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Despite losing by four touchdowns last season, the Los Alamos Hilltopper football team had a turning point of sorts in its 2011 contest against the Belen Eagles.
Los Alamos could use a boost like that again. Tonight, it will get that chance.
The Hilltoppers will face the Belen Eagles in a Class 4A match-up. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Sullivan Field.
Los Alamos is heading into tonight’s contest off an impressive showing a week ago. Los Alamos thumped the Kirtland Central Broncos for homecoming, 34-0, to improve to 2-2 on the season.
But while the Hilltoppers went in as favorites last Friday, they will be the underdogs against a solid Eagles squad that is currently ranked No. 6 in the state.
The situation was similar for the Hilltoppers a year ago when they traveled to Belen. In that game, Belen grabbed a 35-8 victory, but the game wasn’t as one-sided as the final score would make it seem, with the Hilltoppers moving the ball fairly effectively on offense, although those drives would stall except for the final eight-play, 76-yard drive to the end zone.
That contest marked a turnaround of sorts for the Hilltoppers and the last hurrah for the Eagles, whose season started off promising but quickly unraveled.
This season, the Eagles (3-1) have gotten off to a strong start, led by quarterback Nick Kurtz. Kurtz is rushing for nearly 60 yards a game and throwing for 68.7 yards per game.
Kurtz ran for 136 yards on 12 carries against Los Alamos last year as Belen rolled up a whopping 321 yards on the ground.
The Eagles may be battling fatigue heading into tonight’s game, however, as they’ve played two very tough opponents in back-to-back weeks. They nipped Moriarty on the road, 34-33, then lost to the top 4A team in the state, Goddard, 27-7 last week.
On the road against Goddard, Belen was within one score of the Rockets until the fourth quarter when the Rockets started to pull away.
For Los Alamos, it rolled up nearly 400 yards of offense against Kirtland Central. Running back Arnoldo Ortiz rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns while slot receiver Seth Drop caught five passes for 98 yards.