TEXICO — Texico opened its defense of the Class 2A state title with a tough assignment on Friday.
The Wolverines knew it would be difficult, mainly because their opponent was also the last team they played before the postseason begin.
In a matchup of District 2-2A rivals, Texico outlasted Estancia 21-7 at the Field of Hopes and Dreams.
The Wolverines earlier earned a 28-24 victory in Estancia to close the regular season.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight from last time, because they scored 24 points on us in a single quarter,” Texico coach Ryan Autrey said. “We made some adjustments to try to fix some of that stuff and I thought our kids handled it very well holding them to seven points.”
A 14-yard run by Edgardo Meza in the first quarter helped the host Wolverines get their offense in gear and also set up a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Seth Bailey to go up 7-0.
Meza finished with 104 yards rushing and squeezed through a tight opening in the line to score on a 25-yard run with 7:20 left in the third period.
“We just tell our linemen to keep going, keep going, and we’ll do good,” Meza said. “They started blocking good. Sometimes they’re a little small, but we’ll take any hole.”
Estancia (8-4) chipped into the 14-0 advantage, however, when Bears quarterback Destry Oberg, after buying extra time in the pocket, found Lawrence Tapia on a 7-yard scoring strike with 2:52 left in the third.
But the rest of the game would ultimately be frustrating for the visitors.
After scoring its lone touchdown, Estancia thought it had recovered the ensuing kickoff. But officials, despite vigorous protests from the Bears’ sideline, ruled that Texico (9-1) retained possession.
The Bears later did get the ball back, still down only 14-7, and started driving midway through the final stanza. At the Wolverines 40, though, Texico defensive back Marcus Pena stepped in front of an Oberg pass to end the threat.
“He went to throw an inside route and I just came up to pick it,” Pena said. “It was a big sense of relief. We played the play right.”
Texico had two chances in the end to put the game away.
Bailey, the Wolverines’ signal caller, was unsuccessful the first time and quite successful the second.
With four minutes left on the clock, Bailey fumbled the ball into the end zone as he fought for a touchdown.
Estancia recovered and started at its 20. Three plays later, however, Oberg also struggled for extra yardage and fumbled with Texico jumping on the loose ball.
“When it came down to it, they found a way to stop us three times in a row,” Estancia coach Dusty Giles said. “And that’s what good football teams do.”
That led to the final score. On a fourth-and-2 at the Estancia 13, with 10 seconds left, Bailey sprinted left on a bootleg and ran untouched to paydirt.
Next weekend, Texico hosts Tularosa, a 42-0 winner on Friday over Eunice, in the 2A semifinals.