Aztec downs Durango, KC falls to Snowflake

Tigers brush off weather delay, score game-winning touchdown with just over three minutes left

Jake Newby

FARMINGTON — The Aztec football team picked up a hard-fought win over Durango, Colo., coming back from a 12-6 deficit to edge the visiting Demons 13-12 after a lengthy weather delay threatened to end the game early at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium.

Kirtland Central senior running back Derek Curley breaks away from the pack against Snowflake, Ariz. on Friday at Bronco Stadium in Kirtland.

A thunderstorm rolled through San Juan County, forcing multiple lightning delays, and after waiting out the storm, the two teams retook the field with the Demons leading 12-6.

“It took a while to get things going, but I’m glad that we were able to get the game in,” Aztec coach Matthew Steinfeldt said. “When you have that situation, and you’re down, you start to get a little worried that (the officials) might call the game. We’re certainly happy that the weather let up and we were able to finish the game.”

Aztec’s defense came up with an interception with 3:18 remaining in the game. It took just 10 seconds for the Tigers to find the end zone to take the lead 13-12.

Steinfeldt said the pass play was the same as one the Tigers (1-1) had called earlier in the game than came up empty.

The Demons (1-1) kept pushing to drive down the field and get in field goal range, but again the Tiger defense came through with an interception to seal the win.

“Our defense went through some woes last week against a phenomenal football team in Los Lunas,” Steinfeldt said, referring to Aztec’s 64-20 loss last week. “We implemented some new things and made some corrections (on defense), and it worked extremely well.”

Aztec will play at Bayfield, Colo., (1-1) next week.

Snowflake, Ariz., 37, Kirtland Central 0 

Big plays crushed Kirtland Central tonight at home, where Snowflake, Ariz., cruised past the hosts 37-0 at Bronco Stadium.

Whether it was with the run or with the pass, the Lobos repeatedly found ways to burn KC for major yardage. The highlight of Snowflake's night came on a 98-yard touchdown pass in the first half.

Kirtland Central sophomore running back Cadan Flack finds room to run versus the Snowflake, Ariz., on Friday at Bronco Stadium in Kirtland.

Broncos coach Greg Jenks said his defensive players had issues trusting one another.

"Third play of the game, (a Snowflake player) gets the edge and scores on a long touchdown run, so then our middle linebackers start thinking they've got to get the edge instead of protecting the middle," Jenks said. "To correct it, we have to have much trust in each other, more discipline."

KC was kept off the scoreboard, but the team had its chances to score.

On two different occasions in the first half, the Broncos got close to the goal line but came away with nothing both times. Once they were stuffed on fourth and short, and another time a botched snap took them out of scoring range.

If Jenks could take anything positive from the game, he said it was the fact that, other than allowing the long touchdown plays, his defense held Snowflake to just two field goals in four other long drives.

"On their four other drives, they went punt, punt, field goal, field goal," he said.

The Broncos play their third straight home game to start the season next week against Montezuma-Cortez, Colo., (1-1). Before then, Jenks said he'll be preaching to his players avoid getting discouraged when they fall behind in a game.

"It's about not letting things constantly go from bad to worse, and that's got to be a culture change for KC football," Jenks said. "We're not always out of these games, but we let ourselves fall out of it, and that has to be a change in our mentality."

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577. 

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be rached at 505-564-4648.