Piedra Vista mauls Kirtland Central on Homecoming

Karl Schneider The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Homecoming went about as well as the Piedra Vista football team could have hoped for.

It took the Panthers just 48 seconds to score on their first possession, and the rest of the night went almost as smoothly for the hosts en route to a 45-8 mauling of Kirtland Central Friday night at Hutchison Stadium.

PV was able to avoid getting caught up in the homecoming-week distractions and never seemed to lose focus to pick up the win.

"Homecoming is a coach's worst week. There are so many other things going on that pull away from what you are doing," Panthers head coach Jared Howell said. "I thought the kids did a good job of focusing, and the coaches did a good job of keeping them focused."

After KC's pooch kick to open the game was returned to the Bronco 22-yard line, PV used three running plays to find the end zone, with Elijah Gamboa crossing the goal line untouched.

After forcing KC (1-4) to punt after just three plays, the Panthers (4-1) took over at their own 8-yard line and drove 92 yards in eight plays for the score.

Throughout the game, PV bottled up the Bronco offense, keying in on stopping Keishaun Aspaas and the KC running game.

"We were really concerned about Keishaun Aspaas," Howell said. "He's a really shifty running back, and he creates a lot of things, so we focused on being disciplined and not getting out of position. He's the type of running back that will bounce around and find the soft spot and hit it. He's problematic, and the kids did a good job of being disciplined in their gap assignments."

While Broncos couldn't get their offense going, the team as a whole couldn't get out of its own way and was hit with double-digit penalties in the first half.

Penalty flags flew from the referees all night, but the one that hurt the visitors the most came when the game was still in reach for KC.

On that play, Dowdy made perfect throw 43 yards down field to Aspaas, who pulled in the catch over a PV defender for a touchdown. But a holding penalty brought it back. Two plays later, the Broncos turned it over on downs.

"We knew from the Los Alamos game (last week) we needed to clean things up," KC head coach Greg Jenks said. "We felt like we left three touchdowns off the board last week against Los Alamos, and we didn't clean it up."

The Broncos looked like they would stop the Panthers on their ensuing possession, forcing a third-and-28 situation. But Montoya hit Matt Gonzales with a pass across the middle. Gonzales took advantage of the KC defense taking bad angles and scored on a 63-yard catch and run to make it 28-0.

Shawn Morris picked off Dowdy on KC's next possession, and returned the interception to the Bronco 6-yard line. Scott Ramirez punched it in on the next play.

PV's Christian Chavez connected on a 30-yard field goal just before the clock hit zero to send the game to halftime with the Panthers up 38-0.

Following halftime, the penalties against KC piled up even before PV kicked off.

KC was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for returning to the field seconds after the clock hit zero. Then the KC sideline received another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as the Panthers lined up to kick it away. Jenks declined to comment on the reason for the second penalty, but because it was the second such penalty, he was ejected from the game.

After the two 15-yard penalties, PV kicked off from the KC 30-yard line.

A couple of plays later, and after a few more flags, Chavez picked off Dowdy and returned the ball to the 15-yard line. On the next play, Gamboa broke a tackle in the backfield and found the end zone to put the Panthers up 45-0 with 8:23 left in the third quarter.

The Broncos avoided being shut out when Dowdy found Zach VanDuran for a 40-yard score with 1:40 left in the third quarter.

KC will host Zuni (2-2) next week.

PV will play a Saturday afternoon game at Roswell (4-2).

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648 and Follow him @karltschneider on Twitter.