Excitement surrounding Roswell and Goddard football this year might have caused some here to overlook the special season the 3A Dexter Demons have been having, just a few miles down the road and perhaps just below the local radar at times.
But in Dexter, they’ve taken note. Hard not to, as Head Coach Arturo Duran and his Demons had compiled a 9-2 (3-0) record headed into Saturday’s semifinal playoff game versus West Las Vegas.
Others in the 3A classification have taken notice as well. There’s been no choice as Dexter, on a quest to play for a state title, has rolled right over many of them.
Now the Demons are on the big stage, and squarely in the spotlight. Their 35-7 win over the West Las Vegas Dons in Dexter on Saturday put them in a position to play for the championship Dec. 1 against Robertson.
Duran praised his players after the game, noting the work they’ve done to get to this point.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Duran said. “I have an awesome group of kids who work hard every single day. It’s amazing. …
“We’ve got a well-rounded group of athletes, and we just did what we had to do to win the game.”
Dexter had a bye in week one of the playoffs, then last week crushed Hatch Valley 35-14 in the quarterfinals to advance to Saturday’s home semifinal contest against the Dons. The Dons entered Saturday’s game at 8-4 (3-1), having beaten Cobre, 21-6, in round one of the playoffs, and Socorro, 28-14, in the quarterfinals.
Both teams knew going in that this was for a chance to play the Robertson Cardinals for all the marbles. Robertson had already defeated Hope Christian, 25-17, in the semifinals on Friday to fill one half of the state championship game bracket.
Saturday’s game between the Demons and the Dons shaped up as a contrast in styles: Dexter likes to control the clock, while West Las Vegas throws the ball around. Ultimately, both teams used every weapon in their arsenals, along the way to leaving everything on the field.
Dexter, in particular, pulled out all the stops early on. After receiving the opening kickoff, it looked as if their initial drive would end with a three-and-out.
But the Demons used a fake punt to pick up the first, and a few plays later, quarterback Jarren Amaro ran the ball into the end zone for the game’s first score, giving Dexter a 7-0 lead with 8:31 left in the opening stanza. That would be all the scoring in quarter number one.
In the second quarter, Amaro connected with receiver Jacob Amaya for a touchdown at the 6:27 mark, making it 14-0; and with only 17 seconds left in the half, wowed the Dexter faithful with a touchdown strike to Sergio Ramirez, making it 21-0, a score that would stand until halftime.
In the third, the Dons got as close as they were ever going to get, finding the end zone with 6:07 left in the quarter to make it 21-7, Dexter.
But the Demons would answer back in the fourth, as Amaro ran for another TD with 7:06 left in the game, to make it 28-7. He’d score again on a quarterback keeper with 4:03 remaining to make it 35-7, the final.
Ultimately, the Dexter defense kept the Dons’ offense in check throughout the contest. Duran praised the unit afterward.
“They’ve been playing good all year long, and they still kept doing it,” he said. “What else can you ask for?”