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FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Robertson, NMHU on short end

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By Dave Kavanaugh

 

 

 

Both the Cowboys and Ichabods demonstrated offensive balance on Friday night in Topeka, Kans. The home team just had a lot more firepower in an 82- 21 romp.

Washburn improved to 2-0 and sent New Mexico Highlands to 0-2 in a dominant performance that churned out 534 yards of offense, including 284 on the ground and 250 through the air.

That overshadowed an improved effort from Chad Roanhaus' Cowboys, who piled up 141 yards passing and 128 rushing, including a 103-yard game by Grant.

Within a span of three minutes and 15 seconds, Washburn scored three touchdowns to seize control 21-0. Dane Simoneau passed to Justin Cooper for a 7-yard TD with 10:56 left in the opening period, capping a nine-play, 63-yard drive. Grant fumbled the ball away on the Cowboys' next offensive play, and the Ichabods took over at the NMHU 25. Three plays later, Simoneau found Brad Cole for a 14-yard strike.

Grant ran for a 19-yard first down conversion on the next Highlands series. But the Cowboys ended up having to punt, and Washburn's Brody Schuler blocked it. Terrence Lowe recovered the ball and ran it back for a score. Stev Ivanisevic's extra point made it 21-0 at the 7:41 mark.

Ivanisevic tacked on a 27-yard field goal for a 24-0 cushion with 1:08 left in the first quarter.

Highlands disrupted the Ichabods' momentum when Narciso Diaz connected with T Lee on a 26-yard bomb at the 10:20 mark of the second quarter. L Marin's point-after try made it 24-7.

But Washburn responded immediately, and on the second play of the ensuing series, Marcus Mau torched the Cowboy defense for a 70-yard scamper to the end zone.

Another blocked punt led to a safety and a 33-7 margin. Washburn quickly made it 40-7 on a 19-yard Simoneau TD toss to Lloyd Bias. After NMHU fumbled the ensuing kickoff, the Ichabods capitalized again, finishing a drive with a 1-yard Brad Haug score.

Another Cowboy fumble led to a Vershon Moore 4-yard touchdown run. And then the third blocked NMHU punt of the evening led to a Simoneau-to-Schuler score from 8 yards out. At halftime, it was 61-7.

The Cowboys battled on, taking the first possession of the third quarter 75 yards in 12 plays and finishing with a J Mendoza goal-line TD throw to J Dericek.

Washburn backup QB Cameron Kasel guided the Ichabods to two more scores by the end of the period.

Trailing 75-14 early in the fourth quarter, NMHU found the end zone a third time on Grant's 4-yard TD run with 11:11 left.

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In the NFL, the so-called Wildcat offense has really taken off, using the simple principle that opposing defenses should never be too sure which player will get the snap from center.

In Friday night's Robertson-Lovington game, the Wildcat offense worked no matter who was taking snaps from center.

Lovington (1-1) had three quarterbacks rotate into the contest, all successfully, and two of them -- juniors Jacob Jameson and Kyler Gilbreath -- orchestrated what may be the state's best gridiron attack in a 44-0 defeat of host Robertson (0-2).

Jameson started, and on a 10-yard pitch to O.T. Woods, guided the Wildcats to the end zone for the first time at the 6:48 mark in the opening quarter. That score was set up by a Lovington fumble recovery, the first of several RHS turnovers that would play a huge role in deciding the outcome.

Indeed, the Cardinal defense seemed to play better than it had a week earlier at Portales in a 42-41 loss. But it was the offense's turn to struggle this week, coughing the ball up early and often and leaving the burden to the D.

To its credit, Robertson mostly kept the Cats honest, largely with a pass rush that denied big plays. But whether the cannon-armed Jameson or the quick-thinking Gilbreath was playing QB, Lovington found ways to march up field and reach paydirt.

Jameson punched in from a yard out, and Rafael Herrera booted the extra point for a 14-0 lead with 2:13 to go in the first.

Robertson's Luis Lopez, snatching the ball away from Dominic Moreno for an interception, gave possession to RHS late in the period. But the Cardinals could not capitalize, and Jameson hooked up with Moreno after all, on a 25-yard TD with 8:29 left in the second.

Woods came up with a fumble recovery and ran it 34 yards for a Lovington touchdown at the 5:37 mark. Herrera made it 28-0, later missing -- just barely -- a field goal attempt from nearly 50 yards.

Wildcat Korbin Gilbreath picked off Daniel Martinez and gave the Cats possession at the RHS 46 with 15 seconds left until halftime. QB Gilbreath connected with his brother for a 36-yard gain to the RHS 10, but the Cards held on to deny the score.

That defensive momentum seemed to carry into the second half, as Robertson pitched a three-and-out on the first series.

Lovington added to its lead, however, when Jameson scrambled for a 9-yard score with 7:04 left in the third. And a safety ticketed against the home team made it 37-0 with 4:17 left. That triggered the mercy-rule running clock.

After a run in the red zone by Woods, Gilbreath ran in from 4 yards out with 9:46 to go, with Herrera's point-after try the last points of the evening.

West Las Vegas (0-1) hosts Estancia 3 p.m. Saturday at Perkins Stadium.