TOME — It was a tough loss for the Valencia High School Jaguars on Friday night in their home stadium as they fell 28-8 to the Albuquerque Academy Chargers.
The game score may suggest a blow out, but aside from a tough fourth quarter, the Jaguars hung with a tough Chargers team, who is ranked third in the state by MaxPreps, an online prep sports tracking site.
Valencia, which has an impressive No. 5 ranking on MaxPreps, took an 8-0 lead into the second quarter, but after the Chargers converted several fourth-and-long situations, the Jaguars lost the lead and took a 14-8 deficit into the locker room at halftime.
The Chargers never let up and eventually managed to wear down this tough Valencia team. After a number of errors led to continued Chargers scoring in the second half, the Jaguars were never able to right the ship.
VHS’s defense, which has been a cornerstone of the team’s success all season, just wasn’t able to stop Academy junior running back Cole Conway, who rushed for 83 yards and three touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, the Jaguars stood strong against a physical Chargers defensive line, but eventually they broke down, leading to three quarterback sacks for a loss of 11 yards.
“They are a tough team,” said Jaguars head coach Wesley Shank. “We got some things to work on, but we will be ready next week.”
Valencia High School’s record is now 5-3. Albuquerque Academy rises to 7-1, with their only loss coming at the hands of the No. 2 ranked Bloomfield Bobcats.
Valencia was on a two-game winning streak before Friday night’s loss, but there is still time to get on another one before the state tournament. It won’t be easy, however.
The tough schedule isn’t going to let up for the Jaguars anytime soon. They will look to get back on a winning streak when they face off against St. Pius X in Albuquerque this Friday. The St. Pius Sartans are ranked fourth, one spot below Academy and one spot ahead of Valencia. The Jaguars will then finish off the regular season against a tougher-than-their-record Bernalillo team.
The Jaguars are currently ranked third in Class 4A, with a 1-1 record in the District. A spot in the state championship tournament is not guaranteed, but after playing all season against top-ranked opponents, Valencia may be a dark horse destined to break some opponents’ hearts in the playoffs.