Home Sports Local Sports NMMI leans on defense in defeating Dexter, 17-15

NMMI leans on defense in defeating Dexter, 17-15

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Shawn Naranjo Photo NMMI's Juan Badillo (10) follows his blockers as he runs out of the backfield against the Dexter Demons Friday night. NMMI won the game 17-15.

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Crunch time has finally arrived. Every game matters toward the final seeding and selection for the state tournament.

Behind a solid outing by the defense, the New Mexico Military Institute Colt football team defeated Chaves County rival Dexter for the first time in 10 years.

The Colts were able to hold off the Demons for the 17-15 victory Friday night during the District 4-3A opener, spoiling Dexter’s homecoming. It was the first time NMMI defeated Dexter on its home turf since 2010. The Colts had lost their last five meetings against the Demons.

“It has been a long time since we’ve beaten Dexter, especially at their place,” said NMMI head coach Randy Montoya. “We control our destiny. It’s totally in our hands. There’s nothing more you can ask for.”

NMMI entered the game ranked No. 8 in the latest Class 3A rankings on MaxPreps while Dexter sat at No. 7.

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It didn’t take long for the Colts (5-2, 1-0) to establish dominance. On the first play of Dexter’s first offensive series, Diego Hernandez picked off quarterback Juan Fuentes and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown with 11:41 in the ballgame.

The turnover bug bit the Demons early on. On Dexter’s next drive, Eric Brock fumbled, which allowed the Colts to recover in good field position.

Jaikayo Brown later sprinted into the end zone from 35 yards out to extend NMMI’s lead to 14-0 with 10:34 in the opening quarter.

There was a little lull in the action as each offense struggled to put together a solid drive. On two occasions, the Demon offense had two big runs of 78 and 22 yards called back on a pair of holding calls. Dexter was plagued by three turnovers in the first half.

It wasn’t until late in the second quarter, with four seconds on the clock, when the Demons finally ended the shutout with a five-yard touchdown pass from Fuentes to Brock. On a fake field goal run, Fuentes was able to convert the two points to make the score 14-8 at the half.

Juan Badillo later capped off a seven-play drive with a 33-yard field goal to extend NMMI’s lead to nine points with 4:50 remaining in the third quarter.

Gaining momentum behind some solid rushes, the Demons put together a 14-play drive that resulted in a five-yard touchdown run by Fuentes with 11:11 in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to two points. With a chance to win the game on their final drive, the Demons used a defensive pass interference call to get down to the NMMI 32 after having some bad luck with four incomplete passes.

Fuentes attempted a 49-yard field goal with just a few ticks left on the clock, but it was off the mark after the ball ricocheted off a Dexter lineman. All NMMI had to do was kneel in victory formation with one second left in the game.

“That was huge. Obviously, we had some big breaks, big plays,” Montoya added. “I know Dexter is banged up right now, but the way our defense came out and played are the reason why we won.

“So, I was tickled to death.”

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