At the beginning of the week, Walden Grove at Pueblo was one of the most highly anticipated matchups.
The game featured two 4A schools that are 6-1 looking to gain an edge heading down the final stretch of the regular season. This had all the makings of a championship level, high stakes playoff type of game.
In the first quarter, everything was going exactly how Pueblo wanted it to with tough physical running and creating chaos. In that first quarter, Pueblo forced three, that’s right three interceptions, off of one of the better quarterbacks in Southern Arizona, Alex Lopez.
Even with the three picks, Pueblo’s offense didn’t get going until the second quarter, when quarterback Marcelino Vega ripped off a 40-plus yard TD run to put the Warriors up 6-0. It was a back-and-forth first half with tons of penalties with a score of 13-13 going into the halftime break.
That was all the Pueblo offense could put on the scoreboard. Pueblo saw drives in the second half stall either by penalties or plays that fell a few yards short.
One massive reason why Walden Grove was able to pull away late in this game was its ability to wear down the Pueblo defense. Walden Grove running back Sam Martinez had 13 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown, helping to open up plays for Lopez behind center.
Here is Walden Grove coach Corey Noble on his team’s performance on the road at Pueblo:
In the fourth quarter, Lopez took over the game putting his team on his back with a pivotal 60-yard TD run to put them up 27-13 with less than 5 minutes left in the game. It is said that the best players on the field step up in the final moments of games, and that exactly what Lopez did. To make certain that Pueblo had no shot of a comeback Lopez iced the game with a TD pass with 3:41 left making it 34-13.
This game was won upfront for Walden Grove as Lopez and Martinez combined for 258 yards rushing and three TDs on the ground. The offensive line deserves a lot of credit for this impressive win over a tough Pueblo team. Lopez would finish the night going 10-for-20 with 168 yards passing. He had 329 total yards between running and passing, finishing with four touchdowns.
Here is Lopez talking about his team’s performance in the second half that led to the 34-13 win. Also, what it means to play behind the offensive line that dominated the game:
With just two games left in the season, Walden Grove is sitting at 7-1 with games against Amphi and Palo Verde left on the schedule. They will have their final home game of the season next week versus Amphi.
Pueblo will try to regroup at Rio Rico, which snapped a four-game losing streak with an impressive 40-12 win at Palo Verde last night.