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LAHS escapes Gallup with a victory

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By Phil Scherer

A week after pulling of one of the biggest upsets in recent memory, the Los Alamos High School football team traveled to Gallup High School to take on the Bengals, and it was anything but smooth. Despite moving the ball well all evening, the Hilltoppers had trouble scoring, and held on for a 7-0 victory. 

LAHS entered the game with a 3-1 record, while Gallup entered 1-4. A week earlier, the Bengals fell to Española Valley 48-6. To say these were teams that appeared headed in opposite directions would be an understatement. 

However, Friday night, they appeared as evenly matched as any two teams in the state. 

Twice in the first quarter, the Hilltoppers moved the ball down the field with ease. On the first possession, quarterback Dylan Irish connected on a pass with Jacob Dunwoody to set LAHS up inside the Gallup 10-yard line. Three plays later, Lawrence Armenta was stopped near the goal line, hading the ball to Gallup. 

After a forced punt, the Hilltoppers once again moved the ball inside the 10-yard line. But Gallup stepped up defensively again, and Irish was stopped on the 2-yard line on fourth down, giving the ball back to the Bengals. 

Gallup put together one of its best drives of the game to start the second quarter, and got the ball into Hilltopper territory. But three failed passes in a row forced Gallup to punt, setting LAHS up for the only scoring drive of the game.  

The run game opened up holes repeatedly on the drive, and Lawrence Armenta took full advantage. He had two long runs that moved the Hilltoppers down the field in a hurry and got them inside the 10-yard line for the third time in the game. 

Irish carried the ball himself to the 1-yard line, and Ryan Schwarzkopf took care of the final yard. LAHS set up with a play that appeared to go toward the right side of the field. However, it was a misdirection, as Irish pitched the ball to Schwarzopf in the backfield. He ran to the left and got into the end zone untouched, putting LAHS up 7-0 heading into halftime. 

Both LAHS possessions in the third quarter ended in turnover on downs, once 15 yards from the end zone and the other near midfield. 

Though it appeared Gallup might have been able to get back into the game, Dunwoody made sure that didn’t happen. He intercepted three balls in the second half, each of them ending promising Bengal drives. 

As the game neared its conclusion, Gallup nearly tied the game. With the ball at the LAHS 6-yard line, Gallup quarterback Spencer Williams connected with tight end Josh Lynch in the end zone. However, Gallup was called for holding, moving them back to the 21-yard line and wiping the score off the board. 

Immediately after, Dunwoody recorded his third interception, sealing the 7-0 victory for the Hilltoppers. 

With the narrow victory, LAHS is now 4-1 this season. This week, the team faces another tough test, as Hope Christian visits Sullivan Field at kick of homecoming weekend 7 p.m. Friday. 

The Huskies are one of the top teams in the state, entering with a 5-0 record. The team is currently ranked as the No. 1 team in Class 3A following a win over Bloomfield last weekend.