Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
TEXICO — Inexorably, the Santa Rosa Lions were marching down the field.
Four consecutive times following the opening kickoff, the Lions used their old-style single-wing ground attack to convert third-and-short situations, moving to a first-and-goal at the Wolverines’ 8.
Then back-to-back illegal procedure penalties set Santa Rosa back, and Texico was finally able to hold on downs. But a fumble on the Wolverines’ first play gave the ball right back, leading to a touchdown two plays later, and the unbeaten Lions roared out of town with a 33-0 win Friday night.
“We can’t do that,” Wolverines coach Mike Prokop said of the early turnover. “Our kids still kind of get down when bad things happen. You’ve just got to work through those things.”
Running backs Joaquin Gonzales and Steven Vigil combined for all five scores for Santa Rosa (7-0), ranked third in Class 2A. Gonzales, who carried 24 times for 156 yards, scored three times while Vigil added two TDs and 89 yards on 20 attempts.
For the game, the Wolverines (2-4) lost the ball three times on fumbles, and Santa Rosa punched two of them in for scores.
“Their turnovers made a big difference in the game,” veteran Lions coach Frank Ortiz said. “But they (Wolverines) play extremely hard and they’re a good football team.”
Texico, held to three first downs and 58 yards in the first half, moved the ball at times in the final two quarters but was unable to get close to the Lions’ end zone. Junior running back Justin Garrison led the Wolverines with 89 yards on 13 carries, including five totes of at least 10 yards.
Meantime, the Lions got their yardage in relatively small chunks with only two plays, including a 67-yard TD run by Gonzales in the third period, covering more than 14 yards.
After an open date, Santa Rosa begins play in three-team District 2-2A on Oct. 21 at Tucumcari, also 7-0 after a 56-18 rout of Dexter on Friday night.
Texico, which lost at Tucumcari last week, now turns its attention to its District 3-1A schedule, beginning with Friday’s game against Loving. The two-time defending 1A state champion Wolverines will play all three games at home.
“We’ve played two good football teams back-to-back, and it’s tough,” Prokop said. “Hopefully, we’re good enough to get back to the playoffs. But we have to take these games one at a time.”
Santa Rosa 33, Texico 0
Santa Rosa 7 12 7 7 — 33
Texico 0 0 0 0 — 0
SR — Steven Vigil 5-yard run (Vigil kick), 2:16
SR — Joaquin Gonzales 13-yard run (kick failed), 11:16
SR — Gonzales 1-yard run (run failed), :27
SR — Gonzales 67-yard run (Vigil kick), 5:14
SR — Vigil 7-yard run (Vigil kick), 2:30
First downs 19 10
Rushes-yards 54-260 37-146
Passing yards 39 0
Total yards 299 146
Comp-att-int 1-2-0 0-6-0
Punting 1-47.0 3-28.7
Fumbles-lost 1-0 6-3
Penalties-yards 7-45 3-23
Rushing — Santa Rosa, Gonzales 24-156, Vigil 20-89, Juanito Sanchez 6-13, Nick Roybal 4-2. Texico, Justin Garrison 13-89, Zane Anderson 8-19, Brandon Bare 4-18, Eddy Segovia 3-11, Dustin McDaniel 2-5, Carlos Meza 1-2, Casey Crist 6-2.
Passing — Santa Rosa, Gonzales 1-2-0-39. Texico, Anderson 0-4-0-0, Crist 0-2-0-0.
Receiving — Santa Rosa, Jesus Roybal 1-39. Texico, none.
Records — Santa Rosa 7-0, Texico 2-4.