Bloomfield — On the opening Friday of the high school football season, Bloomfield and St. Michael's proved only two words can describe the 3A division -- wide open.
The No. 1 ranked Horsemen fought off the No. 6 Bobcats 27-24 in a tight contest at Bobcat Stadium.
Both teams found the end zone four times in the game, but Bloomfield was unable to convert an extra point try, having a kick blocked and missing three two-point conversion tries, as they narrowly missed out on the Week 1 upset.
"We're every bit as good as St. Mike's," said Bloomfield head coach Bruce Hatch. "It comes down to them making three extra points and us not making any."
The two squads didn't waste any time putting points on the board, combining for three touchdowns in 27 seconds early in the first quarter.
Following a bad snap on a Bloomfield punt attempt, St. Michael's opened the scoring on a 1-yard run by Daniel Ortega to give the Horsemen a 7-0 lead with 9:01 in the first.
Bloomfield's Adrian Vigil responded immediately for the Bobcats, returning the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a score, cutting the lead to 7-6 after missing the extra point.
Not to be outdone, St. Mike's scored again 15 seconds later with 66-yard touchdown pass from Keith Dominguez to Isaiah Dominguez, giving the Horsemen a 14-6 lead at the 8:34 mark in the first quarter.
"After we gave up those two touchdowns, we kept battling back," Hatch said. "There's no quit in this team."
After the early fireworks, both defenses settled in until the middle of the second quarter, when the Bobcats found the end zone for a second time.
Bobby Lyon capped off a 12-play, 54-yard drive when he found Vigil for his second score of the game on a 6-yard pass.
Bloomfield was unable to convert the two-point conversion and went into halftime trailing 14-12.
St. Mike's expanded its lead early in the third quarter after Ortega intercepted Lyon, setting up the Horsemen at the Bloomfield 15 yard line.
Three plays later, Isaiah Dominguez scored his second touchdown on a 6-yard run to give the Horsemen a 21-12 lead.
Bloomfield again responded on the next drive, but again missed the two-point attempt.
Jacob Langford took a Lyon screen pass 43 yards for a Bobcat touchdown, cutting the St. Mike's lead to 21-18.
The Bloomfield quarterback thinks going forward with the speed the Bobcat offense has will make them a dangerous squad against any opponent.
"We can turn screens into 50 or 60 yard touchdowns. They're great guys to have," said Lyon, who threw for 210 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in the win.
St. Mike's quarterback Keith Dominguez hit another deep touchdown at the 9:19 mark of the fourth quarter, hitting Ortega on a 61-yard pass and giving the Horsemen a 27-18 lead after St. Mike's missed the extra point.
The Bobcats refused to go away however, and for the third time in the game, scored on their next possession.
Lyon threw his third touchdown of the game, this time finding Ray Sanchez on an 18-yard pass in the right corner of the end zone to cut the St. Mike's lead to 27-24 with 7:57 left in the game.
Bloomfield had a chance to steal the win late in the fourth quarter after driving to midfield with 31 seconds left, but Lyon's fourth down pass fell incomplete, sealing the win for the Horsemen.
"We were just a little long on a couple passes, but we were right there taking shots at the end of the game," Hatch said. "I'm never happy to lose. I'm disappointed by that, but I'm not disappointed in the heart and the effort our guys showed."
St. Mike's head coach Joey Fernandez was happy with the way his team managed to grind out the road win, but he knows defending the 3A title will be a tough task this season.
"We're inexperienced. Right now, it's about getting some game time," Fernandez said. "I don't see any one team above anybody else. It will come down to who stays the healthiest. Right now, we're ranked No. 1, but we're not the best team out here."
Bloomfield continues its season Friday with Pojoaque Valley on the road.
"We'll watch this film and start getting ready for Pojoaque tomorrow," Hatch said.
Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.