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Artesia ends league play perfect


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ARTESIA — For a spell Friday night at Bulldog Bowl it looked like the Lovington Wildcats were going to give the Artesia Bulldogs a fight in the regular season finale for both squads.

For the Wildcats(5-5,1-2) reality hit them in the late stages of the second quarter and the Bulldogs(8-2, 3-0) won 49-14.

The Bulldogs are the District 4-5A champions and more than likely will have a high seed when the football playoff brackets are released this weekend.

During the opening period, the Bulldog faithful looked a little nervous as the Wildcats took the opening kick and had the ball for nearly six minutes.

The Bulldogs intercepted a Wildcat pass deep in their own territory. Artesia couldn’t do anything on their opening drive and the Wildcats went back to work.

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They couldn’t find their footing and soon Artesia hit the field again with 3:47 left in the opening period. Thanks to the feet of senior Robert Fernandez and the passing combo of senior quarterback Taylor Null and junior receiver A.J. Estrada, the Bulldogs were picking up steam. Lovington’s defense helped as they were called for a penalty.

That combination set up the first score of the evening as Null threw a 6-yard strike to Fernandez with 2:29 showing on the first quarter clock. The extra point kick was good and the home team led 7-0.

Lovington’s third offensive drive of the night proved to be a lucky one as Isaiah Hinson scored on a 72-yard reception. The extra point kick was good and the score was tied with 51 seconds left in the opening period.

Forty seconds later the Bulldogs broke the deadlock as Fernandez caught a 38-yard pass from Null. Artesia booted the extra point and the score was 14-7.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats went on another long drive. However, they suffered a flat along the way and the Bulldogs were back in business as Fernandez scored on an 18-yard run. Artesia converted the extra point and it was 21-7 Bulldogs with 6:08 left before the half.

Nearly two minutes later, the Bulldogs would score again thanks to a 20-yard run by Fernandez. A pass interference call by the Wildcats helped set up the touchdown as the Bulldogs extended the lead 28-7.

But wait, there was more as junior Jagger Donaghe scored the final touchdown of the first half on an 8-yard run with 23 seconds showing on the scoreboard. The extra point kick was good and it was 35-7 Artesia.

In the second half the Bulldogs were on cruise control as senior Chaney Hardt scored on a pair of receptions in the early and late stages of the third quarter as the Bulldogs were out of Lovington’s sights.

In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs brought in the relief help. The Wildcats were able to score with 6:17 left in the final period as George Carrasco scored on a 7-yard reception. The extra point kick was good. Lovington couldn’t undo the damage as Artesia led 49-14 for the rest of the contest.

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