Home Sports Local Sports Goddard’s season ends in slugfest at Aztec

Goddard’s season ends in slugfest at Aztec

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Goddard’s Hunter Beene, No. 32 in white, grabs hold of Aztec’s Austin Clay, No. 33 in orange, for a tackle during the second quarter of Saturday’s 5A state playoff opener at Fred Cook Stadium. (The Daily Times/Matt Hollinshead Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Matt Hollinshead

Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC – Aztec and Goddard traded blows throughout today’s 5A state playoff opener, but the slightest things landed in the Tigers’ favor in their 34-27 victory over Goddard at Fred Cook Stadium.

“It was very tough because I thought we had it,” Rockets offensive lineman Jon Flores said, with tears in his eyes.

Aztec’s backfield fought and scrapped for those extra several yards on the ground and did so multiple times.

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It not only allowed the sixth-seeded Tigers to draw first blood, but also open things up with the passing game. AHS delivered on a couple deep aerial scores.

AHS also forced multiple off-target throws down the sides, broke up some passes and got plenty of stops up front. Cody Smith secured the Tigers’ win by intercepting the ball at the AHS 47 with one second left, on Goddard’s final play.

“We did enough to win the ball game, and that’s what we’re really excited about,” Tigers coach Matthew Steinfeldt said. “We wanted to establish the run and control the clock. When you play a team like Goddard that runs the ball as much as they do, they tend to control the clock. So we wanted to flip that on them and control the tempo ourselves.”

The 11th-seeded Rockets hung in there the entire time, though.

They moved the chains running and throwing the ball down near the sidelines, keeping the score differential within seven points.

“It was exciting. I was happy,” Flores said.

But the Rockets had at least several critical moments work against them.

For example, GHS’ offense sought a pass interference call on Aztec on third down, but it was ruled an incomplete pass. Later on, the Rockets claimed they recovered a fumble near the Tigers’ sideline, but the play was ruled down by contact.

Flores said it would’ve been a different outcome had those things not happened.

Goddard’s season ended at 4-7.

Aztec (6-5) will play at No. 3 Roswell in next Saturday’s 5A state quarterfinals.