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Taos barely clings to top spot

October 8, 2018

The feel-good story of the prep football year almost hit a detour Friday night.

In case you missed it, the Taos Tigers, the top ranked team in Class 4A, had to hold on for dear life in their District 2/5-4A opener at Grants. It took a defensive stand on the Pirates’ 2-point try for the Tigers to hold on to a 20-19 win and stay undefeated at 6-0.

The last few minutes proved to be heartstopping for both sides. According to the Taos News Sports Twitter feed, Taos took a 20-13 lead when Justin Good punched the ball in from the 1-inch line. However, the Pirates’ Isaiah Johnson returned the kickoff for a touchdown to cut the margin to one before Taos made the defensive play of the game.

Taos returns home Friday to play a district game against Española Valley, which had its own drama with a forfeit of its homecoming game against Bernalillo and the suspension of eight players for two games because of the brawl that led to the forfeit.

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Speaking of forfeits, the Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday that Albuquerque Rio Grande surrendered its 36-22 win over Valencia on Sept. 6. Since that was its lone win of the season, the Ravens officially set (again) the state’s longest losing streak — 44 straight games — by virtue of a 28-20 loss to Farmington on Friday. Albuquerque High held the mark since 2014 when it lost 43 in a row, and Santa Fe High owned the mark for 20 years before that with a 37-game skid.

Rio Grande had to forfeit because the team used an ineligible player.

The Demons also own the fourth-longest losing streak, which they stopped Sept. 7 with a 25-23 win over Española Valley.

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The Northern New Mexico Challenge went through a couple of changes for this year’s event. The San Ildefenso Pueblo held the race for the past two years, but it was not available this time. So, organizers moved the meet to Friday afternoon at the Municipal Recreation Complex. The meet will be loaded with mostly Northern schools, with the exception of Santa Fe Prep (at the Zuni Invitational), Desert Academy (off) and Española Valley (at the Los Lunas meet).

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Forgive us if we overlook Pojoaque Valley’s return to success in volleyball for a moment, but perhaps the most dangerous team in District 2-4A are the Los Alamos Lady Hilltoppers. They were in turmoil when Diana Stokes resigned after the Tournament of Champions in September, but have won three in a row since interim head coach Joe Palmer took over.

Los Alamos needed five games to beat Moriarty on Oct. 2, and will take on Española Valley on Tuesday to stay on the heels of the Elkettes.

If that happens, the Lady Hilltoppers will be one win over Taos away from setting up a showdown with Pojoaque for the district lead on Oct. 16.

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