ROSWELL — Fresh off a first-round bye, the Goddard Rockets had time to move past their loss to Roswell in their regular-season finale.
And they turned the page with a 20-10 win over Piedra Vista today at the Wool Bowl.
It was a defensive struggle from start to finish, and both teams had to overcome turnovers.
"I though Piedra Vista was an extremely physical football team," Goddard coach Chris White said. "It's two very similar styles of football ... I would have liked to have played a little cleaner, but I think in a hard-hitting game like this, the ball comes out sometimes, you saw it on both sides. I was real proud of our kids' effort."
Goddard's Robert Aragon got things rolling on fourth-and-goal from the PV 3, as he ran the ball into the end zone on a quarterback keeper, giving the Rockets the first points of the game at the 11:56 mark of the second quarter. After a failed two-point conversion attempt, it was 6-0 Goddard at that point.
Most of the third quarter would come and go before either team added points.
With 1:36 remaining in the third, Piedra Vista's Cameron Swarts threw a touchdown pass to Aiden Ackerman, giving the Panthers a 10-6 lead.
On the Rockets' next possession, they'd retake the lead, as Rion Lee outraced the Panthers' defense to the pylon, diving into the end zone for the touchdown. After the two-point conversion, it was 14-10 Goddard.
Aragon scored on another quarterback keeper with 1:44 left, securing the win for Goddard.
Piedra Vista's season ended at 8-4.
"It's the worst part of the job, saying goodbye to your kids," PV coach Jared Howell said. "We love them, we're proud of them, thanked them for everything they've done for the program. They've upheld the values and the traditions."
Goddard (9-2) will face Los Lunas in next weekend's 5A state semifinals.
John Dillmore is the editor of the Roswell Daily Record. He can be reached at 575-622-7710, extension 303.