Lobos Bring Down Elks 51-18

by Editor / Sep 18, 2018 / 0 comments
Escalante quarterback Estevan Archuleta tosses a pass to AJ Blea in the flat against Pojoaque. Archuleta threw three touchdown passes.

 

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

Lobos Bring Down the Elks 51-18

Down 6-0 at Pojoaque Valley High School, the Escalante High School Lobos scored 30 unanswered points in the first half and went on to defeat the Elks 51-18 to snap  a two-game losing streak Sept. 14 at Pojoaque.

Escalante needed a win to ease the sting of two lopsided losses. For the first time since 2011, the Lobos had lost two games in a row. Bloomfield High School beat the Lobos 71-21 Aug. 31 at Bloomfield. Estancia High School dominated Escalante 46-6 Sept. 7 at Estancia. On the road for the third straight week, the Lobos would try to get back to their winning ways against a young but hungry Pojoaque team that was seeking its second win of the season.

“The last couple of weeks have rough,” Escalante running back Anthony Ulibarri said. “We felt focused on getting better. Everyone doing their job and go out and win some ball games.”

Ulibarri rushed for 123 yards on 16 carries. He also scored on a blocked punt. Once the Lobos realized that the Elks had trouble stopping Escalante’s speed option rushing attack, he and Lobo quarterback Estevan Archuleta were able to pick up big chunks of yardage and control the ball. The rushing attack also opened up the passing attack, as Archuleta threw three touchdown passes.

​Escalante's Anthony Ulibarri heads downfield with blockers around him against Pojoaque

“It all starts with the line,” Archuleta said. “They made it easy.”

Pojoaque started strong. Beginning from their own 22-yard line, the Elks completed passes of 22 yards and 27 yards to Steve Sanchez and had a first down at Escalante’s seven-yard line. Escalante’s AJ Blea stopped that drive with an interception in the end zone that he returned out to the 11-yardline. The Lobos were moving the ball well, but fumbled and the Elks took over at their 40-yard line.

Helped by a pass interference penalty, Pojoaque drove into Escalante territory. Quarterback Devonn Holmes found Sanchez open in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown pass. That gave Pojoaque a 6-0 lead at 5:17 of the first quarter.

​Pojoaque quarterback Devonn Holmes looks for a receiver against Escalante.

Escalante answered with a long drive. After five straight running plays, Archuleta hit Blea out in the flat and he turned it into a 35-yard play that gave Escalante first and goal at Pojoaque’s nine-yard line. Archuleta scored on a keeper and a successful two-point conversion gave the Lobos an 8-6 lead at 2:25 of the first quarter.

Escalante began to put a lot of pressure on Holmes and the next two Pojoaque possessions went nowhere. Archuleta found Blea open down the middle for a 20-yard touchdown strike that gave the Lobos a 14-6 lead at 9:25 of the second quarter.

 Pojoaque turned the ball over on downs near midfield on their next possession. The speed option, where Archuleta pitches the ball to Ulibarri, was working well for the Lobos. Two runs by Ulibarri moved the ball into Pojoaque’s red zone and Archuleta then passed to Brendon Giles for a touchdown. A two-point conversion on a pass to Blea gave Escalante a 22-6 lead with 6:38 left in the first half.

Pojoaque went nowhere on its next possession and dropped back to punt from its own 30-yard line. Ulibarri burst right up the middle, blocked the punt and scooped up the bouncing ball. He ran it into the end zone for a touchdown, then tacked on a two-point conversion for a 30-6 lead by the Lobos.

“It was designed that way,” Ulibarri said of his blocked punt. “Everyone did their job.”

Pojoaque scored just before halftime on a pass from Bryan Martinez to Andres Sandoval that made the score 30-12 with just 27 seconds left in the first half. It looked like that would be the score at halftime.

As it turned out, it was just enough time for the Lobos to score again. After returning the kickoff to the Elks 36-yardline, a 15-yard penalty on Pojoaque moved the ball down to Pojoaque’s 22-yard line. Archuleta hit Giles with a touchdown pass that made the score 36-12 at halftime.

Pojoaque scored just over a minute into the second half.After the Elks recovered a fumble at Escalante’s 20-yard line, Holmes hit D’sean Martinez with a touchdown pass that made the score 36-18 at 10:57 of the third quarter. For the rest of the third quarter and much of the fourth quarter, the action took place in the middle of the field between the 20-yard lines. After D’sean Martinez intercepted an Archuleta pass, it looked like Pojoaque had a shot at getting back making the game even closer.

Blea spoiled that scenario by returning the favor and intercepting a pass by Holmes to give the ball back to Escalante. Archuleta was finding room to run on quarterback keepers and he did the bulk of the work on the Lobos next drive, finishing it off with a touchdown run and then passing to Blea for the two-point conversion. Escalante led 44-18 at 7:41 of the fourth quarter.

Archuleta scored the game’s final touchdown with his third rushing TD. James Garcia booted the extra point to account for the final score of 51-18 in favor of the Lobos.

Archuleta rushed for 112 yards on 16 carries. He completed 10-of-20 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns.

‘We still have a lot of work,” Archuleta said. “We just need to get better and get better.”

The Lobos still had three turnovers, which have plagued them so far this season. Escalante Coach Dusty Giles pushes the same philosophy of focusing on getting better every game.

“Our biggest enemy is us,” Coach Giles said. “We need to eliminate the mistakes. Make fewer and fewer every week.”

Despite the loss, Pojoaque Coach Pat Mares still had good things to say about his young team. Pojoaque has eight juniors and one senior on its roster. The rest are sophomores and freshmen.

“These kids have the heart of a lion,” Coach Mares said. “I can’t ask for a better team attitude. They didn’t quit. They still wanted to tackle, wanted the ball. You can’t coach that.”

He praised his upperclassmen, who have not tasted a lot of victories in their careers. Pojoaque has won just five games in the last three years.

‘I respect my juniors and seniors so much,” Coach Mares said. “They’ve had rough careers. They are still determined and want to build this program.”

Escalante hosts Albuquerque Academy Friday in Tierra Amarilla. Pojoaque hosts McCurdy Charter School Thursday at Pojoaque.