Cobre put a quick end to the Robertson football season Saturday afternoon in Bayard, moving the ball efficiently and exploiting several Cardinal turnovers to take a 37-10 win.
The Indians (9-2 overall) move on to the Class 3A state quarterfinals, specifically an unenviable matchup with third-seeded Portales this coming weekend. Cobre is the No. 6 seed in the bracket.
For the Cardinals (2-9), Saturday’s game kept alive the program’s streak of postseason appearances but brought a close to what has been a difficult season on multiple levels.
On a positive note for Robertson, the team doesn’t have many seniors to lose as had been the case with robust, talented senior classes of recent seasons. But this class includes such standouts as Nathan Abreu, a gifted playmaker on offense, defense and special teams.
Cobre’s first-half dominance on defense produced several RHS turnovers and a safety, while the Indians reached the end zone three times. Only a field goal — a rarity for the team — broke the ice for Robertson in the early going.
Robertson trailed 23-3 but had the ball moving in a promising third-quarter drive that could have transformed the game into a two-score affair. Instead, the Indians picked off a Daniel Martinez pass and quickly made the Redbirds pay on the other end. A few plays later, Nick Madrid scored a rushing touchdown. With 1:06 left in the third, Cobre led 30-3 — a four-possession margin.
The Cardinals cut the gap to 30-10 with 10:07 remaining in the fourth quarter. Aided by a pair of face mask penalties that gave them multiple chances inside the Cobre red zone, the Cards scored on a 3-yard Miguel Garcia TD; Estevan Vigil’s extra point was successful. It was the only time RHS would reach the end zone.
Cobre capped the day’s scoring with an 8-yard strike by versatile junior James Dominguez, who ran in with 5:26 left.
In other Class 3A first-round playoff action Saturday, No. 5 St. Michael’s stomped Wingate 56-20 and will play at No. 4 Socorro. No. 7 Raton romped 44-24 over Albuquerque Academy and plays at No. 2 Bloomfield. And in what should have been one of the closest playoff matchups of the weekend, No. 8 Ruidoso spanked No. 9 Hatch Valley 29-0 for the right to visit the blue carpet of Lovington, the top seed in 3A.
The Lovington-Ruidoso winner will play the Socorro-St. Mike’s winner in one semifinal; the Bloomfield-Raton victor takes on the Cobre-Portales winner in the other.
Roman Andrade scored a game-high 23 points and Mindaugas Markevicus had 20 to lead the New Mexico Highlands men’s basketball team to a rousing 81-74 win Saturday night.
The victory was the home and season opener for NMHU, as well as the regular-season head coaching debut of Joe Harge.
Highlands and Eastern played a close first half, with the Cowboys taking a 40-35 lead at intermission. They led by as many as 18 points in the second half, but the Greyhounds made a run to get back in it.
The Cowboys held the Hounds to one field goal over the first eight and a half minutes of the second half. A three-pointer by former Pojoaque Valley star Ryan Gonzalez gave Highlands a 64-46 cushion with 11:09 left in the game.
Donovan Schultz hit a three and Kelvin Franklin scored nine of his team-high 18 points as the Hounds whittled the lead back down to single digits before time ran out.
Andrade, a junior from Albuquerque, shot eight of 14 overall and hit four of six from long range in a 23-point, four-rebound night. Markevicus connected on seven of eight free throws on the way to 20 points. Chris Dunn was credited with 15 points and four blocked shots.
ENMU got a good offensive game from Franklin and Justin Reynolds, who hit six of 12 shots and all five of his free throws for 17 points. Schultz grabbed a game-best eight boards.
Neither team shot particularly well, with Highlands’ field goal accuracy 37 percent and Eastern’s 35 percent.
The NMHU-ENMU theme continues Monday night as the Cowgirls and new coach Tiffany Darling open their season against the Zias. Tipoff is 6 p.m. at the Wilson Complex.
New Mexico Highlands heavyweight wrestlers Jesse Boggs and Louis Thornton made it to the finals in the elite and amateur divisions, respectively, of Saturday’s University of Wyoming Cowboy Open in Laramie.
Boggs went 3-1, losing 1-0 to Landon Harris of Northwest Wyoming in the elite final. Thornton also went 3-1, falling to Christian Flavin (unattached) via a 3-0 decision.
Highlands’ Jesse Feinsod placed fourth at 174 lbs. in the elite bracket.
The Wyoming event was the season opener for NMHU and coach Doug Moses.
For more coverage of the Cowboy Open and other weekend sports, see Tuesday’s Optic.