Panthers cruise to easy victory over Mayfield in quarterfinals

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − The Piedra Vista High School football team made short work of Mayfield during their second round contest in the Class 5A state playoffs Saturday afternoon at Hutchison Stadium.

Quarterback Logan Howell threw three first half touchdowns while the Panthers defense and special teams units limited Mayfield's ability to score with three first half turnovers on their way to a 42-7 victory.

The win advances Piedra Vista (10-1) to the Class 5A semifinals where they will visit Roswell for the second time this season. The Panthers only loss this season came at the Wool Bowl on Sept. 30 when they lost to the Coyotes by a score of 32-14.

The Panthers struck first on their opening possession when Jacob Ramsted took a Howell screen pass and eluded several Trojans defenders racing down the near sideline midway through the first quarter.

Mayfield's Kade Quinonez (1) is brought down behind the line of scrimmage by Piedra Vista's Bryce Joshlin (23) and Jacob Schruder (82) in the first quarter of a second round playoff game, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 at Hutchison Stadium.

The Panthers then recovered the first of two consecutive onside kicks, both of which resulted in touchdown drives. Howell led Piedra Vista down the field before he took it in himself from a yard out to extend the margin to 14-0 before the end of the first quarter.

Piedra Vista's Manuel Montelongo made a leaping catch over a pair of Mayfield defenders early in the second quarter to give the Panthers a 21-0 lead. The Panthers closed out the half with another touchdown run by Howell from short distance and a 21-yard scoring pass from Howell to Grant Frost in the final seconds to put the end result free of any doubt.

"The offensive line has been giving me time to make plays like that all day, and all season," said Logan Howell. "The guys have really worked hard during and after practice and I had all the confidence in the world today."

Ramsted scored his second touchdown of the game when he rambled down the near sideline for a 45-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.

Piedra Vista's Manuel Montelongo (21) makes a leaping catch in the end zone over a pair of Mayfield defenders for a second quarter touchdown in a second-round playoff game, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 at Hutchison Stadium.

Mayfield's offense was held in check throughout, coughing up the ball three times, including a pair of interceptions, the second of which was grabbed by Howell. The Trojans didn't have a first down until the 4-minute mark of the third quarter.

"We had a game plan where our defense was going to have to make a statement early and often," Jared Howell said. "I think that plan worked well and it really took them out of what they wanted to do."

The Trojans managed to get on the board in the final four minutes of the game, scoring a rushing touchdown from four yards out, providing Mayfield with their lone highlight of the contest.

The Trojans season comes to an end with a record of 5-7. They won their opening game of the Class 5A playoffs at home by beating Santa Teresa last weekend by a score of 21-10. Mayfield failed to win a game in District 4-5A this season and finish the season losing four of their last five games.

Piedra Vista, which came into the playoffs as the third-seed, has won four in a row, including a perfect 3-0 mark in District 1-5/5A. They had a bye during the opening week of the postseason after finishing their campaign with a 50-0 win at home over Belen.

"We still haven't played our best game of football yet," said Jared Howell to his team after the game. "Now we're going to have to go back down to Roswell to play that game. They're not going to hand us anything."