Curry County Cats’ season ends in playoff loss

CNJ staff

ALBUQUERQUE — No matter how well you play on defense, you still have to score to win.

The Curry County Cats’ first season ended on Sunday in the Pecos Division playoff finals. Curry County managed only four first downs and lost to the unbeaten Albuquerque Titans 14-0 in a game played on a practice field at Del Norte H.S.

The Titans (8-0) take on the Farmington-based New Mexico Miners, who beat the New Mexico Wolfpack for the Rio Grande Division championship, in Sunday’s 1 p.m. New Mexico Premier League championship game at Rio Rancho.

“This first year was a learning experience for all of us,” Cats coach Paul Lopez said. “We did the best we could do.”

The game was headed for a scoreless tie at halftime until the Cats (7-3) missed connections on a pitch play inside their own 20 late in the half, and the Titans converted it into a touchdown four plays later.

They got their final points late in the third quarter when Clovis High grad Phillip Williams scored from about 25 yards out on a reverse play.

Curry County was never able to penetrate the Titans’ 30 yard line, Lopez said.

“We did not have a good showing on offense at all,” he said. “We had dropped passes, put the ball on the ground (fumbles), interceptions.

“With those kinds of mistakes, you just can’t win ballgames. It hurts even more to lose when you know you’re better than that.”

The Cats played a solid game on defense. Curry County lost the regular-season meeting to the Titans 17-6 in a game that was scoreless at halftime.

“They played well,” Lopez said of the defense. “The offense put them in a bad position (on the errant pitch play).”

After winning their first two games at home, the Cats played only one other contest at Leon Williams Stadium — a first-round playoff win over the Las Cruces Kings. Two scheduled home games resulted in forfeit wins.

“We had great support from the community,” Lopez said. “We didn’t know how this would turn out, but next year we’re bringing the title home, if I have anything to do with it.”