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It’s the single biggest game of the year for both squads.
If either the Los Alamos Hilltopper or Santa Fe Demon football teams have aspirations to earn the District 2-4A title, they will have to pick up a victory over the other Friday night.
Los Alamos will host Santa Fe at 7 p.m. Friday. The winner will have clear sailing to the district championship, while the loser will likely be shut out from the 2012 playoffs completely.
The Hilltoppers opened the 2-4A season with a big 34-0 win over the Bernalillo Spartans last week in Bernalillo.
In last week’s game, Los Alamos faced a very good running quarterback in Ralf Olguin.
This week, Los Alamos will face the best running quarterback and one of the top all-around athletes the district has to offer, Jordan Booth-Homer.
Booth-Homer is averaging better than 4 yards a carry and has 6 rushing touchdowns.
If that was all Santa Fe’s offense featured, things would be simple for the Hilltopper defense, but Santa Fe also sports one of the district’s best running backs, Anthony Abeyta. Abeyta, a 170-pound senior, is on pace for a 1,000-yard season and is averaging nearly 7 yards per carry.
Los Alamos clinched the 2-4A title in 2011, its first in three years, in large part because of a wild 30-20 victory at Ivan Head Stadium, a game that wasn’t decided until the final minutes.
Late in that contest, the Demons drove deep into Hilltopper territory when Booth-Homer’s apparent rushing touchdown was called back on a chop-block penalty. Three snaps later, the Demons were facing a fourth-and-goal from the 42-yard line, but a Los Alamos roughing the passer penalty gave the Demons new life.
Santa Fe couldn’t capitalize, however, as Jake Downs picked off Booth-Homer near the goal line. Santa Fe would get the ball back with a little over a minute remaining but couldn’t do anything with the possession.
Following that win, Los Alamos cruised past both Española Valley and Capital to clinch the 2-4A crown. Although Española Valley has shown signs of improvement, the Sundevils will be hard-pressed to hang with the Hilltoppers this year and Capital has managed just 3 points in the 2012 season.
The Demons picked up just their second win last week, blasting Española Valley 65-22. Prior to that, their only win came against hapless Albuquerque in the second week of the season and the Demons had been held to 26 points in three games before last week.
Against Española Valley, Abeyta ran for 150 yards while Booth-Homer threw for 137 yards and a touchdown.
The turning point in Los Alamos’ contest with Bernalillo was a 95-yard catch-and-run by slotback Seth Drop from quarterback Brice Van Etten midway through the third quarter. The touchdown, which put the Hilltoppers up by three scores, came on a third-and-10 play with the Spartans just one stop away from a chance to get back into the ballgame.
Los Alamos’ top rusher, Arnoldo Ortiz, finished with 116 yards last week.
While the winner Friday will be in a position to salt away the district race — Santa Fe would have the tougher route, however, as it still must face Bernalillo Nov. 2 — the loser will be in position to be frozen out of the postseason.
Santa Fe would most likely be seeded 12th in the playoffs if it does go on to claim the district title, negating any chance for the Hilltoppers to sneak in, and the Demons don’t appear to have the credentials they’d need to get into any serious at-large discussion if they lose.