Under the Friday night lights of last week's football game (Oct. 26), the Taos Tigers regained their spirit with a 50-0 victory over the Pojoaque Valley …
Under the Friday night lights of last week's football game (Oct. 26), the Taos Tigers regained their spirit with a 50-0 victory over the Pojoaque Valley Elks.
It was Senior Night at Taos High School's Anaya Field when the Taos Tigers (8-1) took the field following their warmup routine. The stands were packed full of parents and family there to support their athletes' last regular season home game of the year. Before kickoff, senior players met their parents on the field. Each received a rose and a warm hug before the whistle sounded.
"It's bittersweet," said Phyllis Garcia, mother of Tiger senior running back Jonathan Garcia. "It's his last home game, and hopefully he gets to play on this field again. I feel very proud, super proud."
Almost immediately into the game, Garcia ran a punt return into the end zone starting the Tigers off early with a touchdown lead.
The Tigers continued their pressure throughout the first quarter, which ended with a score of 37-0 due to a 2-point safety call awarded to Taos.
Garcia was the top scorer in Friday's game, giving the Tigers five touchdowns.
The Tiger's offensive line was equally matched by the defense who held the Elks behind the 50-yard line for most of the game.
Due to a massive lead of 50-0 and the New Mexico Activities Association "mercy" rule, the Senior Night game was called at the half with Taos ahead 50-0. The shivering audience met their Tigers at the fence to congratulate them on their victory.
"We ended this the way that we should have," said Tiger coach Art Abreu Jr. "There's no disrespect here. It's just about us trying to get back on that roll we were on."
Abreu said his team had been training and focusing all week to meet the Elks head on and that they needed to regain their momentum after falling to Albuquerque's St. Pius in the previous game. The Pius Sartans gave the Tigers their first loss of the season, 27-0.
"We were humbled," Abreu said.
Despite the single loss, the Tigers have held four teams from scoring this season.
"We're finally playing as a team again," Garcia said after the game. "For one, I think it was a good thing we lost a game. We got a little too big of a head, but it's great to always win."
Abreu gathered his team in front of the stands for one final ceremony before the night was over and honored the 14 seniors on the squad with a gift bag and a framed collage of their season highlight photos. Those seniors have played for Abreu for the past four seasons.
The Taos Tigers now look toward their next game against the Bernalillo Spartans.
The Spartans (6-3) will face off against the Tigers at 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 2) on their home field in Bernalillo. Bernalillo is fourth in district standings while Taos is tied with Grants High School for second place.
"We're hungry," Abreu said after Friday's game. "Just because of what we did tonight, it does not mean we're satisfied. We're on a mission."
Bernalillo is coming off of a 28-7 loss against Grants. This is the final regular season game the Tigers will play before they likely move on to the state tournament, according to Abreu.
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