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Bloomfield quarterback Vince Marquez

Marquez got off to a fast start in last Saturday’s 4A state quarterfinals, dissecting Ruidoso’s secondary for five touchdown passes during Bloomfield’s first five possessions.

Bloomfield had a 40-7 lead by halftime, eventually winning 47-27.

Bloomfield’s stout defense, which is giving up just 13.2 points a game entering Saturday’s 4A state semifinals at Bobcat Stadium, will have another tall order against Grants’ offense.

The Pirates are averaging 45.9 points a game coming in.

It’s critical that Marquez again does damage in the passing game quickly because the defense will have a tall order just ahead.

Grants running back Isaiah Johnson

Time and again, Johnson showcased his ability to slash through traffic and break away for big runs.

He ran for two touchdowns in last Saturday's 56-13 4A quarterfinals win over Kirtland Central, including a 53-yard score. Johnson now has 32 touchdown runs this season.

The first inclination may be to stack the box and minimize open space, but the Bobcats defense can't afford to miss tackles while clogging lanes.

Bloomfield would be wise to have at least one of its linebackers drop back a bit to help the secondary cover the open field.

Johnson's bound to pick up easy 10 or 15-yard runs, and the Bobcats can't afford to let that turn into a 50-plus yard score.

Bloomfield must be ready to bring down Johnson in the open field and not worry about chasing after him all day.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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