FORT SUMNER — The four-time defending Class 1A state champion Fort Sumner Foxes are alive for five. Still, Escalante showed Saturday that this year will be a tough roe to hoe.
Sophomore quarterback Kolter West ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another as the No. 3-seeded Fort Sumner downed the Lobos 30-23, moving on to a 7 p.m. semifinal game on Friday at second-seeded Hagerman.
Dax Moyer caught a pair ot touchdown passes, including a 6-yarder from West in the final seconds of the opening quarter to break the scoreless tie. He gathered in a 32-yard toss from Skylar McMath on a halfback pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, giving the Foxes a 27-15 lead.
Senior quarterback Justin Atencio threw for three touchdowns in a losing effort. The Foxes (8-3) picked him off four times.
Fort Sumner led 14-0 at halftime, but the Lobos (7-4) cut into the margin on a 13-yard pass from Atencio to Eric Belser early in the third quarter. The Foxes countered with an eigh-play, 56-yard drive capped by West’s 25-yard bootleg for the touchdown on third-and-7.
Escalante used a fake punt to keep a drive alive later in the period. Isaiah Maldonado carried the ball 14 yards to midfield, and a 15-yard late-hit penalty was tacked on. Two plays later, Maldonado caught a 32-yard scoring pass from Atencio to cut the margin to 20-15.
The Lobos went to a pooch-kick on the kickoff, but Caleb West recovered and returned the ball to the Escalante 49. The Foxes picked up one first down, then on the first play of the final period McMath took a toss-pitch from Kolter West and found Moyer to restore a 12-point lead.
McMath then intercepted Atencio along the sideline at the Fort Sumner 32, and the Foxes drove 62 yards to set up a 23-yard field goal by Miguel Guevara for a 30-15 lead midway through the period.
Atencio’s final touchdown pass came with just under a minute left, a 20-yard toss to Jacob Leyba. He threw a 2-point conversion pass to Enrique Uilbarri to account for the final margin.
Fort Sumner lost to District 2-1A rival Hagerman 56-0 late in the regular season. The other semifinal sends Jal to top-seeded Clayton, a team which handed the Foxes a 26-6 setback on Sept. 4.