By Marty Mayfield
A scoreless first half ballgame took a turn to the wild side in the second half as Raton hosted the West Las Vegas Dons for this year’s homecoming romp in the Jungle Friday night that ended the West-losing streak with a 33-16 win.
Neither team could do much in the first half as a defensive battle not only kept both teams from scoring but even out of the red zone. There were bright spots to the offensive side of the ball such as the fake punt that netted Raton a first down to begin the second quarter, yet unable to capitalize they turned the ball over on downs at the 20.
During that half of play Raton would suffer a major blow to the Raton game plan with a knee injury to Oscar Arreola, who was also crowned homecoming king, and an arm injury to Mark Lucero. With both players out and Jonathan Cabrieles playing on the offensive and defensive line Raton had to make adjustments which is hard with such a small team.
As third quarter action began a West Las Vegas fumble that Raton’s Jonathan Cabrieles recovered only lead to a three and out for Raton where West’s Adrian Valdez returned the Raton punt to the Raton 25-yard line. Six plays later Jordan Martinez plows the three yards to pay dirt and the first of many scores the Dons would put on the board on their way to a 33-16 win over the Tigers. Devon Maes tacked on the extra point for a 7-0 game at 7:16 on the clock.
Raton’s next series ended with Jordan Martinez picking off a Dante Mileta pass and taking it to the West 45. This series would end with a 16-yard pass play from JJ Montano to Anthony Medina for six more. A bad snap left the score 13-0.
On the next play after Montano kicked the ball into the end zone saw the Don’s Brian Gonzales ejected from the game on an unsportsman like penalty. From there Raton went three and out but Raton’s Juan Sarinana intercepted a Montano pass giving Raton great field position at the West 27. Then Adrian Valdez picks off another Mileta pass at the West four-yard line. Then Dante Mileta recovers a west fumble at the West eight-yard line.
From the eight Mileta rambles around the end for six Tiger points. Then he does it again for the 2-point conversion making it a 13-8 game with 3:36 on the third period clock.
Its not over yet as a perfect onside kick gives West the ball on their 40. While a holding penalty brings a 20 yard run back a pass play to Miguel Sena adds 30 and a play later Jorge Gallegos collects a Montano pass and takes it in for a 30 yard pass play to pay dirt. The Maes PAT is good and it’s a 20-8 ball game.
Another pass interception by Adrian Valdez ends the Raton series and two plays later it’s a Montano to Miguel Sena for a 73-yard race to the end zone. The PAT failed was blocked leaving the score 26-8 with 59 seconds on the third quarter clock.
Raton carries the ball into the fourth but Mike Ortiz picks off a Mileta pass and carries it to the 34. Six plays later its another Montano to Medina pass play that goes 18 yards for six. Maes splits the uprights and makes it a 33-8 ball game.
With the freshman in the game for both teams Raton holds the Dons to a three and out. Raton takes over on the west 32 and a young Dustin Segura lights a fire and in four quarterback keeper running plays takes the ball to the West 27 where he puts it in the air for seven more and another to Martin Ortiz this time for a 20 yard pass play to pay dirt. Dante Mileta takes it straight in for the 2-point and a 16-33 ball game with 54 seconds on the clock.
Montano takes a knee for West to put the ribbon on this game and their first win of the season.
The Tigers will travel to Robertson next week for a 7:00 p.m. kick off with the Cardinals.