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Broncos grind out road win against Bucs

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NMMI Sports Press

It wasn’t pretty, but the New Mexico Military Institute Bronco football team kept their undefeated record intact, outlasting Blinn College on the road, 28-18.

The Institute struggled early: The offense went three-and-out after receiving the opening kickoff and the defense survived an initial Buccaneer drive that made it down to the NMMI 35.

“We weren’t satisfied with the way we came out to start the game, but we got the win and I’m happy with the way our guys continued to battle throughout all four quarters,” said Bronco head football coach Kurt Taufa’asua.

NMMI continued to play their brand of hard-nosed, ball-control offense and bend-but-don’t-break defense. That combined with a few big plays allowed the Broncos to walk out of Cub Stadium in Brenham, Texas with their third straight conference win.

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The first big play came on a 44-yard touchdown strike from sophomore quarterback Diego Pavia to freshman slotback Terrance Moore. With seven seconds remaining in the first period, NMMI was up 7-0.

NMMI’s next big play came from the defense. Sophomore defensive back Jayden Oliver jumped in front of a Blinn receiver, made the interception, then criss-crossed his way down the sideline 50 yards for a TD. That pick-six put NMMI up 21-8 with 5:27 left in the second quarter.

The Bucs came back with a 36-yard field goal to make it a 10-point difference, 21-11, at the half.

Anthony Grant had the Broncos’ next big play. His 61-yard touchdown rush at the 9:07 mark in the third gave NMMI their final points of the game. The sophomore running back had his second straight 200-yard performance, tallying 204 rushing yards and two TDs on 32 carries.

“Got to give credit to our offensive staff — they came up with a good game plan that caters to our strengths — and especially those big boys up front,” said Taufa’asau. “Our O-line grinded the entire game and Anthony Grant and our skill backs just ran hard and finished through people.”

Two more interceptions by the “Black Swarm” defense derailed a pair Blinn offensive drives deep into NMMI territory, preventing any Buc comeback attempts. Both picks came in the third quarter: Sophomore defensive back Joseph Norwood snatched one at the NMMI 21 with 10:27 left; freshman outside linebacker Horacio Moronta had the other at the NMMI 15, with 43 ticks remaining.

“We could have been better. There were still too many plays that we missed, left out there on the field. But we came up with some huge stops in key moments of the game and kept the momentum our our side,” continued the coach.

With the win, NMMI moves to 5-0 on the season and 3-0 in conference, while Blinn College drops to 2-2 and 1-2.

The next game for the Institute won’t be until Oct. 16, back at home in Wool Bowl. They’ll take on Tyler Junior College with a kickoff slated for 3 p.m.

“Next week is our bye week, which will be huge,” said Taufa’asau about the remainder of the Broncos’ schedule. “We’ll slow things down a bit, give us some time to rest and heal up. With four games left on the schedule, there’s still a lot of football left to be played, but I’m proud of the effort and sacrifices our kids and staff have made so far.”

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