Albuquerque, NM - The Taos High School Tigers football team travelled to Albuquerque this Saturday (Sept. 11) for a shootout against the St. Pius X High School Sartans. (Yes. They are the "SARTANS", not the "Spartans".) It was a scorching hot afternoon at Nusenda Community Stadium—where the temperature on the field exceeded 102-degrees at times—but the Tigers never seemed to get tired as they stuck with a tough St. Pius team. At the end of the afternoon, however, the Tigers took their fourth loss of the season, by a score of 40-28.
Elijah Romero ran his substantive legs off for first down after first down as the Sartans had no answer for the Tigers offense. The THS team’s previous issues with conditioning seemed to be a distant memory as the defensive line of St. Pius failed to ever gain substantial penetration of the Tigers offensive line, leaving star quarterback Daemon Ely plenty of time to attack through the air and revealing huge holes in the line that were easily exploited by Romero and the runningback crew.
Despite the Tigers juggernaut style in this game, the defense struggled just as much as the Sartan defense throughout the day. At halftime, the score was 21-20, with Taos in the lead. The Sartans came out of the half with two quick touchdowns and, just like that, the Tigers were in danger of letting the game get away from them. But, Coach Abreu rallied the troops and the Tigers answered back.
The game continued back and forth for the remainder of the afternoon. With two minutes left in the game, the score stood at 33-28, Sartans in the lead, with the Tigers on the opposing 6-yard line, threatening to score and put the game away. For seemingly the first time in the game, Romero didn’t get penetration and the Tigers turned the ball over on downs with 1:30 remaining in the game.
With the ball back in the Sartans hands, St. Pius player Marco Ybarra ripped off a 94-yard run, putting the score at 40-28, with 1:22 left, effectively dealing the loss to the Tigers.
The Tigers obviously addressed their team needs since their last game, looking noticeably better conditioned and moving the ball on offense with impunity. However, the defense is still struggling to stop major chunk plays, especially against uber-talented running backs like Marco Ybarra (a powerlifting enthusiast who put up 319-rushing-yards on the day for the Sartans.)
The Tigers will look to get their first win of the season next Friday (Sept. 17) at Shiprock at 7 p.m.
Look for the full story in next week’s Taos News.