Mike Powers | News-Bulletin photo
Tigers struggle in homecoming loss to Farmington

Los Lunas

The Farmington Scorpions stung Los Lunas on Friday night in high school football, spoiling homecoming and ending the Tigers’ 16-game winning streak with a 26-11 victory at Willie Chavez Field.

The line of scrimmage was controlled by Farmington from the opening kickoff, and with senior quarterback Paul Cieremans not in uniform, the Tigers’ offense never got going. Unofficially, Los Lunas had less than 100 yards of total offense from the line of scrimmage. When asked about the absence of Cieremans, who was cheering on the sidelines, head coach Greg Henington would only say, “He’s just not playing tonight.”

LLHS took its only lead of the game on a 36-yard field goal by senior Kaden Bell at the 9:44 mark of the first quarter. However, Farmington took the lead for good on their first drive with quarterback Trel Griego finding Michael Beck on a 32-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was no good and Farmington was up 6-3.

Scorpion receivers would find room behind the Los Lunas secondary regularly in key situations. On the first play of the second quarter, Griego and Beck connected again for a touchdown, this time from 55 yards out to make the score 12-3. That drive was aided by a Tiger pass interference call and the first of several penalties for unsportsman-like conduct.

“Penalties, penalties, penalties,” coach Henington said after the game. “It’s our Achilles heel right now. We’re going to take care of it.”

Farmington led at the half 12-3.

With the Tigers’ offense sputtering, Los Lunas used a big special teams play to get back into the game in the third quarter. Junior Fabian Trujillo took a punt, faked one way, spun around and broke free down the sideline for a 65-yard touchdown. Cash Aragon ran in the two-point conversion pulling the Tigers to within 12-11.

But less than three minutes later, Farmington would get some breathing room. At 6-3, 225 pounds, Scorpions’ quarterback Griego was difficult to bring down, with his running ability keeping drives alive while setting up the passing game.

Jevon Smith hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Griego to put the Scorpions up 18-11 with less than five minutes to play in the third quarter. For a third time, the extra point try was no good.

Smith, who also plays defensive back for the Scorpions, ended a Los Lunas drive a short time later with an interception, and that set up a Griego rushing score from 5 yards out. The 2-point try was good this time and Farmington led 26-11 late in the third quarter. That would be the final score.

With sophomore Ty Gould at quarterback, the Tigers were able to move the ball inside the 10-yard line several times in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone. At one point, after a sack and several penalties, Los Lunas had a fourth down and goal at the 41-yard line.

After the 26-11 setback, senior linebacker Miguel Andrade looked to the future.

“It’s a learning lesson. We’re going to grow, get stronger, better and be back at it,” Andrade said.

Tigers’ coach Henington credited Farmington.

“They punched us in the mouth that’s for sure. I thought we showed some response,” Henington said, “but we would shoot ourselves in the foot every chance we had to make it different.”

The Tigers’ fall to 2-1 while the Scorpions’ get their first win of the season and are now 1-2. LLHS is back home Friday to take on the 2-1 Roswell Coyotes.

“This might be exactly what we need right now, a little humble pie,” Henington said. “We’re just going to get ready for Roswell and play our ass off.”

 

Belen High School

The Belen Eagles traveled Friday to Artesia to take on the Bulldogs, and lost 44-0 to the 2021 5A runner-up.

Artesia moved the ball through the air, scoring on four touchdown passes.

BHS head coach Kevin Peña said the Bulldogs were a superior team.

“Arestia was a lot better than we expected,” Peña said. “They adjusted well to what we did.”

But Peña said the Eagles did some good things.

“We played well. We moved the ball but we just couldn’t get it into the endzone.” Peña added that the players may have been “shell-shocked” by the atmosphere at the “Bulldog Bowl,” one of the better facilities in New Mexico.

The Eagles record falls to 1-2. Belen returns home Friday to host Valley for homecoming, which is a “white-out” game for the student body.

 

Valencia High School

After a week off, the 1-1 Valencia Jaguars are back in action Friday against Portales at home. The 4A Rams are 3-0 after defeating West Las Vegas 55-30.

After the Jags’ 43-6 win over Del Norte on Aug. 27 head coach Wesley Shank said penalties and mental mistakes need to be cleaned up.

“We got away with them today but our schedule gets a little bit tougher from here on out,” Shank said. “We won’t be able to get away with it in the future.”

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Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.