The suspense ended early for Hope Christian’s football team Saturday — in more ways than one.
Not only did the Huskies manhandle Cobre 61-7 in a Class 3A quarterfinal game at Milne Stadium, they had an impressive defensive streak halted.
Hope (9-2) had not allowed a point in five straight games dating to Sept. 20, but that streak ended when Cobre quarterback Ezequiel Dominguez hit Israel Jaurequi with a 5-yard touchdown pass late in Saturday’s first quarter. The TD trimmed the Huskies’ lead to 14-7, but coach Gary Beck’s team responded in a big way.
Paced by quarterback Collin Evans’ monster day, Hope scored 47 unanswered points to invoke a game-ending 50-point mercy rule with 31 seconds left in the third quarter. Evans was 17-of-23 passing for 320 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed eight times for 79 yards and two scores and accounted for one of Hope’s four interceptions on defense.
“We were a little rusty coming off a bye week,” Beck said. “I hate bye weeks. But when Cobre punched us back and scored a touchdown, that kind of got us going.”
The win earned Class 3A’s second-seeded Huskies a trip to Las Vegas, where they’ll face No. 3 Robertson in next weekend’s semifinals. Robertson defeated West Las Vegas 14-7 on Saturday.
Hope dominated most of its quarterfinal behind a physical front line that simply overmatched Cobre (5-6) on both sides of the ball. The Huskies amassed 450 yards of offense while limiting the Indians to 112 (including a negative rushing total).
Evans got Hope off to a quick start, scoring an 11-yard rushing touchdown and later hitting Ryan Cosper with a 37-yard strike to make the score 14-0 with 5:08 left in the first quarter.
Cobre answered with an 80-yard drive that featured several productive improvisations by Dominguez, who was under siege by Hope’s pass rush all day.
“They must have slathered (Dominguez) in Vaseline,” Beck said. “We could not bring that kid down, and he made some nice plays.”
But Cobre had no answer for Evans. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound senior ran for a score and hit James Jenkins with two TD passes to give Hope a 35-7 lead by halftime. Cosper finished with five catches for 105 yards, and Jenkins had five receptions for 98 yards.
— Ken Sickenger
No. 2 HOPE CHRISTIAN 61, No. 10 COBRE 7
Cobre 7 0 0 — 7
Hope Christian 14 21 26 — 61
Scoring: H, Collin Evans 11 run (Isaiah Trujillo kick); H, Ryan Cosper 37 pass from Evans (Trujillo kick); C, Israel Jaurequi 5 pass from Ezequiel Dominguez (Raymundo Cuevas kick); H, Evans 7 run (Logan Hall run); H, James Jenkins 20 pass from Evans (kick failed); H, Jenkins 11 pass from Evans (Trujillo kick); H, Jaden Spencer 55 pass from Evans (Trujillo kick); H, Dustin Kaiser 25 interception return (Trujillo kick); H, Cosper 12 fumble recovery (run failed); H, Jared Knowles 19 pass from Evans. (Game called due to mercy rule). Records: HC 9-2; C 5-6.
First downs: H 21; C 9. Rushes-yards: H 16-130; C 16-(-1). Passing: H 17-23-0—320; C 9-27-4—113. Total offense: H 450; C 112. Punts-avg.: H 1-30.0; C 3-20.0. Fumbles-lost: H 1-0; C 1-0. Penalties-yards: H 11-109; C 4-30.
ALSO SATURDAY: Goddard and Deming were Class 5A quarterfinal winners. The Rockets beat Piedra Vista 20-10 while the Wildcats went to Farmington and upset the Scorpions 16-14. Deming will visit Roswell in the semifinals. … Socorro, the No. 1 seed in Class 3A, advanced to the semifinals as the Warriors beat No. 8 Raton 52-15. Socorro plays Tularosa in the semis. … The top four seeds in the Class 4A bracket each won, and all of them convincingly. Next week’s semifinals will feature No. 2 Portales visiting district rival, No. 3 Lovington, while top-seeded Bloomfield takes on No. 4 Grants. The Pirates on Saturday avenged their only regular-season defeat this year with a 56-13 rout of Kirtland Central. … This week’s 2A state final will feature No. 1 Eunice and No. 3 Texico, which both posted big wins in the semifinals on Saturday.