Showing off the trophy. Courtesy photo
The Robertson clan shows their excitement at the Extreme win. Courtesy photo
Extreme Football Division 3 team celebrates. Courtesy photo
BY ROB MANZANARES
A true story of David and Goliath is what the Division 3 Los Alamos Extreme Football team did this weekend to become the 2018 Zia Bowl Champions. The 7-1 Extreme went into the play offs as the number 2 seed with their only regular season loss at the hands of the undefeated, three-year Division 3 Zia Bowl champion, Capital Jags.
The Los Alamos Extreme team is a combination of 9 year-old and 10 year-old kids that play in the Northern New Mexico Children’s Football League. The Division 3 has 14 teams from Northern New Mexico and Rio Rancho and has been the most competitive division in the league.
The semi-finals held on Nov. 3 put the Los Alamos Extreme against a tough Rio Rancho Punisher team. The Extreme team played a flawless game with good execution winning 31-7. The first quarter saw long runs for touch downs from Elijah Campbell and Akim Leija putting Los Alamos up by 19 in the first quarter and at half time.
The second half the Punishers pushed the ball down the field to score their first touchdown of the game making the score 19-7. The tough Los Alamos Defense took over, lead by Frank Shepard, Emmanuel Ortega and Jordan Herrera who had outstanding performances coming away with many tackles and a couple sacks each. The defense held strong and shut down the Punishers after their single touchdown.
Los Alamos put the game away with another long TD run by Elijah Campbell and topped it off with a 60 yard pass from Jordan Herrera to Terran Robertson. Robertson made an outstanding catch and broke three tackles as he scampered to the end zone to finish the game and give Los Alamos the victory. Los Alamos had a perfect performance and executed on both sides of the ball to put away a tough Rio Rancho team 31–7. The win put Los Alamos against the rivalry Capital Jags who have not lost a game in two years and have won the Division 3 Zia Bowl the last three years.
Los Alamos went into the game with confidence and pride. The coaches talked to the kids about envisioning winning and to give it all you got. The advice played well with the kids as they played a perfect game and executed on both sides off the ball.
The game started with Jags receiving the opening kickoff and getting pushed back by the Los Alamos defense that stood the task of the strong Jag passing game. Defense Coach and Head Coach Brad Brothers changed the scheme to counter the passing attack of the Jags with perfection.
The offense went back to basics and executed the triple option power offense to perfection. After the strong defensive stop, the offense took over and started driving the ball down the field with Fullback Jordan Herrera and Quarter Back Akim Leija racking up yards. Offense Coach Manzanares has taught the team the triple option that they will run in High School as a run first power offense. The game plans by both coaches were executed to perfection. Ben Brousseau ran a jet sweep and cut up the middle to put Los Alamos up 6 – 0. The defense held strong the rest of the first half as the score remained 6 – 0 going into half time.
Los Alamos took over in the third quarter and drove the ball down the field. A mistake with a handoff saw a Jag player scoop up the ball and score but a penalty moved the ball back and put the Jags on the Los Alamos 35 yard line. The defense made another perfect stop as Akim Leija picked up one of two inceptions to stop the Jags drive. The offense took over again and pushed the ball down the field to score again with about 3 minutes left on the clock as Ben Brousseau scampered off right tackle for another score to make the game 12–0.
The Jags took over looking to catch up but the Los Alamos defense stood the task. The Jags drove the ball down the field with a long pass but Los Alamos had a touchdown saving tackle by Terran Robertson. The defense then took over as they had done all game pushing the Jags back. Los Alamos downed the ball to come away with the 2018 NNMCYFL Zia Bowl Championship. Los Alamos has dethroned the three-time defending Capital Jags for the win. Los Alamos played with heart and a perfect performance this weekend earning the championship.
The offense line consisting of Frank Sheppard, Emmanuel Ortega, Nate Duffield, Brody Brothers, Colton Hollander, Lance Metcalf, Owen Durkin, and Thomas Trujillo provided great blocking for the team all year. The offensive line which is considerably smaller than all the other teams has played great helping Los Alamos score 244 points in 10 games.
The defensive line has which was a big part in the weekend’s success is made up of Frank Sheppard, Nate Duffield, Jesse Perez, Emmanuel Ortega, and Colton Hollander. They averaged 6 sacks a game and many tackles for losses. The defense only gave up 41 total points in 10 games and held a Jags team to first ever zero point performance.
Coach Manzanares said, “What a performance from these kids. They have worked so hard and have done what we set out to do. Our goal was nothing short of winning the championship! They worked through hot days in the summer to rain and snow in the fall. They don’t complain and have a drive to be the best. We hope we can turn our little town into a football town and get a state championship to Los Alamos in the future. A huge thank you to the parents, the Board, and the local Los Alamos Sponsorships who believed in the kids and our league. We are very thankful to have your support and could not do this without you.”
The Los Alamos Extreme is coached by Head Coach and defensive coordinator Brad Brothers, offensive coordinator Rob Manzanares, special teams and assistant defensive coordinator Jason Wardlow Herrera, assistant offense coordinator Tom Moxley, and specialty coach Carlos Montano.
Note: The Los Alamos Reporter rarely reports on sports, but has a particular fondness for the Division 3 Los Alamos Extreme Football team.