Home Sports Local Sports Hagerman hangs tough in loss to defending state champ Eunice

Hagerman hangs tough in loss to defending state champ Eunice

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Hagerman’s David Chacon (32) goes up for a catch on Saturday against Eunice. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

There are no moral victories in football, but for the Hagerman Bobcats, this game will be one they will remember for a long time. The Bobcats had multiple chances to take the lead and seize momentum, especially early in the game before fatigue would set in.

The Bobcats were not afraid of the three-time defending 2A state champions, the Eunice Cardinals. Hagerman came out and punched Eunice in the mouth in a physical first half. Each time it looked like the ‘Cats would score to take the lead, they would be undone by a turnover. Eunice would wear down Hagerman as they lost two players to injuries. The Cardinals would win the game 38-20 on a perfect football day at Hagerman Stadium on Saturday.

“I’m proud of my team,” Hagerman coach Guy Rivers said. “I thought they came out and played well. I thought they brought everything for four days of practice. I’m super proud of my team and the kids stepped up like I thought they would.”

Eunice took the opening kickoff and drove the length of the field to score when Cardinals’ quarterback Hayden Dean threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Zeke Benton to take a 6-0 lead as the PAT failed.

Hagerman had several drives stopped inside the Cardinal’s 30-yard line through penalties or sacks. In the second quarter, Eunice’s running back Micah Tippett scored on a 29-yard run with 7:55 in the second quarter. Eunice’s PAT failed to take a 12-0 lead at halftime.

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In the second half, Hagerman moved the ball well on the ground — they would catch Eunice off guard with deep passes to tall target David Chacon, as they had trouble matching up with him. Chacon caught a 40-yard pass to set up the Bobcat’s first touchdown of the game when ‘Cats quarterback Jonah Bejaran hit Chacon in stride at the Cardinals’ 10-yard line. From there, Bejaran put them on the board with a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line. That score made it 12-7 with 3:53 to play in the third quarter.

Eunice would score on their next possession to take an 18-7 lead with 1:31 to play in the third quarter. The Cardinals would fail on their 2-point conversion. Eunice would score again to take a 24-7 lead. Hagerman would answer back as Bejaran threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Amen Gonzales and missed the PAT to make the score 24-13 heading into the fourth quarter.

On the kickoff, a hard tackle by Hagerman forced a fumble and on the next play ’Cats quarterback Bejaran found Chacon. Chacon outjumped a Eunice defender to score from 38 yard out and make the score 24-20, with 11:36 to play in the fourth quarter.

Hagerman’s defense started to wear down after being on the field most of the game. Eunice would go onto score two more touchdowns to end the game 38-20.

Hagerman had two key starters go down with injuries and Rivers had to play younger players. Had they not been tired, it might have been a different story. Hagerman ended up with two freshmen on the field and two girls because of injuries. Hagerman hurt themselves because of turnovers. They fumbled the ball four times and threw a costly interception at the goal line to end their scoring threat and their day.

“We had two bad runs down there,” Rivers said. “We had them down there inside the red zone twice and we let them go. We were right there. We had them. I’m proud of my kids, I think they played well. Getting this first game under our belts is a huge thing. We’ll have another hard week of practice and go from there.”

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.

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