Home Sports Local Sports Goddard ‘rockets’ past Carlsbad in home opener

Goddard ‘rockets’ past Carlsbad in home opener

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Goddard’s Hunter Beene dives forward during Friday night’s game against Carlsbad at the Wool Bowl. (Steve Notz Photo)

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When these two teams met last year, there was so much lightning in the vicinity of Ralph Bowyer Stadium in Carlsbad that officials had to stop the game at halftime with the score knotted, 0-0.

So the game was decided by … the weather.

Friday night at the Wool Bowl in Roswell, there was a more satisfying football outcome as the game was decided on the field — solidly in the Rockets’ favor.

Goddard defeated the Carlsbad Cavemen, 21-6, running the Rockets’ record to 2-0 on the young season.

The Rockets were already leading by three touchdowns when, with 4:29 remaining in the game, Elijah Romero — seeing his first varsity action — snagged his second interception of the evening, ending a Carlsbad drive that had the feeling of a last gasp.

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The Cavemen would wind up putting points on the board — a pick-six with approximately three minutes left — but the game was over. Had been for some time.

The Rockets had their work cut out for them against the big athletes of Carlsbad, but Goddard head coach Chris White said he was pleased with how the team stepped up to the challenge.

“The biggest thing was matching their physicality,” White said. “Pound for pound, they probably had us 30 pounds a guy, but gosh, I was proud of how the kids really stepped up and played in the trenches.”

Coming into Friday night — a year removed from that half-forgotten tie in Carlsbad — these were two teams to contend with. After finishing last season, 9-2-1, the Rockets started this year off beating St. Pius X on the road last week, 21-0.

The Cavemen didn’t fare as well throughout 2018, winding up 4-5-1 — but a season-opening win last week against Artesia, 48-35, had football fans in southeast New Mexico taking notice. All eyes were on the Wool Bowl.

There actually was some lightning visible to the north and east of the stadium during the game, but it never became a factor in the outcome. Instead, it was a lack of fireworks — offensive fireworks — that plagued both teams in the early going.

The Rockets and Cavemen were tied 0-0 at the end of the first quarter, then traded punches without landing many throughout most of the second. That didn’t change until the closing minutes of the half — and it was Goddard that finally broke through.

After forcing the Cavemen to punt, the Rockets took over with a fresh set of downs on their own 41 with 4:36 left in the half. Back-to-back runs around right end by the Rockets’ Robert Aragon advanced the ball to the Carlsbad 38, then the 28. Later in the drive, a punishing run by Hunter Beene set Goddard up at the 17, first and 10. Beene then took the ball on a direct snap and ran to the Carlsbad 5, giving the Rockets a first and goal.

Beene got the call again and took the ball as close to the goal line as one can get without crossing into the end zone — the 1-inch line, more or less.

With the Rockets facing a second and goal on “1” Aragon took the snap and dove to the left, powering into the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. It was 7-0, Goddard, with 1:01 left in the half.

Next, the Cavemen gave Rockets fans a scare as they drove the ball deep into Goddard territory after receiving the kick. But with a Carlsbad runner only a few yards from the goal line, the Rockets’ defense stepped up, stopping him in his tracks as the last seconds of the half ticked away.

Late in the third quarter, the Rockets added to their lead. An interception gave the Rockets a first and goal on the Carlsbad 10 with just over three-and-a-half minutes left in the third.

A couple of minutes later, Sammy Zaragoza punched it in for the score, making it Goddard-14, Carlsbad-0 after the extra point had sailed through the uprights. Aragon added another touchdown with 5:53 left in the game.

Though White was pleased with the team’s effort, he wants to see them cut down on penalties. Both teams drew flags throughout the contest.

“I would sure like to clean up the penalties,” he said. “That’s coaching and I’ll fix that — I was just so proud of my kids’ effort.”

Goddard will next take the field Sept. 6 against Deming, another home game for the Rockets. That’s a team Goddard beat last year.

The Cavemen will play at Atrisco Heritage Academy in Albuquerque on Sept. 7.

Editor John Dilmore can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 303, or editor@rdrnews.com.