Steers’ quarterback Shane Montoya gets pulled down for a sack against Melrose.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

The Steers football team showed promise against Melrose on Sept. 1, but for now, Magdalena’s best games are still ahead following a 54-0 loss.

“I saw some good things. At the beginning of the game, I had a feeling that we could move the ball through the air. That’s going to be our thing this year,” Magdalena head football coach Danny Daniels said.

The Steers are depending on sophomore Shane Montoya’s arm to move the ball through the air, and to do that, Magdalena’s blocking will need to improve to give its quarterback the time he needs.

I was happy we moved the ball and did some good things. We’ve got to learn how to value the ball, and we aren’t there yet as a team. We put the ball on the ground, and we’re not finishing rounds (blocking) and those types of things and ends up hurting the quarterback and all kinds of stuff. We need to clean up those things, but overall, I’m happy with what I saw in the ball movement that we did, and they are just a good team,” Daniels said.

The game boiled down to experience, with Magdalena fielding 20 players, including six freshmen and three eighth graders, while Melrose suited up 27 athletes and five seniors to the Steers’ one – Krae Stephens.

Stephens was a frequent target for Montoya out of the backfield, and his brother Ky provided some of the Steers’ movement Daniels was talking about. The Steers also got some solid runs from Javen Tafoya and Matthew Lopez.

On defense, Noah Guerro came up with a fumble recovery, and eighth-grader Paul Chavez Lopez delivered the game’s most brutal hit that prevented a touchdown.

Right now, the main focus for Steers is to stay injury-free with a road trip to Logan (20-1) on Sept. 8 and a home date with Fort Sumner-House (1-0) on Sept. 15.

“Right now, it’s all about the experience. So, every play, we’re going to learn from them, and hopefully gain the experience and keep kids healthy and make sure they’re motivated and upbeat. We also know where we want to be. We also know our goals, so we’ll get through it,” Daniels said.