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In its season opener, the Los Alamos Hilltopper football team was able to do a lot of different things offensively to win.
Friday night, it became clear early in the ballgame the Farmington Scorpions had no intention of letting the Hilltoppers do at least one of those things.
Farmington’s defense keyed in early and often on Hilltopper fullback Xavier Dennison, often rotating two linebackers and a safety to wherever it was Dennison happened to be going on that particular play.
With one key weapon neutralized, Los Alamos struggled to sustain drives Friday.
Farmington’s offense, however, had no such problem as it scored two touchdowns in the both the second and third quarters to win 41-6 at Sullivan Field.
Los Alamos’ offense, which rolled up 448 yards in its season-opening win a week earlier, had three 3-and-out drives in the first half and turned the ball over twice – the second of which was a desperation heave as the half came to an end.
In stark contrast to a week earlier, the Hilltoppers managed just 48 yards total offense in the opening half as the Scorpions (2-0) held Dennison in check. Dennison managed just 26 yards on 9 carries in the first half and 38 for the game, that coming a week after a monster 230-yard performance.
It was a tough night for Los Alamos (1-1) and things aren’t going to get a lot easier for the next three weeks. It faces St. Pius X at home Friday night, then goes on the road to Kirtland Central, another team, like Farmington, from the Four Corners area, before traveling down to Belen, which was the No. 4 team in the state according to last week’s MaxPreps rankings.
For the Scorpions, it was their second consecutive shutout victory to start their season. They thumped the Gallup Bengals on opening night 48-0 and so far in 2013 have yet to punt.
The Scorpions looked like they were going to take command early against the Hilltoppers, scoring a touchdown on their first possession then setting themselves up o the Hilltopper 2-yard line with time winding down in the first quarter on a 43-yard pass down the left sideline from quarterback Jacob Lucas to Kyle Reynolds.
But Farmington’s Austin Foutz fumbled the ball into the endzone on a bad handoff on the next play, which was recovered by Simon Heath.
Heath, a newcomer to football this season, also had an interception of Lucas, his second of the season, early in the second quarter.
Los Alamos trailed just 7-0 midway through the second quarter before Farmington tailback Brian Farley ripped off a 69-yard touchdown run with 6:36 remaining in the half. Farley would go for a 70-yard score on Farmington’s second play from scrimmage in the third quarter to bump up Farmington’s advantage to 28-0 at that point.
Farley had 13 carries for 196 yards, while Lucas completed 8 of 12 passes for 148 yards.
Los Alamos’ only touchdown of the game came with 10:04 left in the contest. Hilltopper quarterback Brice Van Etten hit Tristen Hill at the pylon for a 7-yard score – Hill wrenched the ball away from defensive back Xander Walker at the goal line to score.
Beyond the touchdown, one of the few bright spots moving the ball for Los Alamos Friday was kick returner Marcos Vigil, who finished with 112 kick return yards.