With a light rain falling, fireworks bursting overhead, and “We Are the Champions” blaring over the PA system, Mountainair High School’s six-man football team gathered at midfield after its April 2 bowl game victory over the visiting Clovis Christian Eagles.
The players then huddled together, hoisted their winner’s trophy and soaked in their accomplishment.
“It’s awesome, it’s an amazing feeling, definitely went out with a bang, yes sir,” Mountainair senior quarterback Cade Brazil said.
Using an effective mixture of precision passes, a dominating ground game and an occasional trick play, the Mustangs crushed the Eagles 64-18 in a contest that served as an unofficial state championship and wrapped up Mountainair’s undefeated Covid-delayed spring season.
It was unofficial because the New Mexico Activities Association decided to not have state championships in football this season but to have bowl games instead.
But as the players and coaches celebrated their victory, and parents and fans spilled onto the field, the moment had all the exuberance of a state championship—just like head coach Robert Zamora’s 2007 eight-man state championship, and Mountainair’s last six-man state championships in the early 1990s when the Mustangs captured four-straight state titles.
“It’s a state championship, yes sir, it is,” Zamora said.
Both teams came into the bowl game with 4-0 records, but Clovis Christian’s record was buoyed by two forfeits. The Eagles had not played a game since March 12.
The Mustangs, who played and won all four of their regular-season games, wasted no time announcing their presence with authority—bursting out of the gate with a touchdown on their first play from scrimmage. Brazil rolled out and tossed a short pass to Gabriel Padilla who charged 65-yards down the sidelines to the end zone.
The Eagles responded with a drive that got close to the end zone, but they fumbled and Brazil recovered, giving the Mustangs the ball on their own 3-yard line.
But the Mustangs immediately coughed up the ball and the Eagles scooped it up and took it into the end zone to tie the score at 6-6.
The Mustangs then erupted for 34 unanswered points to take control of the game.
After an interception by Jacob Zamora, Brazil capped a five-play, 39-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
Padilla then scored on a 1-yard jaunt, and Brazil added a 28-yard scamper to make it 24-6 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Brazil lofted two more touchdown passes. The first, a 31-yard strike to a wide-open Kayzen Greene who turned around, cradled the ball and backpedaled into the end zone; the second, a 1-yard toss to Dylan Greene.
“Oh, I was very wide open,” Kayzen said about his TD catch. “Too wide open, I was like a wide-open door—nothing there.”
Clovis Christian scored on a touchdown pass to trim the margin to 40-12 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Jacob Zamora stepped in as QB and tossed a 36-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Sisneros, and Padilla followed with his second rushing TD to push the lead to 52-12.
“It’s unreal, it’s unreal,” Padilla said about the victory, adding, “The season went according to plan, we worked hard, we’ve been waiting for this all year and we finally got the opportunity.”
Adrian Luna added a 4-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to put the Mustangs up 58-12.
The Eagles scored their final TD with 3:12 remaining in the game.
The Mustangs answered with a short pass to Luna who bolted down the sidelines to the Eagles 6-yard line.
Three plays later, Brazil slammed the door with his fourth TD pass—a 1-yard toss to Brandon Burkeen with just under a minute to go.
“I think after the first quarter we got our jitters out and then we stepped it up and we just played as a team,” Brazil said.
Coach Zamora credited Clovis Christian for coming out “fired up” and playing tough early in the matchup.
“We knew they were gonna take their shots so we knew we just had to stay confident in what we do, and things would start turning,” Zamora said. “The machine kept rolling and we ended up picking them apart—it was an awesome game, I enjoyed coaching it, these kids did what we wanted them to do which was come out and put on a show, ya know, and do their thing, and that’s what they did.”