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FARMINGTON — The toughest test of Piedra Vista’s football season proved too tough for the Panthers.

The Panthers suffered their first loss of the year, getting blown out by Manzano 41-7 this afternoon in Albuquerque.

PV coach Jared Howell said the biggest difference in the game was the depth of the Monarchs going up against an injury-riddled PV team.

“We started having injury problems, and that kind of started our demise,” Howell said. “The problem is depth and numbers. We were banged up going into the game. We had four new linemen blocking and two (junior varsity) kids in the secondary going in as backups. Depth was the big thing. I think if we’re healthy, or we have the depth to put in a kid who doesn’t have as big of a dropoff, I’m not saying we win, but we’d be competitive in that game.”

The first two possession of the game were indicative of the entire day. After receiving the opening kickoff, PV’s Elijah Gamboa fumbled the ball, and the Monarchs recovered. Manzano then converted two fourth downs on the ensuing drive before finding the end zone on a 1-yard run.

The game went into the second quarter with the score at 7-0, but the Monarchs (3-2) found the end zone three times in the second and took a 27-0 lead into halftime.

Part of Manzano’s offensive success was due to the Monarchs' up-tempo attack that didn’t allow PV (5-1) to substitute defensive players and their speed to break big plays.

“They had good running backs and great speed, and we knew if they got to the second level, they could go all the way. They’re just faster than what we have on the back end,” Howell said.

The Monarchs also took away PV’s biggest strength, its running game, by stacking eight players in the box nearly the entire game and daring the Panthers to beat them by throwing the ball.

PV scored in the final two minutes when McKay Cook crossed the goal line on a 1-yard run.

PV will host Cibola (2-4) on Friday for the Panthers District 1-6A opener.

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

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