By Nolberto Waddell
Copper Basin News
A depleted Lobo football team showed a lot of courage and heart taking the field with a tough Duncan Wildcat team. With several starters on the sideline suffering injuries and several more playing but slowed down with injuries, the Lobos put up a good fight behind the young replacements but were no match for the bigger Wildcat team.
Three freshman players stood up big for the Lobos on the offense with Brandon Cruz showing good running form before getting an ankle injury. Santiago Pina played great on both sides of the football starting at quarterback before moving to running back when Cruz got hurt. Ryan Donovan also had an excellent showing for the Lobos coming in to give the tired and banged-up runners a break.
Duncan scored using a running attack to suck in the young defenders for easy receptions. They also used their superior height to complete passes over the shorter Lobo defenders.
The Lobos did not give up, trailing 0 to 38 late in the third quarter. The Lobos finally got on the board with a safety on a tackle by Francisco Moreno. It ignited the Lobo offense with Aaron Lagunas scoring on a 40-yard run early in the fourth quarter. The Lobo defense helped after the kick off. They recovered a fumble on a Duncan punt attempt and behind the rushing of Pina and Donovan were in the end zone again on a Pina 8-yard TD run. This cut the lead from 16 to 38 in the last period. After the Duncan kickoff, a severally limping Jacob Manriquez completed three long passes with Pina scoring on an 8-yard run. Manny Armenta scored the 2-point play cutting the lead to 24-44. Duncan responded with a 10-yard TD run with 37 seconds left in the game for the final 24-50 score.
A banged-up Aaron Lagunas, despite the focus of the Duncan defense, finished with 122 rushing yards for one TD. Lagunas also caught three passes for 21 yards.
Santiago Pina, suffering two QB sacks, finished the game with 85 yards on 13 carries for two TD’s. Ryan Donovan had 16 rushing yards on two carries and caught three passes for 30 yards. Brandon Cruz had 10 carries for 33 yards and caught one pass for 9 yards. Chris Rabago had one reception for 32 yards. Jacob Manriquez, with a badly sprained ankle, came into the game ran twice for 6 yards and completed 8 of 10 pass attempts for 92 yards.
Manny Armenta led the Lobo defense with 11 tackles and Francisco Moreno had another great defensive game with 10 tackles and a safety. Santiago Pina had 7 tackles with Chris Rabago and Gabriel Mariscal getting six a piece.
The Lobos will close out their injury riddled season this coming Friday as they travel to Pima to take on the division six number one ranked Roughriders.