NMMI Sports Press
There wasn’t a whole lot of scoring on Colt Field Friday — at least in the first half — and for the fifth game of the high school season, way too many mistakes by both the Colts (1-4) and Hot Springs (2-3).
But NMMI overcame their mistakes and took advantage of some by the Tigers for their first victory of the season, 29-15.
“Just proud of the way they answered in the second half,” said coach Randy Montoya. “I’ve been telling these guys all week long, we’ve been in every game. We had chances to either tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter and we just never could get it done. Then this second half we finally got it done. Just proud of the kids. It’s always great to get a W, any time you can get it.”
The only scoring in the first quarter came on the Tigers’ first possession of the game, when they were stopped at the 14 after eight plays but managed to kick a field goal that just went over the bar.
That 3-0 score stood until 2:18 in the second, when NMMI got the first touchdown of the game on a short carry by quarterback Gavin Maloney. The Colts started the drive on their own 44 after a punt, then moved down field on two passes and a Maloney carry before the TD.
And that’s where it stood at the half.
“It was kind of frustrating there in the first half,” Montoya said. “We just made way too many mistakes. We didn’t come ready to play tonight. So we challenged them at halftime. The majority of the coaches got up and spoke and told them, ‘We can do this. This is something that we’ve got in our grasp. We’ve just got to execute and do a better job,’ and the kids came out and answered the call in the second half.”
NMMI scored on their first possession of the third quarter, eating almost six minutes off the clock before another carry by Maloney made it 13-3. Helping the drive was a 44-yard pass by substitute quarterback Jake Guerrero to Christian Padilla about midway through the possession, then Maloney passed to Padilla who made a 21-yard circus catch to set up the TD two plays later.
The point after kick by Ivan Brewer went wide left, but it really didn’t matter, as a few minutes later, with 1:19 left in the stanza, the Colts made it 21-3 on a 50-yard run by Fausto Baranzini — following a long Maloney to Guerrero pass that was broken up — and the PAT run by Maloney.
The fourth opened with more mistakes, as a NMMI penalty then fumble in the end zone turned into a Hot Springs touchdown, but the 2-point rconversion failed, making it 21-9 Colts.
NMMI immediately made up for that with a 17-yard kickoff return by Ja’lil-Javon Brown followed by a short carry by Maloney and another big run — 63 yards — by Baranzini and a 2-point play, making it 29-9 with 10:44 left in the game.
The Tigers never gave up, scoring with two second left in the game on a run in from the one, but once the second half got rolling, there was no doubt the Colts would get their first victory.
The stats show both the good and the bad in the game.
On the plus side, Maloney passed for 169 yards. Padilla received 135 and Guerrero 76. Baranzini ran for 123 yards and two TDs; Maloney 61 yards and two touchdowns; and Brown for 31.
On the negative side, between both teams, there were three lost fumbles, an interception and 193 yards of penalties.
“I was most proud of the fact everybody got to play this game,” Montoya said. “Everybody got some reps. It was a good team win. We all made mistakes. There ain’t no doubt. So there isn’t one person who deserves the credit. We’ve all got to continue to get better, which we have been every week. We just can’t let those things slip up.”
Montoya knows those mistakes could be even more costly come district, but with one final pre-district game on the schedule — Sept. 30 in Loving — he hopes the momentum has swung toward the Colts.
“One more pre-district game that we’ve got to take care of, and we’ve got to clean it up,” he said. “But it’s always good to get a W. I told the kids, let’s make this a snowball. Let’s get this thing moving. Let’s keep this ball rolling.”
Video Clips, also courtesy of Laura Brown: