Jaguars get rolling in second half, defeat Taos 27-0

By Will Webber
wwebber@sfnewmexican.com
Posted 9/28/19

The Jaguars (3-2) snapped a scoreless tie at halftime and rolled to a 27-0 win at home against defending Class 4A state champion Taos on homecoming night. They dominated the game defensively, holding …

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Jaguars get rolling in second half, defeat Taos 27-0

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The Jaguars (3-2) snapped a scoreless tie at halftime and rolled to a 27-0 win at home against defending Class 4A state champion Taos on homecoming night. They dominated the game defensively, holding the Tigers (2-3) to just 124 yards of offense – just 41 of which came in the second half – while getting one big play after another in the third and fourth quarters from their grinding three-back set.

Friday's outcome had little to with the Tigers' offensive woes, said Tiger head coach Art Abreu Jr.

"If we don't fall short on execution on a few things in the first half, it could be different, but if I lived by woulda-coulda-shoulda, I wouldn't be where I'm at today," Abreu said. "We're still young. We'll work to get this right because we have to. That's what we're here for."

Taos has dropped three straight games, getting shut out twice. This season, the Tigers went 1-2 in the St. Michael's-Santa Fe High-Capital troika a year after sweeping the City Different teams.

"We're in a different place this year, but we'll be alright," Abreu said.

Taos was playing without starting running back Armando Valerio. Abreu suspended him for two games for disciplinary reasons.

The Jaguar's junior running back Luke Padilla scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, finally getting Capital out in front five minutes into the second half when he broke free on a 52-yard run through the left side and down the middle of the field. It came on the heels of three touchdown runs of 50-plus yards in the game the week before.

Given Capital's big-play ability in the running game, it seemed like it was just a matter of time before someone in a Jaguars uniform delivered the haymaker everyone knew was coming.

"We don't have much of a deep forward pass but we do have guys who can run 50 yards," said Jaguars head coach Bill Moon, taking time to – as always – laud the play of his offensive line.

He pointed to players like Roger Cruz, Andres Alvarado, John Casteneda, Steven Hernandez, Miguel Valencia and James Valeta, linemen who may not possess the size of most Capital rivals but play with the kind of unity Moon demands. None of them weighs more than 200 pounds.

"We don't have a lot of large kids," Moon said. "But the kids we have do the job, don't they?"

In a run-first system like Capital's, it's usually Padilla and fellow running back Gio Munoz who get most of the attention. Padilla certainly got his fair share, getting targeted as the one player Taos had to stop. The Tigers shadowed him on every play, putting the emphasis on Munoz and others to get the job done.

It wasn't until Padilla finally broke free with his first touchdown that things began to loosen up. The Jaguars ended the third quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run from Sean Ulibarri, then put the game away late in the fourth quarter with an 8-yard Padilla scoring run to cap a 76-yard drive highlighted by a 40-yard run from Munoz.

Quarterback Dion Martinez ended the night with an 8-yard touchdown run of his own.

Not to be lost in any of the scoring was the play of the Capital defense. It was the unit's second straight shutout. In consecutive wins over Moriarty and now Taos, the defense has surrendered just 292 total yards.

The only blemish on Capital's night was a leg injury to Munoz. He limped off the field with each of his arms slung over the shoulders of a pair of teammates. Moon didn't speculate on the extent of the injury but did point to the fact that no Capital offense can operate without multiple options out of the backfield.

"It's all about adjustments, and tonight we made just enough at halftime to get it done," he said.

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