LAKE ARTHUR – The Animas Panther football team put a major hurt on host Lake Arthur Panther squad 62-6 Friday night earning not only the victory, but a big dose of vindication.
The Animas squad fell for the only time last year to Lake Arthur in the state semi-finals and were looking for some revenge. The Animas Panthers scored in every way possible to stay undefeated on the year and remain, arguably, the top 6-man team in the state.
Coach Jose Porras was obviously disappointed with the effort from his side but still remained optimistic as the season is still young. “Like we told the kids, this game is over, and you have to move on. We played a tough team. They had a bit of a sour taste in their mouths from last year and they were real anxious for this game.”
Animas scored after only three plays as Tell Swift scampered in from 35 yards out. The score would set the tone for the game as the Animas Panthers four more scores – two coming from interception returns – to lead the listless Lake Arthur team 38-0 after the opening frame. “We had two good defensive stops on that first drive and then, after that first score, they seemed to just shut down.”
Porras continued. “We gave them the ball how many times? Four. So, when you turn the ball over, it’s kind of tough. We put the ball in people’s hands for a reason and we (would) gain some momentum, but then (lose it with the turnover).”
The lone offensive bright spot came on the first play of the second quarter when freshman Valdemar Diaz took a dump pass from fellow freshman quarterback Adrian Guillen and sprinted 66 yards to pay dirt. Unfortunately, the spark quickly faded as Animas scored two plays later to make it 46-6 and then tacked on two late scores for the final tally of 62-6.
Defensively, the young Lake Arthur (1-2) squad saw big hits from Diaz at defensive end, Armando Rey at corner, and Kyle Palmer from his safety position. Rey would rush for 13 yards and catch two passes offensively while senior Luis Tarango would catch 4 passes. Tarango was coming off of a monster performance the week prior when he scored five touchdowns – four defensively – in their win over rival Hondo.
Despite the lopsided score, the Lake Arthur squad is still primed to get a playoff berth as the schedule gets better. The LA Panthers host an equally young Roy team next Friday for homecoming with hopes of evening their win-loss record with a victory.