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LOVINGTON – Lovington and Aztec both looked to end state football semifinal droughts, and LHS came out on top with a 57-7 win in today’s 4A state quarterfinals at Brian Urlacher Field in Lovington.

“Just a dominant performance by all of our kids in all three phases,” Lovington coach Anthony Gonzales said. “That was one thing I challenged them in pre-game. With the exception of two games, offensively we have been explosive. The last five games of the year I felt our defense better every single week, and special team we are hit or miss.”

The Wildcat defense made it difficult for the Tiger offense to get much of a rhythm going.

Aztec only reached Lovington territory on three occasions, scoring once on a 63-yard touchdown run by Alex Parra. Parra finished with 96 rushing yards.

Tigers quarterback Marcquis Henry struggled against the Lovington defense, going 4-for-18 for 28 passing yards. Lovington applied a lot of pressure on Aztec’s receivers.

“Lovington did a great job they came out and played extremely well,” said Aztec coach Matthew Steinfeldt. “They are physical, they are explosive, and they did things. We didn’t have answers. They deserve to move on.”

The Wildcat offense was on full display, as quarterback Casey Perez went 13-for-18 with 274 passing yards and three touchdowns while adding 82 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

With Aztec’s season over at 8-4, Steinfeldt knows the experience of facing tough competition will help his young squad improve moving forward.

“We have been stuck in the quarterfinals for basically the last five years or so, and that’s something we have to go to the drawing board and figure out,” Steinfeldt said. “When we turn that young group we have into a veteran group, we started three or four freshmen, that experience will add up. We just sustain those younger guys through the program and advance them their seniors year and the larger class we have this year.”

Lovington (7-4) will face Portales in next weekend’s 4A state semifinals.

Eduardo Miranda covers sports for the Hobbs News-Sun. He can be reached sports1@hobbs.news.com.

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