By Mike Tooley
With only a 17-man roster, the Tigers of Hot Springs High School, lost their first round bid in the Class 4A playoffs to the Cobre Indians 49-6.
Tiger Quarterback Darin Welty kept the Tigers from a shutout by sprinting 32 yards for a touchdown with 6:31 remaining in the contest.
For nearly two quarters, the injury-laden Tigers put up a courageous fight, holding the Indians to only six points up to the end of the second quarter when the Indians scored their second touchdown with just 41 seconds remaining in the half. The score and two-point conversion gave the Indians a 14-0 halftime lead.
Injuries were most noticeable in the second half, when the Tigers lost Quinton Montoya at the 8:50 mark. They already were without the services of David Gurule and Anthony Goulart due to injuries, and to add to their losses, a couple of the Tiger starters did not make the trip due to conflicts in their schedule.
Even with the losses, the Tiger defense was able to hold the Indians to 49 yards rushing in the first quarter, and a mere 29 yards rushing in the second quarter.
Two turnovers during the third period were disastrous for the Tigers. The Indians received the kickoff to open the second half and marched 75 yards to start off a scoring frenzy, capitalizing on a Tiger fumble at the 15 yard line, which was turned into points by the Indians and then late in the quarter, the Indians high-jacked a Tiger aerial, which was converted to points, giving the Indians 21-0 push in the quarter and a 35-0 lead at the end of the third period.
Another interception at the beginning of the fourth period turned into points for the Indians as they returned the interception 69 yards to paydirt for a 43-0 lead.
It was midway through the period that the Tigers moved the ball downfield from their own eight yard line to the Indian 32, and that’s when Darin Welty broke loose on an option play and sprinted into the Indians end zone for the Tiger score.
The excitement of the score didn’t last very long, as the Indians received the ensuing kickoff and raced 82 yards into the Tiger end zone for the final score of the game.
The win kept the Indians in the 4A playoffs with a trip to Bloomfield for the quarterfinal match next weekend.
The loss gave the Tigers a 5 win 6 loss season record.
In other matches in the 4A held over the weekend, Hatch Valley defeated New Mexico Military Institute 27-10; Portales defeated Pojoaque 41-18 and St. Michael’s of Santa Fe defeated Kirtland Central 20-12.
Hatch Valley will travel to Robertson of Las Vegas for their quarterfinal match while Portales will travel to Silver City, and St. Michael’s will travel to Ruidoso.