FARMINGTON — A week after surrendering just 25 points to 5A Manzano, the Aztec Tigers gave up 55 to Del Norte.
Aztec (2-4) fell on the road in Albuquerque to Del Norte 55-41 at Milne Stadium on Friday night.
The Knights (4-2) got out to an early 26-0 lead as Aztec's offense went three and out on its first several possessions. A botched snap on a punt also set Del Norte up with a short field for its second touchdown.
"They just came out with great momentum. A number of things bounced their way early on," said Aztec head coach Matt Steinfeldt. "I felt like the boys battled and put themselves in position to win the game. In the end, it just didn't go our way."
Del Norte running back Daryl Wiggins torched the Tigers in the first half for several scores. Aztec stacked the box in the second half to try to limit his production, but the Tigers couldn't stop Del Norte from scoring most of the game.
"Our defense continues to get better in certain areas, but we need to put a consistent game together on both sides of the ball," Steinfeldt said. "It comes down to getting our players to execute. That is on us as coaches."
Aztec quarterback Marcus Crawford threw three touchdown passes and two interceptions in the game. Josh Harris was on the receiving end of two scores and Noah Frohn on another.
Aztec running back Ryneal Lewis-Adams rushed for another two Aztec touchdowns. Garrett Heyden got his first start at safety for Aztec, and he returned a fumbled 49 yards for another Tigers touchdown.
Aztec got within five points of Del Norte in the third quarter at 39-34, but Del Norte got another easy rushing touchdown on the following drive and a Crawford interception set the Knights up for another score.
The Tigers have one more non-district game remaining on the schedule. It comes next weekend at St. Pius X in a game that will be played at the University of New Mexico Stadium. At 2-4, every game is critical for Aztec in terms of playoff seeding. For the Tigers, the focus is on winning District 1-4A.
"There is no question the only record that will matter for us is what we do in district," Steinfeldt said. "We gotta have confidence going into it. We need to put a full game together in a great environment like UNM and try to come out with a win and confidence before we go into a bye week and then into district."
Piedra Vista 47, Bernalillo 0
The Panthers picked up their first road win of the season in dominant fashion over Bernalillo.
"It was good to know we came in with a plan and we executed," said PV head coach Jared Howell. "We were able to work on things and do things correctly."
Piedra Vista (4-2) jumped on the Spartans 14-0 in the first quarter thanks to a punt return and rushing touchdowns by Beau Clafton.
The Panthers added on three more scores in the second quarter to take a 34-0 lead in halftime.
Howell was most impressed by his team's improvement on defense after struggling on that side of the ball last week in a loss to Moriarty.
"Defense and tackling, along with assignment errors, were the things we were working on," Howell said. "We had minor things we did wrong in the running game that we cleaned up."
The Panthers tacked on two more scores against Bernalillo (0-6) in the second half as they cruised to the easy victory.
Clafton ended the game with four touchdowns, while Luis Deleon and Zach Ahlgrim added one.
The Panthers will have a bye next week as they prepare for their final game before the district schedule against St. Pius X on Oct. 19.
"It will be good to get the kids healthy and continue focusing on getting better," Howell said. "It's the last game before district. Everything we're doing now is to work on getting better for the district games."
Kirtland Central 44, Gallup 13
The Broncos started slowly in their first road game of season but recovered in the second half to blow out the Bengals.
"It wasn't that we played badly in the first half," said KCHS head coach Kevin Graham. "We just didn't execute, but we came out in the second half and played well."
Gallup (2-3) opened up with a solid first half to take a 13-12 lead over Kirtland (4-1) into halftime.
In the second half, KCHS reeled off 32 consecutive points to run away with the win.
The Broncos had a balanced offense attack as both quarterbacks Rashaan Sorrelhorse and Jacob Flack threw touchdown passes and scored on the ground.
"It was more balanced than normal," Graham said. "We threw it more tonight because they were packing people in the box."
The defense had a strong game for the Broncos, intercepting the Gallup quarterback six times.
"The defense was good," Graham said. "They were running around and flying to the ball."
Kirtland will play the second of five straight road games next Friday at Capital.