Tigers pick up fourth straight win on the season against Bernalillo at Anaya Field

By Matthew Narvaiz
sports@taosnews.com
Posted 11/7/19

The Taos Tigers didn't disappoint in their final regular-season home game.

With crisp temperatures over all four quarters of action at Anaya Field on Friday evening (Nov. 1), the Tigers battled and in the process gained their fourth straight victory of the season 28-7 over the Bernalillo Spartans.

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Tigers pick up fourth straight win on the season against Bernalillo at Anaya Field

Posted

The Taos Tigers didn't disappoint in their final regular-season home game.

With crisp temperatures over all four quarters of action at Anaya Field on Friday evening (Nov. 1), the Tigers battled and in the process gained their fourth straight victory of the season 28-7 over the Bernalillo Spartans.

The win gave the Tigers the district runner-up title, as they now sit in second place in District 2/5-4A, right behind Grants.

"I thought we could play a lot better than what we did [tonight]," Taos head coach Art Abreu Jr. said after the game when asked how he felt about his team's performance. "As of right now, I'm very proud of what these guys have done. A lot of people wrote this team off, especially after those who graduated last year. And it's hard to replicate what was done last year, but these guys have bought in."

Taos (6-4, 4-1 District 2/5-4A) and Bernalillo (6-4, 2-3 District 2/5-4A) played a surgical game, with neither team mustering more than seven points in a quarter. In fact, Taos scored one touchdown in each quarter, while the Spartans scored just once in the third.

The Tigers' first drive wasn't special either, as they ended it with a three-and-out before punting the ball to Bernalillo. But their second drive was much better.

Armando Valerio made good use of the holes his offensive line created and contributed 3 of 5 first downs for Taos in the drive. Noah Armijo, however, put the Tigers in perfect position to score, throwing a pass to Angel Limas for a first down on the Bernalillo 16-yard line.

Valerio then scored on the next play on a 16-yard run to the right side, giving Taos its first touchdown of the game with just under two minutes in the first quarter.

On Taos' second drive of the second quarter, the team would score again. It would've been a 24-yard run for Valerio for his second touchdown, but it was brought back when a holding penalty was called on the Tigers.

Instead, the touchdown was a little more flashy, as Armijo found Limas for 33 yards deep on the right side -- and on fourth-and-27. After the extra point, Taos took a 14-0 lead with just 1:28 left in the second quarter.

Both teams committed a total of four penalties in a row on the Spartans' last offensive drive before the half, but the Tigers held on strong and shut out Adam Salazar, the Bernalillo quarterback, on the last play -- a pass to his wideout Julian Chavez.

Taos didn't waste any time when it came to scoring the ball in the second half, as the team made a touchdown with a little over two minutes into the third quarter. With the ball on the Bernalillo 20-yard line, Valerio broke a few tackles, before stretching his way into the end zone.

After a couple more drives for the two teams, Bernalillo finally found its footing on offense -- at least for the time being. The Spartans pounded the ball running in the final moments of the third quarter and eventually found the end zone on a 24-yard run from Ryan Maes with one minute remaining.

Taos kept its focus on defense after that and held Bernalillo scoreless for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, on offense, the Tigers milked the clock in the beginning moments perfectly. They shaved off a little over four minutes before Valerio scored his third touchdown of the game on a bruising 5-yard run.

From there, Bernalillo wasted nearly the entirety of the rest of the game clock on a drive that failed to result in a touchdown.

"Our team is really starting to gel and we are all starting to trust each other a little bit more and it's turning out well," Santiago Salazar, a senior and captain, said after the game.

Valerio was Taos' most potent player on Friday, as he scored three of four touchdowns and ran for over 100 yards.

On Saturday (Nov. 2), Taos was chosen as the No. 7 seed and will host No. 10 Silver on Saturday (Nov. 9) at 1 p.m.

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