LAHS football ends season with loss to Capital

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By Jose Corral

The more Capital handed the ball to JR Vargas, the more evident it became that Los Alamos' season was coming to an end.

The Hilltoppers closed the season with a 48-13 loss to Capital on Friday at Sullivan Field. Los Alamos finished 5-5 overall and 2-2 in District 2-5A play, and will miss the state playoffs for the fifth-consecutive season.

"We didn't execute well upfront," Los Alamos coach Garett Williams said. "The number one thing we tried do was stop the run. And they just ran straight (isolation) right at us."

Vargas led the Jaguars with three rushing touchdowns of four, 47 and 90 yards. His first touchdown gave Capital a 14-0 lead going into halftime.

"We just didn't tackle," Williams said. "Our guys fought hard and they didn't quit. But we just didn't play well in that second half. They just switched the momentum kind of fast on us."

On the opening kick off of the second half, the Jaguars got a 61 yard return to set them up on the Los Alamos 19-yard line. However, the Hilltoppers were able to stop Capital on fourth down and get the ball back on their own 24-yard line.

Two plays later, Los Alamos cut the lead to 14-7 with a 71-yard pass play from Nick Quartieri to Kevin Maresca with 8:45 left in the third quarter. That Hilltopper momentum was stalled later in the third quarter when Mark Segura found Abe Sanchez for a 54-yard touchdown pass to give Capital a 20-7 lead.

"It (the momentum) just switched so fast there at the end," Williams said. "I'm still proud of this group of seniors and the way that they've conducted themselves. Regardless of what the scoreboard says, these seniors have been a great crew."

It was all Capital from there. The Jaguars forced a Los Alamos turnover on downs on the next drive and capitalized with a 47-yard touchdown run by Vargas to extend the lead to 27-7. And with 22 seconds left in the third quarter, Segura found the end zone after a 58-yard touchdown run that put Capital ahead 34-7.

In an attempt to generate big plays, Travis Gonzales was moved to quarterback to start the fourth quarter and Quartieri was moved to receiver. But Gonzales was intercepted on the Capital 10-yard line. One play later, Vargas took it to the house for a 90-yard touchdown run to seal the Hilltoppers fate.

"This season was just a lot of ups and downs," Williams said. "At times we really executed well and other times we had some lapses where we didn't play good."

Down 48-7 with one minute remaining, Los Alamos didn't let up and marched down the field to score a 10-yard touchdown from Quartieri to Maresca.

Quartieri finished his stellar Los Alamos career with 151 passing yards and 21 rushing yards. Maresca finished with 143 rushing yards on 11 carries and six receptions, including three in the final drive.

"I'm proud of the way these guys finished," Williams said. "That's what I wanted. I just wanted to see those guys finish. It's always hard, especially for those guys, playing there last one but it was good to see them keep fighting."