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Homecoming triumph!

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By Dave Kavanaugh

It didn’t take long Friday night for the West Las Vegas Dons to end their scoreless drought.

Five minutes and 25 seconds into West’s homecoming game with Crownpoint, George Martinez hit Spencer Parson for an 11-yard touchdown, giving the Dons their first points of the season.

There would be more where that came from.

Looking increasingly cohesive, the Dons scored six first-half touchdowns en route to a 49-6 victory in front of a couple thousand fans at Perkins Stadium.

“I knew it was coming,” said Parson. “It had to come eventually.”

Parson, one of just a few seniors on coach Mike Ulibarri’s squad, had been highlighting West’ efforts with his play on defense, breaking up and picking off passes. So there was some irony to his scoring the season’s first TD — on offense.

“My brother told me I was going to score the first one,” he said.

It took 150-plus minutes this season to get that elusive first score, but it didn’t take long for the Dons to get the second.

Jared Gallegos pounced on the ball when Crownpoint fumbled away the ensuing possession just 15 seconds later. The fumble recovery led to a 1-yard Michael Armijo TD run with 4:35 left in the quarter.

Another turnover by the Eagles — an interception returned 21 yards to paydirt by Steven Salinas — gave WLV another touchdown. Gallegos’ extra point made it 20-0 with 2:24 left in the period.

Gallegos, incidentally, had a huge night. He kicked three extra points, threw for one 2-point conversion and ran for another. His kickoffs were consistently effective, with one bouncing to the Eagles’ 4-yard line. He played solid defense on the edge, and he caught one of Martinez’s TD passes, running for another.

Despite that kind of performance for the home team, Crownpoint battled gamely back, relying on seemingly every rushing play and player available.

A reverse play from Shawn Cayatineto to Jerreth Martin opened the second quarter with a 19-yard gain — easily the biggest to that point for the Eagles — and set up a 2-yard QB keeper by Tyron Tsosie to make it 20-6 at the 9:59 mark.

After stuffing West’s next drive, the Eagles seemed to have some momentum. But they lost the ball on a botched fourth down conversion attempt. And Martinez made them pay, passing to Adrian Lucero for a 24-yard TD. With 7:17 left, the Dons led 27-6.

Martinez later connected with Gallegos on a 25-yard strike that made it 33-6 with 3:13 to go before halftime.

After another effective series by the Dons defense, Johnathan Roybal’s long punt return fell just short of the end zone. Gallegos punched in on the next play, and his lob to Parson for a 2-point conversion made it 41-6 with 48 seconds left in the half. That would be the halfime score after two quick turnovers (a fumble recovery by Corey Archibeque and a defensive pick by Tsosie) ended the period.

Two lost fumbles opened the third period, and two interceptions (the latter by Roybal) helped keep the quarter scoreless.

Archibeque intercepted his second ball of the game in the fourth, running it back roughly 50 yards for a TD; Gallegos’ 2-point rush made it 49-6 with 6:15 left.

“This was a major icebreaker,” Gallegos said. “It’s major. It’s my senior year and we hadn’t scored a TD (before Friday). But I don’t know if we celebrate; we have a tough opponent next week (at Cobre).”

“This is a big win for the team, but a small win for our season.”