Class 4A Playoffs: Bobcats roll over Moriarty, Aztec eliminated

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − The Bloomfield Bobcats took a big step toward a bid for the Class 4A state football championship, rolling to a 62-7 triumph at home Saturday afternoon over Moriarty.

The second-seeded Bobcats, thanks to solid efforts from quarterback Ryan Sharpe and a powerful running game that rolled up more than 250 yards on the ground, cruised to a 38-7 halftime lead before ending the contest midway through the fourth quarter when the game was stopped by the mercy rule.

Bloomfield's victory advances them to the state Class 4A semifinals where they will host Taos on Saturday at 1 p.m. The third-seeded Tigers won their quarterfinal clash at home 24-19 over Albuquerque Academy.

Sharpe threw a pair of touchdown passes for Bloomfield, the first of which opened the scoring for the Bobcats when he found Drew Perez on the receiving end of a 60-yard scoring pass midway through the first quarter.

Sharpe connected with George Rascon, Jr. for a 38-yard third quarter touchdown pass that added to the offensive onslaught for Bloomfield, which has won four straight while outscoring those opponents by a combined margin of 216-15.

"We really have been gathering ourselves a lot these last few weeks," said Bobcats head coach Mike Kovacs. "But all three sides of the game really stepped up for us, which couldn't happen at a better time."

Bloomfield defensive back Andres Gordo (20) recovers a fumble by Moriarty running back Michael Magoffe (33) in the second quarter of the State 4A quarterfinal game on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at Bobcat Stadium.

Andres Gordo scored three rushing touchdowns, while Jesse Seitzinger and Aaron Johnson also ran for scores before the Bobcats put in the second team during the fourth quarter of a game in which the outcome had long been determined.

Quarterback Blake Spencer got in the scoring line as well for Bloomfield, throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Javan Williamson late in the fourth quarter that put an end to the contest.

The 55-point margin of victory is the largest in any playoff game this postseason, with only Roswell's 53-0 win over Gadsden last weekend in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs a close second.

Bloomfield and Taos have a bit of history of postseason battles. In 2018, the Tigers won the Class 4A championship at home 14-7 over the Bobcats. That's the last time those two teams faced each other. Bloomfield will play host in this weekend's battle because Taos hosted the state finals in 2018.

Bloomfield running back Aaron Johnson (34) gets into the end zone and scores against the Moriarty defense in the second quarter during the State 4A quarterfinal game on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at Bobcat Stadium.

"Yeah, I've been looking forward to this for awhile now," Kovacs said. "They're a really well-coached team and they're going to make us work for it. Being able to sleep in our own beds and have them come to us is really a big deal."

The winner of that semifinal game will face either top-seeded Silver or fourth-seeded Lovington in the Class 4A state championship game later this month. Lovington, the defending state champions in Class 4A, won their quarterfinal game against Portales 29-23 while Silver eliminated Aztec by a final score of 48-12.

The Pintos' loss ends their season with a record of 8-4. They advanced to the second round of the playoffs after a 53-2 rout in the first round over Kirtland Central. Moriarty finished second behind Taos in District 2-4A.

Silver 48, Aztec 12

Aidan Granado scored a pair of touchdowns, including an interception return in the first half, as the top-seeded Silver High School football team rolled to a 48-12 win at home Saturday afternoon over Aztec in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.

The Fighting Colts will move on to the semifinals and a game at home against the defending state champion Lovington Wildcats on Saturday. The winner of that clash will face either Bloomfield or Taos for the Class 4A state title.

Silver scored twice off interception returns in the first half, with Reuben Holguin taking an errant pass on Aztec's opening drive to the house for an early 7-0 lead. The Tigers answered back on their next drive, with Justin Bixler scoring from four yards out. The missed point-after attempt kept Silver in front by a score of 7-6 when the first quarter came to a close.

Granado's interception return was the first of three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter which broke the game wide open. Quarterback Adan Jacquez ran for a score and threw a touchdown pass to Julian Richard shortly before halftime which sent the Fighting Colts into the locker room with a 28-6 lead.

Granado scored his second touchdown of the game in the second half when he ran into the end zone from two yards out to extend the Silver lead. Granado, one of the leading running backs in the state with nearly 1,000 yards and nine scores this season, was questionable coming into this game after suffering an injury two weeks earlier in their season finale against Valencia.

Aztec's lone second half highlight came midway through the third quarter when Tristen McNeal returned a kickoff for a score.

Jacquez threw his second touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, this time to Ricky Vasquez, to pad the winning margin. Vasquez is the team's second leading scorer with eight touchdowns this season.

The Fighting Colts (10-1) have won five straight games, with their only loss this season coming to Deming by a score of 7-0. Silver has outscored their last five opponents by a combined margin of 192-18.

The Aztec season comes to an end with an overall record of 5-7. The Tigers advanced to the second round of the playoffs after beating Valencia 12-6 last weekend in the opening round of the Class 4A tournament.