MAGDALENA—The Steers produced more turnovers than a Sunday morning bakery as Magdalena (3-1) used four interceptions and two fumble recoveries for a 32-20 win over previously unbeaten Logan (3-1) on Sept. 9.
Headed into the contest, first-year head coach Danny Daniels wanted his team to continue to show improvement, and the game plan was for the Steers to stop Logan’s passing game. Four picks did the job — keeping the Longhorns’ air assault in check.
Magdalena played a little “big-eyed” to start the game, but the Steers quickly fell into their defensive groove while duking it out on offense. Falling behind 8-0, Kael Stephens provided the first of the Steers’ six takeaways when he picked off a pass and took away the Longhorns’ momentum.
Sophomore defensive end Joseph Zamora provided the next big play when he blocked a punt to set up Magdalena’s first touchdown of the night on quarterback Joshua Baca’s two-yard score. Two straight illegal-motion penalties left the Steers unable to score on the extra-points pass.
The Steers took a 14-8 lead when Baca connected with Stephens on an 8-yard pass, and the senior quarterback hit Joseph Zamora for the extra-points pass.
Logan returned the favor when the Steers were caught out of alignment on a long pass, and the Longhorns scored on a short run. It was just about the only mistake Magdalena made on defense, and linebacker Daniel Martinez provided the Steers’ next scoring opportunity with an interception and 30-yard return to set up Baca’s 1-yard scoring plunge.
Magdalena was denied its second fumble recovery (yes, there could have been eight takeaways) on the ensuing possession, and Logan took advantage of the call to tie it at 20-20.
Logan may have thought of a comeback, but the Steers continued to blanket the field the rest of the way. A second interception by Stephens stopped one drive, and Javen Tafoya’s pick destroyed all hopes for the Longhorns.
“I just give credit to my teammates because they are out there doing their jobs, and sometimes it creates an opportunity for me to do something,” Stephens said.
Between those defensive highlights, Baca scored on a wild scramble nearly waved off due to a hurdling penalty, but the officials decided Baca’s move was a cut rather than a jump over the defender.
Baca wrapped it up with 6:07 remaining in play when he connected with a double-covered Kaleb Castanon for the Steers’ final tally.
On defense, Baca and Jeffrey Stuteville both had a fumble recovery that stopped Longhorn drives.
While it looked tight on the scoreboard, the game was much farther apart as the Steers got into the red zone on four occasions when they didn’t score.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors, but at the same time, we have players who haven’t played much football, or they are coming out to play after laying out for a while,” Daniels said. “We must keep working and finish every play and not let people get behind us on defense. The same goes for the offense — finish the plays.”
Finishing will be necessary for Magdalena in a Friday (Sept. 16) road game against Fort Sumner’s House Football (Co-op) which is 2-0 with 52-0 and 66-12 wins to its credit.