Aztec runs over KC 62-35 on homecoming

Cody Smith decimates the Broncos through the air and on the ground

Jake Newby
  • Cody Smith ran for over 100 yards and scored multiple touchdowns to lead Aztec to the district victory.
  • Zach Van Duren accounted for all five of Kirtland Central's touchdowns.
  • The Tigers got great production out of a three-man running back rotation.

FARMINGTON — The Aztec football team tallied a whopping 62 points for the second consecutive game tonight, and this time District 1-5A rival Kirtland Central was the victim.

Aztec's Cody Smith scores a touchdown against Kirtland Central on Friday at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium in Aztec.

The Tigers pounded Cobre 62-31 last week and won by nearly the same margin this week when they trounced KC 62-35 at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium in Aztec's homecoming game.

Aztec (3-3, 1-0) dual-threat quarterback Cody Smith ran wild with more than 100 yards rushing in the game, and he also hurt the Broncos with multiple TD passes. KC coach Greg Jenks said he thinks Smith is about as good as it gets for his position.

"If he's not the best quarterback in the state, then I'm not sure who is," Jenks said of Smith.

Smith and Kirtland Central (4-2, 0-1) super-utility man Zach Van Duren put on a show in the first half, one that featured 52 total points.

Smith rushed for 91 yards in the opening half alone, while throwing for one touchdown and rushing for another. He would have had two touchdown passes had Sebastian McNeal not tripped and fallen on the 1-yard line after a 59-yard hookup in the closing seconds of the first quarter.

Van Duren, meanwhile, accounted for all three KC touchdowns in the first half. He scored in a variety of ways.

Kirtland Central's Cochise Sorrelhorse breaks up a pass intended for Aztec's Sebastian McNeal on Oct. 7 at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium in Aztec.

The athletic senior caught a 9-yard touchdown on the first drive of the game, rushed for a 68-yard score on the first play of the second quarter and made the Aztec special teams look silly on a 99-yard kick return for a TD inside the final minute of the half. When his across-field cutting is accounted for, Van Duren ran for more than 130 yards on the play.

Aztec coach Matt Steinfeldt said the Van Duren kick return was a tough blow to recover from.

"That's obviously not where we wanted to be after going up 31-14," Steinfeldt said. "We thought we were in a great position, and then things got tight on us again all of a sudden."

Aztec's offense could not be stopped in the first half, and it scored on every possession. Van Duren's one-man army routine was impressive, but he couldn't keep up with Aztec's frenetic scoring pace by himself.

The Tiger defense made plays when it had to, as evidenced by its recovery of a fumble on a screen pass in the first quarter. Aztec also forced KC to turn it over on downs, when the Broncos questionably faked a punt and ran it on fourth and 9, despite being backed up to their own 20-yard line at the time.

Still hot, Smith came out in the second half with a long touchdown pass on Aztec's first drive.

Kirtland Central's Jacob Franco carries the ball against Aztec on Friday at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium in Aztec.

Smith wasn't the only Tiger running the ball effectively, as the hosts got great production out of running backs Austin Clay, Orlando Valenzuela and Zach Taylor in the game.

Jenks said he was proud of his team for playing tough, even when it was overpowered defensively.

"We did not execute on defense — we were ready with cover 2s and cover 3s and still couldn't get it done," Jenks said. "But this process of becoming a strong, tough team is a process I feel like we're advancing forward."

Van Duren took over at quarterback for a banged-up Bryson Dowdy after halftime and scored two more rushing TD's in the loss.

Aztec visits Bloomfield (3-3, 0-1) next week in a showdown between teams with the same overall record. The Broncos go into Farmington (1-4-1, 1-0) with a bounce-back effort in mind.

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