HATCH — The Hatch Valley Bears wasted little time Friday in making sure there would be a new Class 3A state football champion this season.
Hatch Valley scored four touchdowns in the first 13 minutes and cruised to a 40-6 victory over Portales in a first-round playoff contest.
The Bears (8-3) advance to a quarterfinal game next week at top-seeded Lovington.
Senior quarterback Estevan Varela ran for two touchdowns and threw for another and junior running back Joshua Chavez added a pair of touchdown runs.
Portales (3-8) mounted a drive with the opening kickoff, but it ended on a fumble at the Hatch Valley 39. The Bears took the lead on a 28-yard run by Varela with 7:10 left in the opening quarter.
Chavez added a 7-yard TD run and Geno Angel caught a 36-yard scoring pass from Varela to make it 21-0 at the quarter, and Chavez added a 19-yard run in the first minute of the second stanza.
Varela added a 3-yard run midway through the third period and senior Miguel Herrera returned an interception 37 yards for a score on the final play of the period to make it 40-0 and set up a running clock.
That didn’t last long though. Junior quarterback Jeffery Collins hooked up with Cody Small on a screen pass that turned into a 62-yard scoring play less than a minute into the final quarter.