The 2013 football season started with a mercy-rule loss for the Aztec Tigers.
No. 2 Los Lunas handed Aztec a 50-0 road loss on Friday night in the season opener for both schools.
Aztec head coach Matt Steinfeldt estimated his team ran only 35 offensive plays while struggling to convert on third down.
"We are very disappointed with the outcome of the game," Steinfeldt said. "We felt a lot more confident going into the game than what the result was."
Though the loss was lopsided, Steinfeldt still has confidence in his squad.
The Tigers lost their season opener to Los Lunas a year ago 50-28 before a mercy-rule loss to Goddard in Week 2. The Tigers still rebounded and reached the state semifinals before losing again to Los Lunas 24-20.
"We walked off the field believing we still have a phenomenal football team that will grow as the season goes," Steinfeldt said. "This is a young team that will have a lot of chances to demonstrate their ability and to improve throughout the season just like last year's team."
Ryneal Lewis-Adams rushed for over 100 yards in the game despite the offense's struggles, Steinfeldt said.
"Ryneal played tough for us. We tried to get him the ball as much as we could, but we just didn't have the ball enough," Steinfeldt said.
First-year starting quarterback Marcus Crawford struggled a bit in the game. A fumble on a key drive in the first quarter deep in Los Lunas territory hurt the Tigers, and Los Lunas scored on a 98-yard touchdown pass just two plays later to make matters worse for Aztec. Crawford also threw a first-half interception.
"I think anytime you start your first game and it is against one of the top two teams in the state, it is going to be a challenge," Steinfeldt said. "They challenged him, but he certainly showed some blocks on which we can build going forward."
The road won't get any easier for Aztec in Week 2 as the Tigers host No. 1 Goddard.
"We are excited for that game still. My predecessor left us with a tough schedule, and we knew the early portion of our seasons would be tough with the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the state," Steinfeldt said. "I already have some film on Goddard, and we will do a lot more of that this week. We are excited for our first home game, and we feel like there is still a lot we can do this year."John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.