Del Norte senior Kaleb Batz (5) refuses to go down and extends for a Tiger touchdown on Thursday night against Dolores Huerta. Batz doubled his team leading receiving touchdown total with two on Thursday night. (Courier photos by Stephen Jiron)
ALAMOSA, Colo. — Unfortunately for the Tigers, their first home game was 30 miles away from home. Thursday night Del Norte hosted Dolores Huerta in Alamosa on Rex Field and came away with a 24-21 win.
The Tigers’ (1-2-0) season hasn’t quite started out the way they’d hoped. In two games Del Norte has been outscored by an average of 26 points. But things went Del Norte’s way immediately on Thursday night.
The Scorpions failed to pick up a live ball on the opening kickoff giving the Tigers possession within striking distance. Preston Terrell rumbled in to give Del Norte an early lead. Three drives later Del Norte’s Anthony Balderas found the quarterback for a sack to hobble a drive and force a punt. Del Norte would start their drive at their own 32 yard line. Shortly thereafter the drive stalled just short of midfield with two incompletions.
On fourth down Keegan Medina found Kaleb Batzer all alone downfield for a 52-yarder to give the Tigers their second touchdown of the first quarter for a score of 12-0. The Scorpions would get on the board two drives later when a punt went out the back of the endzone making it 12-2. Neither team fielded a very effective offense through the remainder of the first half. Play was also mired by penalties. The two teams combined for 12 infractions in the first half, and would go to the locker rooms with the score 12-2.
Late in the third quarter after forcing a turnover on downs Dolores Huerta got their offense going. On a drive that spanned quarters a couple big fouls helped the Scorpions along. Dolores Huerta closed the deal tacking on a two-point conversion bringing them to within two.
After forcing a three and out the Scorpions were right back at it driving down the field and kicking the go ahead field goal. Seeing their lead go up in smoke was enough to wake Del Norte up.
With five minutes remaining Del Norte got back to work. A keeper to Medina gained 13, followed by the same play to the same side for another ten. Terrell would pick up four chunks to put Del Norte 36 yards out. Del Norte’s drive dipped inside the red zone before a sack and a foul had them right on the threshold, 20 yards out.
With just over two minutes to play Medina got the ball to Batzer three yards from paydirt where he was immediately outnumbered. Batzer would not be denied and dragged two defenders within range before laying out to put the Tigers ahead once more.
Preston Terrell (21) of Del Norte drags a defender. Terrell and the Tigers got their first win of the season in their home opener.
A turnover on downs on the ensuing drive allowed Terrell to drive a coffin nail for Del Norte giving them a 24-13 lead with just over a minute to play.
The Scorpions got a huge return on the following kick off and would make good on the touchdown and the two point conversion but their luck would run out on the onside kick attempt which failed to go ten yards. Two kneel downs from Medina awarded Del Norte their first win of the season.
Del Norte will try to build on this win when they return to Rex Field to host No. 6 Mancos for Homecoming Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.