Steers freshman Cesar Alvarado coming off the field after a big defensive stop.
Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain


After a rocky 0-3 start to the 2021 season, the Magdalena football team appears to be back on track. The Steers hosted a showdown against their neighboring rival Alamo Navajo on September 30 and for the second week in a row the defense did not allow a score, winning to the tune of 52-0.

“This win feels great,” head coach Ryan Romero said. “Especially since this is our first district win. As the season goes on, the games become more meaningful for us. We’ve set higher standards for ourselves, particularly on defense, in practice. We’re seeing that on the field now.”

The defense was cooking on all burners early with a big fumble recovery by junior Danny Pino in the first that resulted in a score. The Steers got the ball back quickly and scored again on a quarterback keeper by junior Josh Baca from the five yard-line.

Another score capped off by Pino running the ball in for a two-point conversion had Magdalena up 20-0 with plenty of time left in the first quarter. The Cougars found some hope after recovering

a scramble fumble. Then two plays later Steers linebacker Javen Tafoya scooped up a fumble of his own on a strip tackle. Wideout Kael Stephens turned that into more points to make it 28-0. Still in the first quarter.

The onslaught continued. Pino went for a 40-plus yard burner with Baca punching the ball into the endzone. Freshman Shane Montoya scooped up another fumble off a botched snap by Alamo. Montoya did have to leave the game with what appeared to be a left ankle sprain.

With the game seemingly out of reach, Alamo tried to get tricky with a fake punt. Freshman Krae Stephens gobbled up that play and the Steers never looked back. Pino did go out with a minor injury during the second quarter as he limped off the field. It did not matter, as the Steers lined up in victory formation, taking home a near-flawless victory before the mercy rule was enforced.

“Not allowing any points was our goal this week,” coach Romero said. “That was our goal last week as well. Our boys played hard tonight. I also liked being able to get some of our younger players involved. But it’s just one game. Now it comes down to practice, practice, practice every day going forward. There’s no mystery to it. The fans know we have a special group here that works hard in all of the sports they play for Magdalena.”

As they were getting on the bus to make the travel back up the “Snake,” Alamo Navajo head coach Wyatt Billy encouraged his players for not giving up during the game.

“We’re a big team. We have a lot of strength on our side. We just don’t have a ton of speed. That’s the only thing I think we lack. But these bigger guys are not afraid to shift around and run the ball. Despite all that these kids are doing what they’re asked to do and keeping their heads high. Our team tries to keep a positive attitude and motivate each other.”

Magdalena hopes to continue its win streak with a weekend battle against Pine Hill on the road during an afternoon game at 11:00 a.m. on October 9. The Alamo Navajo Cougars face off against the Dulce Hawks on October 8.

8-Man 1 (8 Man District) Standings:

  1. Menaul; 3-2.
  2. Magdalena; 2-3.
  3. Pine Hill; 0-6.