The Las Cruces Centennial Hawks remained undefeated in District 6-3/4A football action edging the Hobbs Eagles Friday night 27-20 at Watson Memorial Stadium in Hobbs.
The Hawks (5-1; 2-0) fought with the Eagles (6-1; 1-1) on a rain soaked field and windy conditions in Lea County.
Hawks second half running attack paves way for victory
More:Carlsbad rides 26 unanswered points to win over Organ Mountain
Hobbs held a 13-12 lead at halftime. Centennial’s ground attack went to work on the opening drive of the third quarter as running back Mikah Gutierrez ran loose on a 64-yard touchdown run. The Hawks were successful on the 2-point conversion and began pulling away from the Eagles nearly four minutes in the opening minutes of the third quarter.
Hobbs had ample opportunities to tie the score in the second half. But the Hawks defense stopped the Eagles on multiple drives.
The Hawks put the game away early in the fourth quarter with a 4-yard run by sophomore quarterback Daniel Hernandez. The extra point kick was good as Centennial extended the lead to 27-13.
Hernandez and Gutierrez have led the way for Centennial this season against major large school powers like Rio Rancho Cleveland and El Paso Franklin.
More:Cavemen hold off Alamogordo in football district opener in Carlsbad
The Hawks lone loss this year was against Albuquerque La Cueva, a major force in New Mexico’s 6A ranks, 28-21.
The Eagles attempted a comeback midway in the fourth quarter as Kaden Trevino scored on a 4-yard run. The extra point kick was good.
Hobbs’ rally fell short as Centennial’s defense stopped the Eagles and their final offensive drive of the game.
Centennial coach: Hobbs was a ‘hornets’ nest’
Centennial head coach Aaron Ocampo said the Eagles offered a strong test for the visitors.
“They had a whole bunch of people there. They’re fired up. They’re undefeated. They’re a good team that’s been playing really, really well. It’s a challenging environment to come into and our guys prevailed,” he said.
Ocampo said the Eagles were a good team that had speed on the field.
“I’m grateful that we battled. Because there was a lot of times throughout this game that we could have let them win the game. We didn’t,” he said.
More:Prayers for both teams ahead of Cavemen football game versus Organ Mountains
District season heads into final weeks
Centennial hosts the Carlsbad Cavemen Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. in Las Cruces. Carlsbad is undefeated in District 6-3/4A play with wins over Alamogordo Sept. 30, 47-37 at Ralph Bowyer Caveman Stadium.
Carlsbad traveled to Las Cruces Thursday night and defeated the Organ Mountain Knights 33-26.
The Hawks will need to find a way to contain senior Cavemen running back Eli Asay. During the 2022 season he has averaged 142 rushing yards per game, and averaged nearly 21 receptions per game.
After Carlsbad, Centennial has two more district games against Alamogordo and cross-town rival Las Cruces High School.
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The Eagles wrap up the regular season Oct. 28 against the Cavemen in Carlsbad.
Ocampo said Hobbs could be a contender in the state 6A playoffs.
“They’re a good team and they’re going to advance. We’re lucky to get out of here with a win,” he said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.