texico linebacker Logan Brown jars the ball loose Cloudroft receiver Jacob Wikland. Cloudcroft recovered the fumble. CNJ photo by Rick White.
By Rick White
TEXICO — Texico took the path of least resistance, straying away from its power running game often enough to account for three touchdown through the air in a 56-0 win over Cloudcroft on Saturday in a Class 1A semifinal contest.
Mark Peabody rushed for 111 yards and scored twice for the top-ranked Wolverines (11-0).
Texico held the Bears (4-8) to 33 yards and forced nine punts in a game that turned in the second quarter when Braden Vaughan threw a pair of TD passes in the final 2:23 to give the Wolverines a 28-0 halftime lead.
“I told the kids at some point in the season we’d have to run and throw the ball,” Texico coach Mike Prokop said.
“Cloudcroft had a good scheme and was putting extra people in the box.
“Sometimes just pounding at people wears on our kids, so we went about it an easier way.”
Vaughan, who finished 2 of 3 for 86 yards, said the Wolverines have spent more time working on the passing game in the last two weeks.
“Instead of trying to bullet everything in there I’ve been working on trying to get some air under ball and let the receiver got get it. And our receivers did a good job of that,” said Vaughan, whose TD passes were 27 yards to Jesse Serrano and 59 to Mark Peabody.
The Bears, who beat Escalante 35-0 in the opening round, had trouble moving the ball against a physical Texico defense that has shut out nine of its 11 opponents.
Cloudcroft tried to attack the Wolverines with short passes. Josh Ham completed 11 of 25 passes but only for 46 yards as the Bears were unable gain yards after the catch against the Wolverines hard-closing secondary and linebacking corps.
‘We thought we could have a little more success on offense,” Cloudcroft coach Terry Welch said. “But that is an excellent football team.
“That’s where we want to be one day.”
Texico finished with a season-high 130 yards passing as backup quarterback Zane Anderson completed 2 of 2 passes for 34 yards, including a 10-yard strike to Johnny Rivera late in the third quarter.
“I have to give them credit,” Texico senior lineman Jared Curtis said. “They were big and tough up front. I don’t think we wore them down. We just picked up our intensity.”