Home Sports Local Sports Improving Coyotes fall to Los Lunas in Roswell

Improving Coyotes fall to Los Lunas in Roswell

Roswell Coyotes wide receiver Eli Lynn (33) catches a touchdown pass with 2:41 left in the third quarter of the Coyotes' game against the Los Lunas Tigers Friday night in Roswell. (David Rocha Photo)

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The Roswell Coyotes faced perhaps their toughest opponent of the season so far Friday in the Los Lunas Tigers, who came into the contest undefeated and ranked No. 2 in New Mexico 5A football by Maxpreps.com. Despite a strong effort, the challenge was too great for the young Coyotes to overcome as they fell to the Tigers 35-20 at the Wool Bowl.

But the strides made by the Coyotes since earlier in the season were evident throughout the game as they moved the ball well on offense and played tough defense.

Ultimately, despite the final score, Coach Jeff Lynn saw things he liked from the squad in terms of improvement and expressed confidence in their continued maturation as a team.

“The youngsters are growing up,” Lynn said. “We get better every week. The teams we’ve played, they’re cumulative record is, what? 10-1? We’re playing a very difficult schedule.

“The youngsters are growing, they’re taking steps every week. They continue to improve. We’re going to be there in the end, mark my words.”

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This game was a rematch of the past two 5A State Championship games played in New Mexico — in 2018 and 2019, prior to the pandemic. Roswell won both those contests to earn back-to-back Blue Trophies. This was the first time the teams had faced off against each other since the 2019 title tilt.

Friday at the Wool Bowl, the teams exchanged punts throughout the game’s opening period. An early highlight for the Coyotes came when junior Adrian Anaya intercepted a Los Lunas pass in the first quarter. The Coyotes, however, were unable to capitalize on the turnover and the period ended with the score tied 0-0.

But the Coyotes would find the endzone first with 10:57 remaining in the second quarter when Bryce Sanchez powered his way through the Tigers’ defense for a rushing touchdown. After an unsuccessful extra point attempt, the Coyotes led 6-0.

Los Lunas scored with 8:01 remaining in the second to take a 7-6 lead, then a Tigers touchdown pass with 4:33 left in the half made 14-6, Los Lunas, a score that would stand until halftime.

Los Lunas recovered a Roswell fumble with 11:52 left in the third period, taking over on the Roswell 34-yard line. Later in the drive, facing a fourth and five on the Coyotes’ five-yard line, the Tigers signal caller lofted a touchdown pass into the back corner of the end zone to extend the Tigers’ lead, making it 21-6, Los Lunas, with 7:34 left in the third.

After the change of possession, however, the Coyotes would chip away at the Tigers’ lead, methodically marching down the field and capping their drive with a score when quarterback Rich Arreola found Eli Lynn in the end zone for a strike. After a successful two-point conversion it was Los Lunas 21, Roswell 14.

The Tigers would make it 28-14 thanks to a touchdown run with 11:55 left in the game. But Arreola — facing a fourth and 14 on the Los Lunas 36 — connected with another of his receivers, Sebastian Mendosa, at the 7:45 mark to narrow the gap. After the extra point attempt was blocked it was 28-20, Tigers. Los Lunas would add another touchdown on a pass with 1:30 left in the game for the final, 35-20.

The loss left Roswell 0-4 on the season. The Tigers, meanwhile, improved their season mark to 4-0. The Coyotes are next set to take on Carlsbad on the road on Sept. 17.

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