ALAMO NAVAJO–Magdalena won, but Alamo Navajo didn’t make it easy as the Cougars pounced on the Steers early, scoring the first touchdown and hanging tough in a 58-22 District 1-1A loss on Oct. 19.
“I think the guys came in and thought Alamo was going to lay down for them,” Steers coach Danny Daniels said. “You can’t go to someone’s house and think they will do that.”
The Cougars proved Daniels’ point with Mclane Guerro recovering a Magdalena fumble to set up running back Johnshay Padilla’s 33-yard scoring pass to Wyatt Hunter and a 6-0 lead.
There was little time to celebrate as Magdalena’s Matthew Lopez returned the ensuing kickoff more than 70 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Shane Montoya hooked up with Javen Tafoya on the extra-points pass to make it an 8-6 game.
Lopez had a career night as he also returned a punt for a touchdown and had another score called back due to a penalty. The Steers would have more than one score called back due to miscues.
“It was our younger guys at the beginning, so we made some switches, but I give it to them (Alamo). They made some good plays and great catches,” Daniels said.
The two teams exchanged turnovers, with the Cougars’ Wyatt Hunter grabbing an interception at Magdalena’s one-yard line, Tafoya then returning the favor by plucking off a Scotty Guerro pass, and Alexandria Jake jumped on a Steers’ fumble for a recovery.
The Steers’ lone senior, Krae Stephens, tacked on two scores on a 36-yard run and a 35-yard reception off the arm of Shane Montoya to make it 20-6 at halftime.
The turnovers and penalties that cost Magdalena scores were the focus of Daniels’ halftime talk.
“Taking care of the ball has killed us regarding sustaining drives. We moved the ball and turned it over out of the blue. For us to be a better team, we’ve got to be able to take care of the ball. That’s the most important thing,” Daniels said.
The Steers did just that in the second half, with Lopez scoring on a 55-yard punt return, and Stephen’s PAT run extended Magdalena’s lead to 29-6. The senior then gathered in a 45-yard pass from Montoya to move the game to 36-6.
Montoya opened the fourth quarter with a 43-yard scoring strike to Javen Tafoya and had a 77-yard scoring pass to Ky Stephens called back before connecting with eighth-grader Nathan Bruton on an 85-yard touchdown on the next play.
With 4:37 remaining in the contest, it looked like the Cougars were done scoring, but Alamo’s Mclane Guerro started a run and then got the ball back to Guerro for a 55-yard sprint.
When Magdalena failed to run out the clock, Guerro hit a streaking Jurrale Tsosie on a 35-yard score.
The Steers weren’t done as Xzavian “Max” Tafoya returned the kickoff 49 yards to close out the scoring.
Despite the loss, there wasn’t any disappointment from Alamo coach Wyatt Billy.
“We came together even though we were losing,” Billy said. “We all push each other beyond boundaries – not just in football but life.”