Sundevils Tough In First Half, Capital Pulls Away In Second Half

by Staff Reporter / Oct 24, 2017 / comments
Española’s Nick Martinez plows into a capital High School defender. Martinez scored both of Española’s touchdowns in a 46-12 loss. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Sundevils Tough In First Half, Capital Pulls Away In Second Half

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The Española Valley High School Sundevils played a strong first half against the Capital High School Jaguars and trailed just 19-12 at halftime. Big plays by the Jaguars highlighted the second half and Capital pulled away for a 45-12 victory.

The Sundevils moved the ball on offense and racked up 225 yards rushing, but most of that yardage was between the 20-yardlines. Penalties and turnovers continued to plague the Sundevils.

Capital struck quickly and scored on their first two possessions. Luke Padilla bolted 23 yards for the game’s first score to give Capital a 6-0 lead. The Jaguars struck again after Española turned the ball over on downs. Quarterback Cisco Leos heaved a 62-yard bomb to Lucas McNatt and the extra point was good to give Capital a 13-0 lead.

Española came back. After an Española punt was downed by the Sundevils inside the 10-yard line. Capital was forced to punt and Española wound up with good field position at the Jaguars’ 36-yard line.

A big run by fullback Nick Martinez moved the ball down to the 12-yardline. Martinez would finish off the drive with a short touchdown run to make the score 13-6 with 1:36 left in the first quarter.

Española quarterback Markus Griego hands off to Nick Martinez. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

The Sundevils would strike again in the second quarter. Quarterback Markus Griego heaved a long pass to DeAndre Curtis, who made a nice catch between two defenders for a 50-yard gain down to the 6-yardline. Martinez barreled into the end zone from there. The Sundevils could have taken the lead with a two-point conversion, but Curtis was stopped short of the end zone and Capital clung to a 13-12 lead.

Capital would score again before halftime to make the score 19-12 at the half.

 Española quarterback Markus Griego runs for yardage against Capital. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

In the second half, the Sundevils would start most of their drives deep in their own territory. Española would move the ball, but the drive would run out of steam. The one Española possession that entered the red zone inside Capital’s 20-yardline ended up going backwards to the 40-yardline after a pair of penalties on the Sundevils. A chance at a big play failed when a halfback pass from Curtis fell well short of a wide-open Arlen Garcia.

Capital dialed long distance for their scores. Jacob Jiron bolted untouched through the line for a 48-yard touchdown run at 2:18 of the third quarter Leos would find McNatt again for another score at 6:55 of the fourth quarter. The final nail in the coffin was a 65-yard scamper by Padilla that made the score 45-12 at 2:14 in the fourth quarter. A successful kick on the point-after touchdown accounted for the final score.

Española Coach Ron DuPree, who has replaced Jesus Maes as head coach Oct. 9 after Maes was replaced by Athletic Director Phillip Roybal, showed the stress of having to take over a team during midseason.

“It’s been a rough two weeks, to be honest with you,” Coach DuPree said. “We moved the ball, we just can’t get in the end zone.”

There are a few bright spots. Española’s offensive line has blocked well all season.

“Coach Rudy (Martinez) is doing a good job with them,” Coach Dupree said. “They’ve been a good offensive line all year long.”

Curtis had a rough game. Several of his best and longest runs from scrimmage were negated by penalties. He did have a long pass reception and may play a bigger role in the passing game.

‘The offensive line played amazing,” Curtis said. “I’m glad my teammates are starting to trust me.”

Española fell to 2-5 on the season and 0-2 in District 2-5A.  Capital, who defeated defending District 2-5A champion Del Norte High School 18-13 Oct. 14, is in first place in the district standings with a 2-0 district record. The Jaguars are 4-4 on the season. The Sundevils can salvage something in their next game Friday at Los Alamos. Española has not beaten the Hilltoppers since 2003, including a heart-breaking 35-34 loss last season on the last play of the game. A win over Los Alamos could ease the pain of a losing season.