New Mexico Military Institute is a young football team that has been ravaged by injuries this season. Coach Randy Montoya is starting two freshmen, and several sophomores. This game saw NMMI amass 14 yards of total offense and four first downs. The Warriors mercy ruled the Colts, 54-0, with 6:19 to play in the fourth quarter Friday night at Colt Field.
Ruidoso came into NMMI and had their way with them from the kickoff. The game was ugly on the field, but what could be seen was the Colts never quit and kept battling while receiving several hard hits. The Colts coaching staff is teaching these cadets things that go beyond winning and losing on the scoreboard. Montoya and his coaches are teaching life lessons that will serve these young men well no matter what occupation they hold.
“I incorporated our message this week of Cancer Awareness,” NMMI head coach Randy Montoya said. “Sometimes life gets rough, and when it does you have to keep pushing. Sometimes things don’t go how you envisioned or want them to go, but you have to surround yourself good people and keep fighting.”
Montoya would know about hanging tough in tough times after losing his mother, Gloria, to cancer on May 13, 2012. He was able to get through it with the support and love of his family. Montoya tries to use his grief experience in life to help make an impact on the lives of the athletes he’s been charged with teaching the game of football.
“It’s tough that we lost, but this is not our first time losing,” senior fullback Ryan Houston said. “It’s OK. We’re still trying to get together, we’re a young team. Our team is small and we are working hard. Everything we do is for the team. I’ve learned not to be selfish and to do what’s best for the team. We are not discouraged.”
The Colts showed promise when they held the Warriors on three downs the first series of the game. On fourth-and-3 at NMMI’s 43-yard line, Ruidoso’s punter faked a punt and rambled for a first down. The Colts would go on a 13-play drive to score their first touchdown when their quarterback Brennam Stewart ran it in from the 1-yard line. Jesus Segura added the PAT to put the Warriors up 7-0.
“I love the fact that in none of the games we have lost, we’ve always fought to the end,” Hugo Varela said. “I understand we’re a small team with six or seven seniors returning, but we have always done our best in every game. That’s all you can ask for.”
NMMI’s defense was on the field a long time. They had a hard time stopping the Warriors sprint option to the boundary side of and the speed of Isaiah Otero. Otero had 156 all-purpose yards on the night. Ruidoso’s quarterback Stewart threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Layson Powell with 1:18 to play in the second quarter.
“On the football field, you get knocked down,” Varela said. “That doesn’t matter, what matters is how you respond. Our team always gets back up. This season has been good to me. Before I got here, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but it’s a little clearer. I want to go to college.”
NMMI (1-6, 0-1, District 4-4A), received the ball on their 20-yard line. On their next play, there was a mix up and they lost a fumble on their 10-yard line. On the very next play, the Warriors scored to make the score, 20-0. Ruidoso (5-2, 1-0, District 4-4A), went for a two-point conversion but was unsuccessful. NMMI trailed 20-0, in the first quarter.
NMMI went into halftime down, 41-0, giving up two more touchdowns in the third quarter forcing officials to run the clock. Ruidoso would score a TD with 6:19 left in the fourth quarter.
“This is just a game,” Montoya said. “There’s other bigger and more important things in life. I know we want to win, and we’re trying to win. We work hard to try to win, but sometimes things are not meant to be. And that’s life.”
NMMI hits the road next week when they take on Moriarty at 7 p.m.