ALAMOSA — Being the homecoming game, Alamosa High School Field got rocking Friday night. Despite putting up one heck of a fight Alamosa (3-3) couldn’t come up with a win, falling 20-14 to the visiting Panthers (3-3). The redzone gave Alamosa fits all night long.
Friday night the Mean Moose hit the ground running. As a committee Davis Gonzales, Ben Wuckert and Chad Jackson covered 39 yards on the ground to the Cortez forty-yard line. From there Jackson ran a play action bootleg to the far side and found Austin Barrows for a 40 yard score to go up 6-0.
The Panthers’ answer came swiftly. Running back Jacob Schuster beat everyone to the corner for a 25-yard gain to the Alamosa 26 yard line. Two passes from Ike Dennison got the Panthers one yard out. From the doorstep Matthew Broughton punched it in to tie the game, the PAT giving Montezuma-Cortez a 7-6 lead.
On Montezuma’s final offensive drive of the first quarter the Moose defense suffered a busted coverage that left Cordell Baer running downfield all alone. Dennison found him and the result was a 52-yard score to give the Panthers a 14-6 lead after the PAT.
Alamosa’s next drive looked like it might be the one to tie things until it stalled near the redzone and went back to the Panthers on downs. Six plays into Cortez’s ensuing drive Alamosa senior Antonio Rivera wrapped Dennison up for a sack. The following play Rivera covered a fumble to give Alamosa possession at the forty-yard line. Unfortunately for the Moose, they couldn’t capitalize and would give the ball back on downs after moving it three yards. Neither team would gain much offensive traction as time in the half expired.
From there both teams seemed to have each other’s offense’s figured out. The Panther’s defense keyed in on whether John Lujan- in his first game back, or Chad Jackson was under center as pass/run tell. The third chapter came and went with very little to-do but the fourth quarter Alamosa flipped the panic switch.
On an attempted punt from Cortez, Alamosa's Koby Brubacher gave Alamosa a shot in the arm with a blocked punt giving the Moose first and ten in the redzone. Two rushes by Wuckert put Alamosa on the two-yard line. Fouls and incompletions ushered the Moose into a turnover on downs on the five.
The Panthers’ next offensive play, Alamosa senior Davis Gonzales got his hat on the ball to force a fumble, Kane Absmier swiped it out of the air and just like that it was Alamosa ball on the ten yard line. Once again the Panthers defense stiffened and four downs came and went giving the Panthers the ball on their own one-yard line.
Alamosa would force a punt and again the Moose special teams came up big blocking the punt and advancing the ball to the one yard line. This time they would not be denied. Lujan would get in on the right side to make it 14-12. Three tries from inside the ten and six points to show for it elicited an emotional reaction from the Moose that triggered an unsportsmanlike foul that pushed the two point attempt out to the 18 yard line.
The Moose were undeterred, Chad Jackson got loose and Lujan found him in the center of the endzone to tie it all up at 14-all with four minutes to go. With everything falling their way Alamosa gambled with an onside and lost giving Cortez a shortened field.
Stuffing Cortez’s first four plays it looked as though the defense covered the bet. Then on fourth down Dennison hit Vincent Conklin in stride for a thirty-yard go-ahead score. Hope survived for the Alamosa faithful when the holder bobbled the snap meaning all Alamosa needed was a touchdown.
Everything was lined up, Alamosa had 3 minutes and two time outs all they needed to do was cover 63-yards and score one more touchdown. John Lujan picked up seven yards, followed by Wuckert with six and a first down. With a fresh set of downs the Moose let too many balls hit the turf and were buried by incompletions giving the ball back on downs. Though Alamosa was able to get the ball back the curtain closed on the Moose before they could complete the comeback.
Alamosa will travel to meet contender No. 4 Salida next weekend on Oct. 12.