Roswell tops Piedra Vista in Class 5A showdown
ROSWELL − The Roswell High School football team took down the undefeated Piedra Vista Panthers Friday night at the Wool Bowl by a final score of 32-14.
Both teams came into the game highly ranked in Class 5A, with Piedra Vista coming in as the top-ranked team in the classification and Roswell ranked second, according to the latest New Mexico coaches poll.
The Panthers could not get anything going in their first possession against the Coyotes' defense. Piedra Vista’s opening possession ended when Roswell's sophomore defensive tackle Noah Lynn and Robert Truex took down Panther senior running back Zach Mora-Dotson on fourth down with two yards to go.
Roswell’s junior quarterback Manny Fuentez opened the scoring midway through the first quarter by pushing through the Panther defense for a two-yard touchdown run.
The Coyotes extended the lead to 14-0 when cornerback Wesley Gallegos sniffed out a pass intended for Panther Hunter Schwartz, returning it for a touchdown.
The first quarter set the stage for the rest of the game, as Roswell dominated the Panthers. In the second half, Piedra Vista matched Roswell in touchdowns but had significant ground to cover.
The Panthers finally had the Coyotes scrambling to make something out of a fourth down play early in the third quarter. Still, while falling to his right, Fuentez threw a sidearm pass to junior wide receiver Josh Estrada for a touchdown.
“So basically, the route was supposed to be a curl,” Estrada said. “Fuentes and I locked eyes. I saw him targeting me, and once he threw that ball, I just dove for it, put my hands out, and caught it.”
With time running out for the Panthers, senior quarterback Logan Howell took charge by making plays and carrying the ball himself to get yardage. Despite their best efforts, the Panthers could not get their offense going.
“They’re just a really good football team. They came out, played hard, played physical, and were well-coached too,” said Panthers coach Jared Howell. “We just didn’t come out tonight and play the way we need to.”
The Panthers were able to get one more touchdown in the fourth from a connection between Howell and Panther senior free safety Bryce Joshlin, but there was not enough time to mount a comeback.
“Speed of play. You’ve got a program like this that play at a different speed than we were playing at. You’ve got to understand that no matter how good you play, they’re going to make plays, and you’ve got to make your own,” Howell said. “We’ll have to go back and look at the film, but we made some mistakes that we probably got away with on other teams, that you can’t get away with here. ”
Roswell will be going into district play with a 6-1 record and will take the week off until their next game against the Artesia Bulldogs on Friday, Oct. 14. Piedra Vista, now with a 6-1 record going to district, will also take this week off and will play Miyamura on the same night.
“The kids played well. We had an offensive lineman go out in the first quarter and the back up came in and did well,” Roswell coach Jeff Lynn said. “It's just a tough, hard-fought win for us. The kind of win that helps build momentum heading into district. We've got a bye week, so the number one thing is to get healed up. We got some guys hurt but it’s always good to win heading into district.”