The Española Valley High School football team will have to wait another year to try and notch a win against rival Los Alamos High School.
The Sundevils (0-1), who haven’t defeated the Hilltoppers (1-0) since 2002, were outmatched 57-12 Aug. 24 on the road at Sullivan Field.
“We got to go to work,” head coach Miguel Medina said after the game. “We’re still, I mean, you see glimpses of some of the things we’re trying to do, but a lot of these kids are still learning the game.”
A few of the glimpses came on offense behind the arm of senior quarterback Makaio Frazier. Trailing 13-0 late in the second quarter, Frazier was able to escape the pocket and launch a deep pass to connect with Kebin Marquez for a 79-yard touchdown.
The two-point conversion attempt was intercepted, leaving the Sundevils trailing 13-6 with 2:48 left in the first half.
Right as they appeared to have closed the gap, Los Alamos responded with a quick drive and running back Cade Yost scored on a 16-yard run to increase the Hilltopper lead to 21-6 with 46 seconds remaining in the half.
With little time on the clock to work with, Española opted to try and mount a drive, but Frazier was intercepted by Walker Eaton, who returned the ball to the endzone to give the Hilltoppers a 29-6 halftime lead.
Before the second half began, Los Alamos players huddled together and chanted “green machine” over and over before retaking the field – and just like a well-oiled machine, The Hilltoppers kept their foot on the gas while the Sundevils ran on empty.
“To be honest we ran out of gas early,” Medina said. “That showed because we couldn’t run some of the plays we wanted to in our run game and we had some key lineman out. I can’t blame it all on that, I think Los Alamos played a hell of a game. Those kids were tough and physical.”
Española fell behind 44-6 with 7:26 left in the third quarter before their only other score of the night came when Frazier found a wide-open Jose Perez for a 41-yard touchdown against broken coverage in the secondary by Los Alamos’ defense.
The Hilltoppers were led by Yost, who scored three rushing touchdowns and caught another through the air from Dylan Irish. Antonio Gonzalez and Eaton each added another rushing touchdown.
After the clock expired on the opening night of the 2018 season, Medina gathered his team and reiterated that it was just that, a season, that can’t be defined by one game.
“I told them I’m not upset with them,” he said. “Of course, we want to win, but we see where we are and where we have to go. By far, this is not the end. Like I said, we’ll get some players back, especially on o-line and d-line and get that rotation back going into Hope next week.”
A look ahead
The Sundevils will be back on the field Friday night, this time at home against the Huskies from Hope Christian High School, who defeated Portales High School on the road 10-3 in overtime in week 1.
The biggest area to fix for the Sundevils will be special teams, who Medina called ‘disorganized” at times, which was evident when players often ran onto the field late before punt and punt return.
“I told them I’ll take the blame for special teams,” he said. “We just put it in two weeks ago and we got a bunch of kids now since school started so it’s one of those things where we fill them in. We just got to get the repetition because it’s one of those things where it’s a third of the game, so we just have to make the time to practice it.”