The Loving Falcons (7-4) could not overcome six turnovers and the running of Santa Rosa (9-2) running back Marcos Chavez in a 56-13 loss in the quarterfinals of New Mexico’s 2A football playoffs.
Game was close early
Loving, the No. 6 seed in the 2A playoffs, traveled nearly four hours to face the No. 3 Lions Friday night. Chavez scored the first of multiple touchdowns in the game with a 35-yard run in the opening minutes of the first quarter. Santa Rosa converted the extra point kick and led 7-0.
The Falcons answered Santa Rosa’s touchdown on a long offensive drive that started in the first quarter and continued into the early stages of the second period as freshman running back Bobby Parraz scored on a 14-yard reception. Loving converted the extra point kick and the game was tied 7-7.
Lions convert on Loving turnovers
Santa Rosa broke the tie at the midpoint of the second period on a 28-yard run.
Two Loving fumbles in the second quarter prompted two Santa Rosa touchdowns, including a 31-yard run by Chavez. The Lions’ fourth touchdown of the game came nearly a minute after Chavez’s score.
Santa Rosa did not capitalize on the Falcons’ third fumble of the quarter. The Lions though put the game away in the closing seconds of the first half as AJ Romo scored on a reception from Jykub Gage as Santa Rosa extended the lead 35-7.
Santa Rosa ices victory in the second half
A Loving interception in the fourth quarter set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Chavez early in the final period of the second half.
The Falcons’ fifth fumble of the game at the midpoint of the final period set up the final touchdown of the game for the Lions as Nicolas Chavez scored for Santa Rosa.
Loving’s Devin Pina scored the final touchdown of the 2022 season on a long kickoff return. The Falcons could not convert the extra point as Santa Rosa came away with the victory.
Santa Rosa faces No. 2 Texico in the semifinals of the 2A playoffs next week. Seven Loving seniors played their final game in a Falcon football uniform Friday night. Loving has scores of underclassmen and juniors returning next year and could be a team to contend with in 2023 in New Mexico’s 2A ranks.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.