Hilltoppers Win First Game Of Season Against Española

Jeremiah Hartzol celebrates the Toppers first touchdown of the season. Photo by Nate Limback/ladailypost.com

Jeremiah Hartzol goes high to make this catch. He caught 10 passes for the night and 5 catches resulted in touchdowns. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

By Mike Cote
Sports
Los Alamos Daily Post

Fans of Los Alamos Hilltopper football saw something Friday night some of them might never have seen in their lifetimes: a pass-heavy offensive attack.

Unveiling a new offensive scheme in their 2021 season opener, the Hilltoppers spread things out and performed a full aerial assault against the Española Valley Sundevils.

Hilltopper quarterback Jakob Green threw 29 passes in the game and completed 21 of those attempts for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Green’s main target, wide receiver Jeremiah Hartzol, caught 10 of those passes for 126 yards and a touchdown as the Hilltoppers earned a season opening 57-42 victory in Española.

Green and Hartzol posted two of the biggest individual performances in Hilltopper history.

Green had a 116.7 passer rating on the evening for his monster night throwing the ball.

Hartzol, meanwhile, also rushed for a pair of touchdowns, one in each half, to help secure the victory.

It was a wild night all around Friday. Los Alamos led 21-0 at halftime, with Hartzol scoring twice and Green finding Nicholas Dolin for a 26-yard score with just 4 seconds remaining in the first half.
But Española Valley (0-1) wasn’t finished. Led by wide out Ollie Fell – Española Valley’s top boys basketball player, as well – the Sundevils battled back, threatening on several occasions to get back in the game.

Fell, who stands at 6-foot-6, scored five of the Sundevils’ six touchdowns in the second half, four receiving and one on a kick return.

Fell was targeted throughout the game by Sundevil quarterback Nate Chacon, but the two struggled to connect in the first half.

Hilltopper head coach Garrett Williams, entering his 12th year at the helm, has tried to open up the Los Alamos offense somewhat in the last few years – Los Alamos is known throughout the state as a rushing offense, but the rush-heavy schemes employed for over 30 years have bore little success in recent seasons.

Los Alamos (1-0) has made the state playoffs just once in 14 seasons, in Williams’ second year as head coach.

That’s a streak the Hilltoppers are hoping to snap in 2021.

Green’s 21 completions, 29 attempts, and Hartzol’s 10 catches are virtually unheard-of numbers for the Hilltopper program. That figure could’ve been higher for Hartzol, but he was targeted only a handful of times in the second half.

In the second half Friday, Fell scored the first of his touchdowns at the 8:17 mark of the third quarter.

The ensuing 2-point conversion cut the Hilltopper lead to 21-8 and seemingly put the Sundevils right back into the ballgame after a sluggish offensive performance in the first half.

But on the kickoff, Los Alamos’ Melaki Gutierrez went 75 yards untouched, running down the right side of the field, to get those points right back.

Gutierrez and Teke Nieto, had solid nights for the Hilltoppers, as well, contributing on both sides of the ball.

Los Alamos will have its home opener Friday at Sullivan Field.

Los Alamos will face a stiffer challenge when it squares off with former district rival Taos.

Jakob Green throws another pass. He threw 28 passes with 21 completions for the night. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

Sally Hopkins lines up another successful extra point. Photo by Nate Limback/ladailypost.com

Teke Nieto tries to break away from Jack Purdy’s tackle early in the game. Photo by Nate Limback/ladailypost.com

Donovan Allen tackles Jack Purdy early in the game. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

Jakob Green tries to leap over Alejandro Chavez in an open field fun. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

Donovan Allen tackles Jack Purdy early in the game. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

Nicholas Dolin sprints in for a touchdown in the second quarter. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

CSTsiteisloaded