Prep football

Tigers win semifinal against Portales, will host state 4A championship game

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The Taos Tigers are headed to a 4A state championship showdown with Bloomfield.

The  Tigers earned a berth at the championship game after upsetting the Rams 35-14 in Portales at Eastern New Mexico University's Greyhound Stadium Saturday (Nov. 24) in the semifinals of the New Mexico state football playoffs. 

Meanwhile, Bloomfield tossed the St. Pius X Sartans from their playoff path.  The Bobcats will face the Tigers in Taos for the 4A state championship Saturday (Dec. 1).

In Portales, wind grounded the ball for most of the game. The gusts disproportionately impacted the Rams quarterback and receivers. Meanwhile, the Tigers did the grid-iron, two-step straight up the middle.

Taos received the kickoff and snapped their first play from their 33-yard line: a 67-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Garcia. With the extra point it was 7-0 within seconds. 

Portales refused to bow down. The Rams tied it up with a 15-play drive that included conversions of fourth and four and third and 16 and ended with a touchdown. Taos put another 7 on the board and shut down the next Portales drive to close out the first quarter 14-7.

The second quarter saw a third-down Taos fumble recovered by Taos, turning the ball over to Portales on the Rams’ 27. The Rams were unable to capitalize on the possession. Before the half, however, the Tigers and Rams had 7 points more apiece in the last two minutes of the half, making it 21-14 Taos when the players entered the locker room.

Taos shut-out the Rams in the second half and took two more touchdowns for themselves, making the final score 35-14. The game brought the Tigers season tally thus far to 11-1. 

After the game players and coaches from both sides knelt together, Rams and Tigers holding one another’s hands. “We may have been enemies for 48 minutes,” said Tigers’ Head Coach Art Abreu Jr., “but at the end of the day, we’re brothers.”

The 9-4 Bloomfield Bobcats travel to Anaya Field in Taos, to play the Tigers at 1 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 1).

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