'Toppers show Tigers no love

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By The Staff

It's always hard to see your team lose, but it's even worse when your home team is completely obliterated. Such was the case for the unhappy Taos Tiger fans as they left the field on Friday night following a visit from the Hilltopper football team. In their first 2AAAA game, the Hilltoppers left the Tigers scoreless, as they went on to a 48-0 win.

The first quarter started out a little shaky for the Tigers, but Los Alamos' David Brock got the party started by scoring the first touchdown for the Hilltoppers in the first few minutes of the game. Zachary Mang was back on the field last night, following a brief suspension. The Los Alamos defense was looking good, as the 'Toppers held the Tigers back, allowing Mang to score the second touchdown of the night. L.A. tried for a two-point conversion, but there was a flag on the play, which resulted in the ball being moved to the 8-yard line. The 'Toppers tried again and this time were successful in getting the two-point conversion. After a penalty and a couple of incomplete passes, Mang got the ball and scored yet another touchdown with 4:44 left in the first quarter. Max Argo followed up with a field goal, to give the 'Toppers a good lead.

Taos' Travis Wilder, Zack Gonzales, Diego Barrone, and Nick Zarasus tried their hardest to keep the 'Toppers at bay, but they would not be stopped. Barrone got a flag on the play for holding and the ball was pushed back to the 48-yard line. Mang passed the ball to Brock, but the pass was incomplete and the ball was turned over to the Tigers.

The Tigers went into the second quarter lagging behind, but not all hope was lost yet. Max Argo's first kick was no good, and on the second kick, Taos' Paul Romo got the return. The ball was then intercepted by Taos' Joe Casias for the first down. One good turn deserved another, as Taos' Dakota Swinehart threw the ball and Mang intercepted it. Taos' Mike Trujillo was in on the stop, but Los Alamos got the first down anyway, with Kyle Lupenski on the carry. The second quarter was much of the same, with Taos' defense trying to stop the 'Toppers, and the 'Toppers running amok. Lupenski scored, giving the 'Toppers a 33-0 lead with 3:09 left in the second quarter. Lupenski then followed up with a two-point conversion. Right before the end of the first half, Los Alamos intercepted the ball again, for a first and 10. Taos' frustration was beginning to show, as they were penalized for face masking and later received a flag on a play for pass interference.

Taos' defense came back a little stronger, in the second half, but it did little good. Mang continued to run the ball and Taos continued to get frustrated. Taos' Travis Wilder was ejected during the third quarter for unsportsmanlike conduct. As he was walking off the field, he removed his helmet and threw it to the ground. The third quarter was filled with incomplete passes from Taos' Swinehart. Los Alamos capitalized on Taos' bad luck and scored another touchdown with 1:17 left in the third quarter.

By the fourth quarter, with the game all but over, Taos saw a small ray of hope to get on the scoreboard when Los Alamos' Brock fumbled the ball and Taos recovered it. It was then the Tigers' ball on their own 13, with a 1st and 10. Taos' hopes were short-lived as the Tigers' Joel Casias was sacked by the 'Toppers Seth Holsapple. The Tigers gained 6 yards on that play. Taos' Swinehart threw the ball to Joel Casias, but Casias fumbled it and the 'Toppers recovered the ball with 11:05 left in the game. Los Alamos' Zak Wilde scored another one for the 'Toppers, and Argo's field goal was also good, giving Los Alamos a 48-0 lead. Taos was never able to score, much less recover, and the game was stopped with 4:22 minutes on the board.

Los Alamos Head Coach Bob Scott was proud of his team's accomplishment. "They played really well. We were sluggish and down in the dumps with everything that's been going on," he said. "Brock had a heck of a night. He stepped up his game." Scott said that getting Mang back was nice, and it may have been a team booster. "It was a good win. We had three losses in a row. Last week was a heartbreaker," he continued. He said that he hopes they will get Raul Rodriguez and Corey Clark back in time for the Farmington game.