Dons defeat Pojoaque, Elks Still Looking for First Win

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Pojoaque quarterback Isaiah Rodriguez completed a couple of passes before being knocked out of the game. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Dons defeat Pojoaque, Elks Still Looking for First Win

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

Perhaps the best example of how the season is going for the Pojoaque Valley High School football team happened late in the second quarter of their 51-0 loss to the West Las Vegas High School Dons Sept. 22 at Pojoaque. Down 26-0 with five minutes left in the first half, Pojoaque started with good field position at the Dons’ 48-yard line.

Pojoaque quarterback Isaiah Rodriguez, who had been sharing the position with freshman quarterback Devonn Holmes, completed a pass over the middle to Sterlin Martinez that was good for 15 yards. Rodriguez followed that completion with a pass to Colton Law. The big receiver made a nice catch in traffic that picked up 13 yards inside the Dons’ 20-yardline. It looked like the Elks would have a chance to score for the first time in more than two games.

Pojoaque quarterback Devonn Holmes loses the ball against the West Las Vegas Dons. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

But Rodriguez had taken a solid hit to the chest after he had released the ball and he had to leave the game and did not return to action.

“It looks like it’s a fractured sternum,” Pojoaque Coach Jorge Oropeza said. “He was sparking us.”

The lift that he had given the Elks quickly deflated and West Las Vegas eventually took over on downs. The Dons drove downfield and Antonio Bustamante scored his fourth touchdown of the first half on an 8-yard run with 36 seconds left in the first half to give West Las Vegas a 32-0 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the Dons scored with 9:50 left in the third quarter on a pass from John Balizan to Anthony Tapia to take a 38-0 lead. That initiated the running clock under the 35-point mercy rule. Bustamante scored his fifth touchdown of the game on a 10-yard run. Early in the fourth quarter, Bustamante bolted 30 yards for his sixth touchdown of the game that gave the Dons a 51-0 lead. The game ended then under the 50-point mercy rule.

Pojoaque fell to 0-5 on the season and the Elks have scored just eight points so far this season. Pojoaque has been decimated by injuries and suffered two more against West Las Vegas, giving them a total of nine so far this season.

The already thin Elks have been forced to play underclassmen.

“I have six seniors and two juniors,” Coach Oropeza said. “I’m very sophomore and freshman heavy. I’m slim at every position.”

The Elks face Santa Fe Indian School Friday (9/30) in the Elks’ Homecoming Game at Pojoaque. The Braves are off to their best start in years at 4-1, but suffered their first loss of the season Sept. 22 in a 62-7 loss to Taos High School. It may be Pojoaque’s best chance for a victory.

“I’m proud of the guys,” Coach Oropeza said. “They could have rolled over, but they didn’t.”