Mean Moose knock off eighth-ranked Tigers

Alamosa High School’s Kade Jones returns a kickoff in the second half of Friday’s game against eighth-ranked La Junta. Jones’ 45-yard return set up the winning touchdown as the Mean Moose defeated the Tigers 28-20 (Courier photo by Ken Hamrick).

ALAMOSA – It was a good night for the Alamosa High School football team Friday at the AHS Stadium.

The Mean Moose honored long-time football coach Manny Wasinger at halftime. Then they had a strong second half to open Tri-Peaks League play with a 28-20 win over eighth-ranked La Junta.

“We knew it was going to be a back and forth game,” said Alamosa coach Drew Sandlin. “La Junta is always good. They’re physical. We preached it to our boys all week that it was going to be a fight and we ended up winning that fight in the final round.”

The Mean Moose had the ball first and they proceeded to march 80 yards on 11 plays. Kasey Jones capped off the drive as he threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brant Jackson on fourth and long. Ryan Higareda kicked the extra point to give Alamosa a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers answered on their first possession of the game. Jeremiah Martinez scored on a 23-yard run, however, the point-after attempt was no good and the Mean Moose stayed in front at 7-6.

The second quarter saw both teams exchange punts. La Junta attempted a scoring drive late in the quarter, but it got as far as the Alamosa 41 before time expired in the first half.

The Tigers had first possession in the second half and they took the lead on a 42-yard reverse sweep by Ethan Leyba. Rylan Schmidt threw to Leyba on the two-point conversion and La Junta led 14-7.

The Mean Moose answered with a scoring drive of their own. Kasey Jones threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to his twin brother Kade. Higareda kicked the extra point to tie the score at 14-14.

An Alamosa fumble set up La Junta’s next score. Schmidt scored on a 2-yard quarterback keeper, but he was stopped on the two-point conversion attempt and the Tigers led 20-14.

But once again, the Mean Moose had an answer. Kasey Jones and Jackson hooked up for the second time, once again scoring on fourth-and-long. This time it was a 24-yard touchdown. Higareda converted the extra point to give Alamosa a 21-20 lead with 9:52 to play.

La Junta went on another potential scoring drive, but again the Mean Moose defense was up to the challenge, stopping the Tigers on the Alamosa 36.

The Mean Moose put the game away on their next drive with R.J. Meis scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run. Higareda again made the extra point for a 28-20 Alamosa lead.

Jace Quintana put the game on ice with an interception and Alamosa proceeded to run out the clock.

The Mean Moose had a total of 363 yards of total offense. Kasey Jones completed 15 of 33 passes for 212 yards. Jackson was his top receiver with six catches for 108 yards, followed by Michael Motz with three receptions for 56 yards.

Meis was the leading rusher with 74 yards on 13 carries, and Kasey Jones ran for 67 yards on 16 carries.

The Alamosa defense limited La Junta to 273 yards of total offense – 213 rushing and 60 passing.

Alamosa (3-2, 1-0) will make the long trip to the Arkansas Valley on Friday as it will face Lamar at 7 p.m.

“Lamar’s always good,” Sandlin said. “For whatever reason they’ve had our number the last couple of years. We’re excited to head east and get after them again. Hopefully come out with the win this time.”

Alamosa 28, La Junta 20

La Junta 6 0 8 6 – 20

Alamosa 7 0 7 14 – 28

First quarter

A – Jackson 20 pass from Kas. Jones (Higareda kick), 7:56

LJ – Martinez 23 run (kick failed), 4:03

Third quarter

LJ – Leyba 42 run (Leyba pass from Schmidt), 8:11

A – Kad. Jones 4 pass from Kas. Jones (Higareda kick), 5:15

Fourth quarter

LJ – Schmidt 2 run (run failed), 11:57

A – Jackson 24 pass from Kas. Jones (Higareda kick), 9:52

A – Meis 2 run (Higareda kick), 1:27

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