Shorthorns stampede to victory in Friday homecoming football game

Staff photo by Maisie Crow / Marfa High School Homecoming Queen Soraya Vallez chats with friends as she waits for last week’s homecoming parade to begin.

MARFA –– The Marfa Shorthorns varsity football team put on a dominant performance this past Friday as they beat the Holy Cross Crusaders 61 to 13 in front of an enthusiastic homecoming crowd. The home team’s impressive shutdown defense and relentless offense set the stage for individual players to shine with penetrating runs, crucial tackles, and key interceptions, as the cheers from the stands mixed with the sounds of music from the nearby Marfa Lights Festival on this festive Friday.

As storm clouds passed along the horizon, the sun shone down on a lively scene at Marfa High School’s Martin Field. Before the game, the Marfa Highschool Homecoming Court was announced, with students proceeding onto the field, flanked by parents or family members, as their names, accomplishments and aspirations were announced over the PA system to cheers from the crowd. 

Homecoming King Ian Marquez and Homecoming Queen Soraya Vallez were crowned by Principal Allison Scott, smiling for photos from the stands. Classmates also named Cristian Ontiveroz and Odalys Chacon as homecoming prince and princess.

Staff photo by Maisie Crow / Junior Class Homecoming Duke Juan Bautista and his mom, Angela Gutierrez, get ready for the homecoming court to be presented prior to the homecoming football game last Friday.

Home and away fans filled the stands –– unless they were waiting in line at the concessions stand for the Booster Club’s ample menu of nachos, hot dogs, popcorn and more. Meanwhile, Marfa’s cheerleaders, including Marfa’s tutu-wearing mascot, Bullette, brought energy, enthusiasm and choreography to the game with chants, dances, the wave, and even some impressive aerials.

“It’s great to have Friday night lights back, to turn on the lights and have the feeling of the rush of the boys running through the tunnel,” said Head Coach Arturo Alferez. Dual quarterbacks #6 Ontiveroz and #26 Juan Avila were taking snaps on game day, rocketing the football into the arms of their team.

The game itself started with bang, as the Shorthorns in purple scored quickly after receiving the kickoff. On the initial drive, #33, freshman Derrick Campos, ran the ball through the Crusader defense to get Marfa on the board. The point after touchdown attempt, a pass into the end zone, was also good, giving the Shorthorns a quick 7-0 lead. This set the tone for much of the game: whenever in possession, the Shorthorns steadily moved the Crusaders off the ball and advanced the line of scrimmage up the field, consistently outmatching their defensive opposition.

Staff photo by Maisie Crow / Ian Marquez scores a touchdown for the Shorthorns during Marfa High School’s homecoming game against Holy Cross last Friday.

Later in the first quarter, after Ethan Bollinger ran the ball in for the Crusader’s first points of the game, the Shorthorns responded in kind, with #1 Ian Marquez exploiting and running through holes in the Crusader’s defense with ease. This was followed by a successful two-point kick attempt. Shortly after, in the second quarter, #33 Campos broke through the Holy Cross defense once again for a touchdown, with a burst of speed and agility that put him 20 yards ahead of the nearest defender. This was then followed by another touchdown by #10 on the Shorthorns, Uriel Torres.

Moments before the end of the first half, Holy Cross scored for a second time, bringing their total to 13. But this would be their last points of the game, as the Shorthorns clamped down on defense and extinguished any chance of a comeback. 

At the start of the third quarter, Torres once again found his way into the end zone, powering through and past the Crusaders’ defensive line, to bring the score to 41-13, but the Shorthorns weren’t done scoring yet. Soon after, Coach Alferez’s team showed they were a passing threat just as much as a running one, with Ian Marquez finding space to collect a ball lofted to him in the Crusader’s endzone. With the points after touchdown kick attempt successful, a pattern throughout the night, the score now stood at 49-13 in the Shorthorns’ favor.

The Crusaders kept fighting to the end, giving the home fans a scare at one point as they ran the ball through a gap in the defensive line and looked to have broken free. Fortunately, Shorthorn Zach Wilson, the last defender between the Crusaders and the endzone, provided a key tackle that snuffed out the away team’s charge.

The Shorthorns continued to put on a defensive clinic in the second half, with multiple interceptions by Marquez, the second of which he ran all the way back for a touchdown bringing the score to 55-13, as well as another pick six by Wilson and relentless tackling from Torres. #21 Ana Gallegos also scored her first tackle on defense on Friday, the sole young woman playing for the Shorthorns.

Finally, halfway through the fourth quarter, number #13, Adrian Cataño, punched his way through the Holy Cross defense for what would be the last time. Carrying the ball down most of the field, Cataño found space and didn’t let off the gas until he had crossed into the endzone, bringing the score to 61-13.

The game was over with 4:56 minutes left on the board, as six-man football games end if a team has a lead of 45 at any point in the second half. It was a fitting finale: the crowd screaming, cheerleaders cheering, and a Marfa Shorthorn, Cataño, a purple blur dodging and weaving his way through the opposition, leaving them behind and racing down the field.

Staff photo by Maisie Crow / Sophomore Homecoming Duchess Liani Salcido smiles at her grandfather, Arturo Gutierrez, as they walk off of the football field after the homecoming court presentation.