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The Homecoming Football game and its accompanying events Friday began with a color guard provided by the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, displaying the American, New Mexican, Navy and Marine Corps flags. As spectators started to trickle in on this cold October night, they found the surrounding trees in high school spirit with vibrant green and gold leaves.
We were lucky to have Gene Mortensen, “the voice of KRSN,” join us once again on this crisp night for the first time after heart surgery.
As the game started Hilltopper senior Marshall Naranjo returned the kick. The first series of plays were scary, as we went for it on fourth down. After several good plays on both sides, the Chargers took command of the first quarter, building a 14-0 lead.
Even though the ‘Toppers were down, these points didn’t go unanswered, as ‘Topper Kyle Stephens had a quarterback sack and Mike Sanchez had a 48-yard return to the Charger’s 43 yard line. By the end of the first quarter the stands were packed and the game was starting to unfold.
In the second quarter, the Chargers spread their lead to 21-0 with another breakaway play, featuring their junior running back Brandon Branch. As the second quarter came to an end the field was hazy as smoke from the concession stand grills hovered.
At halftime the award-winning Los Alamos Hilltopper marching band took the field and gave an impressive display of precision marching choreography. As our homecoming court was announced, the NJROTC gave a sword arch.
Saya Shimada took the crown for homecoming queen and Oliver Funsten walked away crowned as our king. As halftime was winding down the girls soccer team surprised us with a run around the track in support of our players with “Hilltoppers” painted on their stomachs.
As the ‘Toppers kicked off to the Chargers for the start of the third quarter senior Wade Archuleta recovered the ball from a high on-side kick. With this sudden momentum quarterback Kory Balog connected a 35-yard pass to Ryan Schleft for a score.
Even though the Hilltoppers were unable to convert the extra points, we were still on the board. Toward the end of the quarter penalties plagued the Toppers from at least three Charger stops. As we headed into the fourth quarter the score was 35-6.
In the fourth quarter the Toppers found momentum as the Chargers were given a series of offensive penalties. With these, the Toppers stopped the Chargers and controlled the ball.
As the fans started to meander out of the stands, the strategy had turned into a running game that was extremely evenly matched. Then with the ’Toppers knocked back on their heels from an unfortunate string of plays, the Chargers scored a safety leaving the final score at 37-6.
Even though the Los Alamos High School Hilltoppers football game was not a huge success, this year’s homecoming week was and has been more fun filled action packed and entertaining, than the last. So with high spirits we looked forward to Saturday nights dance.
Editor’s Note: Brandon Owens is a student at Los Alamos High School.