´Toppers win big in season finale at home vs. Jaguars

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By Mike Cote

In their final game of the 2012 regular season, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers saved their best for last.
On Senior Night, the Hilltopper football team scored six touchdowns on a total of 16 offensive plays, all six of those from 20 yards out or longer.
Meanwhile, the Los Alamos defense gave up a grand total of 43 yards offense as the Hilltoppers cruised to a 52-0 victory over the Capital Jaguars at Sullivan Field.
The Hilltoppers closed out the contest just three minutes into the second half. After taking a 40-0 lead into the locker room, Xavier Dennison took the second half opening kickoff 80 yards untouched into the end zone. Then, on the Jaguars’ ensuing possession, linebacker Sam Ortiz stripped Capital running back Manuel Segura of the ball and rumbled 33 yards for a touchdown to end the game via the mercy rule.
It was an impressive victory all around Friday night, but it wasn’t enough to extend the Hilltoppers’ season.
Los Alamos went into Friday night’s game clinging to slim hopes it might be able to get back into the District 2-4A championship discussion, but those hopes were dashed by the Santa Fe Demons.
At Santa Fe, the Demons (4-5 overall, 3-0 in district) crushed the Bernalillo Spartans 51-6, clinching the 2-4A title and the Demons’ first postseason berth since 1986.
Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, the Demons are unlikely to be given anything better than the 12th and final seed when the Class 4A seedings are announced later this month — the New Mexico regular season doesn’t officially come to an end until this Saturday — leaving no room at the table for a Los Alamos at-large bid.
However, following the Hilltoppers’ lopsided defeat at Sullivan Field Oct. 19 against Santa Fe, they will go into the offseason on an upbeat note, having won their final two ballgames by a combined total of 108-6.
Los Alamos needed just two plays from scrimmage in the first quarter to get on the board. Quarterback Brice Van Etten duped the entirety of the Capital defense with a fake handoff to tailback Arnoldo Ortiz and went 33 yards down the left sideline for the first score of the game.
Van Etten had another big showing in a district game Friday. He not only ran for two touchdowns, the second coming midway through the second quarter, but threw three touchdown passes.
Van Etten’s third TD toss came on a perfectly-executed “hook and ladder” with just three seconds remaining in the first half.
Dennison, who ran in the hook and ladder from 38 yards out, also had a 77-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the first quarter on a routine pass into the flat. Dennison outraced the Capital secondary down the right sideline, giving him three scores on the night.
On the other side of the ball, the Hilltopper defensive line was dominant. The Hilltoppers recorded two sacks of Capital quarterback Patrick Gutierrez — one by Cory Geyer and the other by Peter Brewer — and had five tackles-for-loss, two of them by defensive end Mitch Carson, who also recovered a fumble in the first half.
Los Alamos finishes its season with an overall mark of 6-4 and went 3-1 in district, coming up one game short in its attempt to repeat as 2-4A champion after sweeping the district in 2011.