Look back in the West Las Vegas record books, and the names Cruz Flores, Ralph Duran, Michael Lopez, Jesus Lopez and Frank “Harpo” Sanchez come to mind when you hear the word touchdowns.
Well, there may be a new name to add to that list, and that is Derek Gold.
Gold scored five touchdowns Friday night as the Dons defeated Crownpoint 55-8. In the past two weeks, the West senior signalcaller has gone off for nine touchdowns. In all, Gold has scored 11 TDs thus far as the Dons improved to 3-1.
The Dons scored on their first five possessions Friday night. Gold started the scoring fest with a 4-yard run after Jon-Jon Martinez scampered 26 yards to put the Dons in scoring position. After holding the Eagles to negative yardage on their next possession, Jared Gallegos returned a punt 26 yards to midfield. On the first play of the drive, Gold scored on a 50-yard run and then hit John Armijo in the back of the end zone for a 2-point conversion and a 14-0 lead midway through the first period.
Head coach Mike Maldonado has been concerned about the poor tackling performance of his team the first three weeks of the season. That was not the case on this night as once again the Dons will hold the Eagles to a three-and-out and once again Gallegos would have a nice punt return, this time for 32 yards. Zack Armijo got into the act at the 2:48 mark of the period, going 42 yards for a score; it was 21-0 after Gold’s extra-point kick.
The Dons’ John Armijo scored on the first play of the second quarter. This time it was a run of 60 yards; Gold kicked the point-after for a 28-0 lead. Gold scored his third touchdown of the night, racing 22 yards, and scored the 2-point conversion for a 36-0 West advantage.
Crownpoint managed to get on the board late in the half as fullback Kyle Yazzie burst up the middle for a 63-yard run to paydirt. The Eagles scored a 2-point conversion, but the Dons answered; Gold scored on a 80-yard run as West took a 42-8 lead at the intermission.
In the second half, Gold struck again in the third period, scoring on a 15-yard run, and John Armijo scored his second touchdown on a 52-yard run, also in the third period, to complete the scoring.
The Dons defense limited the Eagles to 57 yards of total offense.
West is off until Oct. 3 when the Dons play Santa Fe Indian School at Perkins Stadium.
A long, wild ride of a game left New Mexico Highlands looking a long way up at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference football standings.
After six lead changes and an hour-plus delay brought by lightning strikes in the area, Western State (1-2, 1-1) spoiled the home debut for Highlands (0-4, 0-2) with a 34-31 win Saturday at Perkins Stadium.
The Cowboys piled up 480 offensive yards, easily their best output of the season. Randall Brown, who scored the game’s final touchdown to pull NMHU within a possession of victory, ran the ball 17 times for 116 yards and two scores. Jon Ligons caught 10 of Narciso Diaz’s 41 passes for 165 yards and one TD.
But the home team was hurt by three interceptions and defensive lapses that surrendered yardage to the Mountaineers in significant chunks.
WSC’s Nathan Acrey, for example, broke loose for a 33-yard TD run to open scoring at the 13:20 mark of the first quarter.
The Cowboys tied it moments later when Diaz hit Ligons on a 58-yard pass; a long Highlands march leading to a field goal put the home team in front 10-7 with 12:46 left in the second period. Shortly thereafter, game officials wary of lightning in the vicinity ordered a stoppage of play.
Western State came out after the break and regained control when Cameron Merrill hooked up with Shaun Suttorp for a 53-yard strike.
On the ensuing drive, NMHU answered. Brown scampered 26 yards for a touchdown, and Rivera’s kick made it 17-14 Cowboys with 8:49 left in the half.
Merrill passed to J.R. Finley for a 22-yard TD, capping a 14-play drive that put WSC up 21-17 with 45 seconds to go. But the Cowboys seemingly had the momentum in their favor with a quick strike — a 67-yard bomb from Diaz to Smith — just before halftime.
The lead switched hands for the sixth and last time, however, on Acrey’s goal-line plunge into the end zone midway through the third, the period’s only score. The Mountaineers pushed their lead to 10, the biggest by either team, on Merrill’s 49-yard, one-play drive pass to Curtis Prock with 13:37 remaining.
Brown’s 4-yard TD run cut the deficit back to three with 11:27 left. But the Cowboys struggled down the stretch — Diaz was picked off in the WSC end zone by Davion Rogers —and neither team scored again.
Diaz finished 26-of-41 for 373 yards, two TDs and three interceptions.
Tevita Poe had a fine day to pace the Cowboy defense, recording six solo tackles and assisting on eight others.
NMHU picked up its second win in women’s soccer this season after splitting a weekend homestand.
The Cowgirls (2-5-1) gave up two second-half goals Friday in a 2-0 loss to Colorado School of Mines. Elizabeth Oba and Diane Wetzel scored for CSM (3-1-2).
But on Sunday, Highlands broke through in the 23rd minute as Monica Vasquez fed Yolanda Elias for the eventual game-winner in a 1-0 defensive contest.
NMHU keeper Shannon Delarosbil notched 13 saves in the two matches.
Robertson placed two players — setter Daniella Montoya and middle hitter Brooke Knezevich — on the all-tourney team of the Santa Fe Tournament of Champions volleyball event over the weekend.
RHS finished fourth in the top bracket after dropping a tight five-set battle to Class 5A Clovis. The Lady Cards seemed to be in control after winning the first two games 25-18 and 25-19, but the Wildcats narrowly avoided the sweep with a 28-26 squeaker and prevailed 25-14 and 15-11 to steal the match.
District 2-3A rival Pojoaque topped Piedra Vista in the final. The Elkettes had swept RHS in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, West Las Vegas coach Brian Gurule must be wondering what is going on with the Lady Dons. After winning four straight, the Lady Dons have hit a speed bump the size of Mount Everest. West has dropped four straight including three this past weekend.
West entered bracket play finishing second in their pool. In the opening round of the Gold Bracket, West made a statement, or so it appeared, dropping a five-game match to No.2-ranked Pojoaque. In Saturday’s action, West was swept by district rival Santa Fe Indian School, 3-0. In the final game, West lost to tourney host Santa Fe High 3-1 in the seventh-place match.
NMHU volleyball climbed back to .500 with a weekend road split, first falling in three at Adams State and then winning in four at Colorado State-Pueblo.
Ashley Murray had 20 kills combined in the two matches (14 Saturday at CSUP) and Doreen Zamora had 19 (16 Saturday).
Robertson’s soccer teams endured a difficult weekend, with each squad getting shut out on the road.
The Lady Cardinals lost 3-0 at Hope Christian. “The field at Hope is very wide (about 15 yards wider than ours) and we had problems adapting to the width and Hope’s speed,” said coach Ray Parks. “They were big and physical, but I felt we kept with them defensively through most of the game. The team made a few mistakes and Hope took advantage. Our offense never really got on track and the few opportunities that we did have weren’t taken advantage of. When you play a team of Hope’s caliber, you learn where your weaknesses are. That should at least help us in preparing for Socorro next weekend.”
Meanwhile, also Saturday, the RHS boys sustained a 10-0 loss at Goddard.
“We took a step backward,” said coach Clarence Montoya, who said the Rockets enjoyed advantages in size, strength and experience.
See Tuesday’s Optic for cross country coverage from weekend meets.