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AZTEC — Injuries have been a recurring theme for the Aztec football team early in the season, and the Tigers didn't get any healthier in Saturday's 26-9 road loss to Del Norte.

Three Aztec offensive starters got hurt Saturday, according to head coach Matt Steinfeldt, joining five other Tiger starters on offense who have succumbed to injury in previous weeks.

Steinfeldt said he's lost six or seven players to injury on defense, as well.

"Unfortunately, it's been hard to assess ourselves because of all the injuries," Steinfeldt said. "We knew that we had a solid team this year, and I still think we do. We just have to find guys who will step up when those injuries occur."

The Knights (2-2) were able to trump the Tigers (1-3) with their long, sustained drives.

"(Del Norte) really ate up a lot of clock today, and they did it with their run game," Steinfeldt said.

The Tigers faced a 13-3 deficit by halftime.

In the third quarter, Cody Smith threw a scoring pass to Jake Taylor for Aztec's only touchdown of the day.

The Tigers play a Saturday game again next week when they journey to Bayard to play Cobre (2-2).

Steinfeldt, who said he can't wait to get back to playing on Friday nights, said he's going to need more contributions from his younger players next week and beyond.

"We have to coach up these talented freshmen and sophomores who are getting a phenomenal opportunity to play varsity football," he said. "As coaches, we have to do a great job of getting those kids to prepared to play. Hopefully, those kids will want to step up to the challenge."

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and jnewby@daily-times.com. Follow him @JakeNewby07 on Twitter.

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