Texico's Seth Bailey pushes for extra yardage while being tackled by Emery Coleman (8) and Jerrydon Salazar.
TULAROSA — The No. 5-seeded Texico Wolverines only outgained the No. 4 Tularosa Wildcats by 79 yards in Saturday’s Class 2A state quarterfinal playoff game.
But Texico was more precise, and also took advantage of several Wildcats mistakes in the fourth quarter en route to a 40-13 victory at Bob Cerny Stadium.
Texico (9-2) scored 21 points in the last 9 1/2 minutes to turn a relatively close game into a blowout.
“We knew what we had to do to win,” Wolverines coach Mike Prokop said. “I told the kids, ‘If you want to be in the state semifinals, we have to be aggressive and prove you want and deserve to be there.’”
Tularosa coach Marc Kneeland said Texico played a little tougher up front.
“When you get to this point, it all comes down to execution,” he said. “We weren’t able to execute.
“They’re just a good football team and we had trouble up front with them. At times we were able to move the ball, but we couldn’t sustain drives.”
With Texico leading 19-7, the Wildcats (7-4) forced the Wolverines to punt, but went three-and-out themselves. Joe Rodriguez’s boot from the end zone was caught at the 36-yard line by Texico’s Mario Posada, and he returned it to the Tularosa 3.
After an unsportsmanlike penalty on Tularosa, Posada ran in from one yard out to push Texico ahead 26-7 with nine minutes, 20 seconds to play.
The Wolverines got the ball back less than two minutes later as Casey Crist picked off Tularosa’s Tyler Davis — Texico’s second interception. On the next play, fullback Ryan Morgan’s 21-yard scamper made it 33-7 with 7:46 to play.
Posada’s third touchdown of the game, from three yards out, came 1 1/2 minutes later after Texico’s Kevin Visser recovered a Wildcats fumble on an attempted kickoff lateral.
Nicolas Saenz scored on a 33-yard run, Tularosa’s longest run of the day, with 42 seconds left.
Texico’s smash-mouth defense held Tularosa, which had run for more than 2,100 yards this season, to 162 yards on the ground.
Saenz and Davis, who had combined for 1,761 yards and 22 rushing touchdowns, were held to 123 yards on the ground and one score. Saenz had 74 yards on 15 carries, Davis had 49 yards on 15 carries and Greg Rocha ran for 39 yards.
“A lot of our offensive problems, you have to take your hat off to Texico because it forced them,” Kneeland said.
Davis was 2-of-13 through the air for 60 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown pass to Emery Coleman which pulled the Wildcats within 19-7 late in the third quarter.
Posada finished with 75 yards rushing and Crist added 72 for Texico. Quarterback Brett Anderson’s 20-yard pass to Courtland Luscombe put the Wolverines up 12-0 with 6:57 to play in the first half, and Anderson’s 1-yard touchdown run made it 19-0 with three minutes to play in the third quarter.