be the season opener for the Ravens, who were unable to reschedule this week’s matchup against Atrisco Heritage after lightning made the scheduled Thursday night kickoff impossible.
The game will kick off on Friday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. and will double as homecoming for the Jags.
The Tigers also opened their home slate this week, playing host to Alamogordo.
In Greg Henington’s home debut as head coach of the Tigers, his squad made quick work of the visitors, winning 50-0 to improve to 2-0 on the year.
Two games in, the Tiger defense has not yet surrendered a point and limited Alamogordo to 63 total yards and forced three turnovers as well as blocking a punt.
Quarterback Paul Cieremans once again led the way offensively for the Tigers, scoring four touchdowns.
Cieremans threw for 150 yards on three-for-six passing with two touchdowns, highlighted by an 80-yard touchdown pass to Fabian Trujillo.
In addition, Cieremans added 172 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground.
The LLHS offense produced a total of 488 yards between the ground and passing game, 322 of those coming from Cieremans.
This week, the Tigers head back out on the road to face West Mesa at Nusenda Community Stadium in Albuquerque.
The game is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m.
After canceling last week’s game, the Eagles finally got their season underway on Friday on the road at Farmington.
BHS was unable to provide much resistance against the Scorpions, falling 53-13 in Andrew McCraw’s first game as head coach.
BHS’ offense never really got going, putting up less than 150 total yards and turning the ball over three times, including an interception which was returned for a touchdown.
The Eagles scored twice after the game was no longer in doubt to get on the board, including a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
This week, the Eagles will have their home opener as the Artesia Bulldogs, led by former Los Lunas head coach Jeremy Maupin, pay a visit.
Artesia improved to 1-1 on Friday night with a 27-14 win over the Hobbs Eagles.
Kickoff is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m.