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Bobcats earn hard-fought decision on road over Academy


ALBUQUERQUE − The Bloomfield Bobcats earned their fourth straight win Friday night, overcoming 16 of their own penalties as they slipped past Albuquerque Academy in a battle of top-ranked Class 4A teams.

Meantime, Aztec and Kirtland Central football teams found themselves coming up short under the lights on Friday night.

Here's a look at some of the sports action for San Juan County teams on Friday.

Football

BLOOMFIELD 17, Albuquerque Academy 14

In a game that featured 26 penalties and 10 turnovers, the Bloomfield High School football team kept their unbeaten streak intact, winning on the road 17-14 over Albuquerque Academy Friday night at Richard Harper Memorial Field.

The Bobcats (4-0) came up big defensively in the fourth quarter, forcing errant passes and getting pressure on Chargers quarterback AJ Rivera, who threw for a touchdown but also surrendered four interceptions in the game.

"The defense came up huge for us tonight," said Bloomfield head coach Mike Kovacs. "When we needed them to make plays for us, they stepped up in a big way."

The Chargers appeared to have an edge early in the contest, scoring on a short run by Cole Conway in the first quarter. The Bobcats, on the other hand, struggled to find receivers, with quarterback Ryan Sharpe throwing interceptions in two of their opening drives.

After the Chargers got on the board, Bloomfield's defense stiffened, taking away the Academy running game and forcing Rivera to beat them through the air.

Rivera's first intercepted pass helped Bloomfield get on the board, as the Bobcats converted the turnover into a touchdown reception by George Rascon, Jr., who broke free of a Charger defender down the middle of the field late in the first quarter. That score, followed by a successful point after kick from Andrew Himes gave Bloomfield a lead they'd never relinquish.

The Bobcats extended their lead to 14-6 early in the second quarter, again taking advantage of a Chargers turnover when Sharpe found Jesse Seitzinger for his second touchdown pass of the night.

"(Sharpe) played a great game, overcoming a lot of things," Kovacs said. "I think it was a game that he needed because it showed his determination and ability to get through things."

The Bobcats resorted to their power running game before the half, moving the ball deep into the red zone before getting a 25-yard field goal by Himes as the buzzer sounded at the end of the second quarter with Bloomfield up 17-6.

After a sloppy third quarter in which neither team could get things going offensively, the Chargers narrowed the lead on the very first play of the fourth quarter when Rivera found receiver Rylee Bleicher sprinting down the middle of the field for a 75-yard touchdown pass. The ensuing 2-point conversion made it a 17-14 game.

Bloomfield's offense was able to take valuable time off the clock on a pair of drives that were highlighted by strong running plays from Seitzinger, as well as Aaron Johnson and Andres Gordo. While those drives didn't result in points on the board, it forced Albuquerque Academy to use up their time outs, which later came back to haunt them.

"We knew we had them locked in with the time outs, and I told the kids just buckle down and work the clock," Kovacs said.

An extended Bobcats drive midway through the fourth quarter, featuring big receptions from Drew Perez and Andrew Bair, stalled at the Chargers 5-yard line when Gordo came up just short on a fourth down play. Academy got the ball back with under two minutes remaining but Rivera missed on several passing plays, eventually turning the ball over on downs in the final minute of the contest.

"This was definitely a game we needed. We needed to see how we'd overcome some real adversity and how we'd respond," Kovacs said. "I think so many of these kids learned a lot about the kind of team we are."

Perez and Rascon each recorded a pair of interceptions in the win.

Both the Chargers and Bobcats came into the game ranked among the top teams in Class 4A by MaxPreps and the New Mexico High School Coaches Association. Even with the loss, the Chargers aren't likely to lose a lot of support in either poll.

"We're going to see them again," Kovacs said. "That's a really good, really well-coached team and it's a game that we got this time, but there's a lot of work we need to do."

The Bobcats will have a bye this week before a home game on Friday, Sept. 23 against Valencia.

Durango 55, Aztec 0

The Durango High School football team wasted little time earning their second win of the season, scoring six touchdowns in the first half on their way to a 55-0 rout over Aztec at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium.

The Demons, coming off a tough loss last weekend at the hands of Piedra Vista, re-established themselves as one of the top Class 3A teams in the state of Colorado, dominating the Tigers on both sides of the ball as they led 42-0 at the break before cruising to the win.

Aztec falls to 2-2 on the season and will be on the road Saturday at 1 p.m. for a showdown with Silver, who entered the weekend with a 3-0 start and ranked third in the most recent Class 4A coaches poll.

Montezuma-Cortez 40, Kirtland Central 16

The Montezuma-Cortez High School football team led by as much as 34 points midway through the third quarter and improved their record to 2-1 on the season, rolling past Kirtland Central 40-16 Friday night at Bill Cawood Field.

The Broncos fell behind early and never recovered in their first home game of the season, going into the locker room trailing 26-6 at the half.

The Panthers improved to 2-1 on the season, with both wins coming over San Juan County schools. Montezuma-Cortez opened the season late last month with a win at home over Aztec before losing last weekend on the road against Rifle.

The Broncos fall to 1-2 on the season, and will have a bye this week before preparing for a road game against Grants on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 2 p.m.

Shiprock 60, Monument Valley 8

The Shiprock High School football team earned their second win of the season Friday night, rolling at home to beat Monument Valley (Utah) by a final of 60-8.

The Chieftains, who were winless last season, improved their record on the season to 2-2 while Monument Valley falls to 0-3 on the season, having been outscored by a combined margin of 186-16.

Shiprock will be on the road Thursday at 7 p.m. when they face Zuni, who lost on Friday night 32-0 to Hopi (Ariz.) and have a record of 1-3 on the season.

Boys Soccer

LOS ALAMOS 7, Farmington 0

The Los Alamos High School boys soccer team scored four times in the first half on their way to a 7-0 win over Farmington Friday afternoon during tournament play.

The loss is the second straight for the Scorpions (4-3), who will be back in action Saturday against their crosstown rival Piedra Vista.

Girls Soccer

ALBUQUERQUE ACADEMY 2, Farmington 0

The Albuquerque Academy girls soccer team advanced to the next round of their own tournament, scoring twice in the second half and shutting out Farmington Friday afternoon by a final of 2-0.

The loss is the first of the season for the Lady Scorpions, who came into the match having won four straight. The Chargers (3-2-2) will face Hope Christian Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

HOPE CHRISTIAN 6, Piedra Vista 0

Freshman Mason Ricker was one of five scorers for the Hope Christian girls soccer team as they shut out Piedra Vista by a final of 6-0 Friday in the second round of the Albuquerque Academy tournament.

Senior Ashlyn Salas also scored for the Lady Huskies, along with Seana Amaya, Bryson Fankam and Savanah Sanchez.

Hope Christian is off to a 7-0 start to the season, having outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 50-5. The Lady Panthers (4-2-1) saw their four game unbeaten streak come to an end with the loss.

Volleyball

Aztec 3, Grants 0

The Aztec High School volleyball team advanced to the second round of tournament action at Santa Fe High School, after sweeping Grants three games to none on Friday afternoon.

The Lady Tigers won the match with scores of 25-16, 25-12 and 25-17. They will play again on Saturday at 11 a.m.