La Cueva rolls over Farmington in Class 6A quarterfinals

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − Quarterback Aidan Armenta threw four touchdown passes and for more than 250 yards as the La Cueva High School football team won their second round Class 6A playoff showdown 41-6 over Farmington on Friday night at Wilson Stadium in Albuquerque.

For La Cueva, it's their second win over the Scorpions in three weeks, with Friday's win moving the Bears into the Class 6A semifinals next weekend against Centennial High. The loss eliminates the Scorpions from the playoffs, ending their season with a record of 6-6. The Scorpions advanced to the second round after a 34-33 win last weekend at home over Carlsbad while second-seeded La Cueva had a bye in the opening round.

Armenta, who leads the state of New Mexico with 44 touchdown passes and nearly 3,600 passing yards, threw scoring passes to Jackson Hix and Ian Sanchez in the first half. The Bears went into the locker room with a 21-0 halftime lead thanks to a 7-yard touchdown run from Gabriel Buie.

Farmington was able to move the ball effectively in the first half, but were stopped short of getting the ball into the end zone on two separate occasions. On an opening drive that consumed more than half of the first quarter, Farmington turned the ball over on downs deep in La Cueva territory.

Farmington's Sebastian Delgado (27) runs between La Cueva defenders Christian Melo (2) and Bo Dixon (55) during a second round playoff game, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 at Wilson Stadium in Albuquerque.

Later in the half, trailing 21-0, Farmington had the ball on the goal line, needing only a yard to get on the board. Quarterback Trel Griego tried a keeper from the shotgun but the play was was stopped short after an errant snap on the final play of the first half.

Griego, who ran for more than 100 yards rushing, scored the Scorpions' only touchdown on a designed keeper in the third quarter which trimmed the Bears lead to 24-6. Griego turned the ball over twice in the game, once on an interception in the first half picked off by Mason Posa and a second half fumble recovered by Alejandro Montano.

Meantime, Armenta tossed two more scoring passes in the second half, a 68-yard pass and catch by Cameron Dyer in the third quarter followed by a 40-yard scoring strike to Cruz Markham early in the fourth quarter.

The Bears defense made it a difficult night for Farmington, forcing Griego out of the pocket and trying to force the ball into difficult situations down the field.

La Cueva, winners of nine straight and with an overall record of 10-1 this season, swept Farmington in their two meetings this season, beating their District 2-5/6A rivals by a final of 62-19 in the regular season finale for both teams.

Farmington, competing for the first time this season in Class 6A, suffered their only district losses to La Cueva this season while showing they could compete at this level, with district wins over West Mesa, Sandia and Eldorado.