Panthers fall at Los Lunas

Dustan Copeland, Valencia County News-Bulletin
Piedra Vista's Johnny Padgett (75) fights off Los Lunas' Tyler Kiehne (56) during Friday's season opener at LLHS.

LOS LUNAS – Los Lunas did just enough in its passing attack to top Piedra Vista, 22-6, in tonight’s season opener for both squads.

Both squads opened strong defensively, as neither team converting a first down on their first two drives.

Los Lunas eventually struck first at the 1:56 mark in the first quarter, as quarterback Nick Gaerlan connected with Andrew Garcia for a 40-yard touchdown reception. The Tigers didn’t look back from there.

Meanwhile, the Panthers’ offense suffered a big blow when quarterback Cameron Swarts suffered a lower body injury five minutes into regulation.

“Losing your quarterback in the first five minutes sucks, but that’s the game of football,” said Piedra Vista coach Jared Howell. “I think our kids handled it well.”

Trent Kiraly replaced Swarts at quarterback, diving into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown run for PV’s only score.

The Tigers generated 470 yards of total offense, while the Panthers mustered just 195 yards of total offense.

“I’m really excited about the way they played. It’s a good sign of things to come this season,” Los Lunas coach Jeremy Maupin said.

PV (0-1) will host St. Pius at 7 p.m. Aug. 31.

Dustan Copeland covers sports for the Valencia County News-Bulletin. He can be reached at 505-966-8159.