Home Sports Local Sports Goddard’s season ends against Los Lunas

Goddard’s season ends against Los Lunas

Goddard’s Dalton Bowles runs for a first down against Los Lunas. The Rockets came up short in their quest to play in the state championship game, losing to Los Lunas 41-20, on Saturday. (Steve Notz Photo)

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It was a beautiful day for football. The sun was smiling on the Goddard Rockets as they were making their first semifinal playoff game in a while. Goddard expected to play Goddard football and impose their will on Los Lunas.

No matter how nice of a day it is, there are some days when nothing goes right, and you have the feeling you should have stayed in bed. For Goddard, Saturday was one of those days. Goddard could not overcome big plays, turnovers and penalties, but most of all, Goddard could not stop the passing and running of the Los Lunas Tigers. It did not take long for Goddard fans rooting for an all-Chaves County title game with Roswell to realize it was not going to happen this year.

Many expected a shootout, like when they played at Goddard on Sept. 28 when the Rockets defeated the Tigers, 28-27 in overtime. This game would not be like that game. This game was one of the big plays, except Los Lunas was the one providing the big play on both sides of the ball, as they would defeat Goddard, 41-20, Saturday at Willie Chavez Field to force another rematch against the Roswell Coyotes for the 5A championship.

To Goddard’s credit, they did not quit, but it wasn’t their day. On their first series of the game, Goddard ran and controlled the ball as they drove the ball 71 yards and capped the scoring with a toss sweep to the right to Robert Aragon as he powered over the goal line from the 1-yard line to score a TD. On the PAT it was blocked as they trailed 7-6 with 3:58 in the first quarter.

In this game, Los Lunas’ coach Jeremy Maupin went for it on five times and made it all five times, which led to Tigers’ quarterback Kade Benavidez throwing a 30-yard TD pass to senior Cody Vocu, with the PAT being good as Los Lunas took a 14-6 lead with 11:41 left to play in the second quarter.

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After that, the wheels came off for the Rockets as they gave up a 48-yard touchdown pass to trail 21-6. On the next possession, Goddard answered and got themselves back in the game when senior quarterback Dalton Bowles connected a 52-yard touchdown pass to Nate Stone with 3:34 left in the second quarter.

Goddard gave up a couple of more touchdowns and went into the halftime down 35-12. With the hopes of regrouping at halftime, they would get the ball back to start the second half. The Tigers did a pooch kick and recovered the ball to start the second half which all but damaged the hopes of Goddard making a comeback in the second half.

Even though the game was lost, Goddard put together one last drive for the season and their seniors, as they ran Bowles and Rion Lee the length of the field while Goddard ran a fake into the line of scrimmage and Bowles threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kaston Ramage. Goddard went for the two-point conversion with Bowles running it in to make the score 41-20, with 4:34 to play in the game.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors,” White said. “These guys have been incredible and I’m just proud to have coached these guys.”

Goddard (9-2-1) had a nice season making it to the semifinal game. The nine wins were the most Goddard has had since the 2014 season. Third-year coach Chris White has laid a foundation of hope, hard work and a physicalness that Goddard fans recognize. They will lose some seniors but the future is awful bright with players like Rion Lee, Robert Aragon, Marcos Hernandez, Sammy Zaragoza, Fernando Rubio and Jacob Wieser, just to name a few.

“I think our future is bright,” White said. “I think we have a good program and (are) going in the right direction. We just need to build on this year for sure.”

Coach White has a ton of talent at the junior varsity level waiting to make contributions next season and their freshman team went undefeated, so the cupboard is not bare and the Rockets should contend for the district title again next season. White defeated Artesia this season for the second time in two out of his three years at the helm.

“I just thought we got outplayed in pretty much every aspect of the game,” White said. “We didn’t play really well and they (Los Lunas) did play well. They’re a good team and a quality program with a good coaching staff, so hats off to Los Lunas, ‘cause I think they’re a quality group of guys. Congratulations to them. We didn’t play well in any aspect of the game.”