In 1A 8-man action, the Fort Thomas Apaches lost to the San Manuel Miners by a score of 64-12 on Friday night. The Apaches fall to a 1-3 record and the Miners improve to 5-0.

Senior Noah Huerta had a big opening quarter, scoring both of the game’s first two touchdowns and leading San Manuel out to a 16-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Fort Thomas drive that came between the two Miner touchdowns started out well with a few chunk gains, but stalled when Apache freshman quarterback Allen Gilbert threw an interception that junior Ralphie Valencia nearly brought all the way back for a touchdown.

Early in the second quarter, the game began to turn on its head, starting with San Manuel sophomore quarterback Nicolas Velasquez finding Valencia deep for another score that would make it 22-0, foreshadowing a big day through the air for Velasquez and the Miners.

When asked about the success Velasquez and the Miners had through the air, Fort Thomas head coach Chris Rubio said, “We’re working on that... (Velasquez) has a very good arm and he’s very accurate. Those are 50/50 balls that sometimes high school kids make and high school kids don’t and he was very great. We were where we wanted to be, he was just excellent, pinpoint accuracy.”

After a quick turnover from the Apaches, the Miners were able to punch another score in, making it 28-0 before Fort Thomas could respond.

The Apaches announced their presence on the next drive, thanks to a couple of big plays, starting with sophomore Carmelo Robertson’s punt that the Miners mishandled, serving essentially as a big gain.

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Tommy “Pickles” Hinton, whose nickname originated from the Nickelodeon program “Rugrats,” made a spectacular catch to get the Apaches into the red zone. Shortly after, senior Aaron Beavers scored the touchdown to get on the board at 28-6.

However, San Manuel answered less than 20 seconds later, connecting on another deep ball from Velasquez, this time to senior Isaiah Lopez. Less than 45 seconds after that, Gilbert found Beavers on a deep pass of their own, answering to bring the score to 36-12 in what became a very back-and-forth second quarter.

So back-and-forth even, that freshman Dominic Rodriguez took the following kickoff all the way back for a touchdown. That brought the halftime score to 44-12.

Lopez found the end zone again to start the second half, and it was essentially over from there at 52-12.

Despite the 64-12 loss, Rubio was able to find some positives.

“We played great. We never quit. Our attitudes. We moved the ball. The kids are tough. I mean there’s too many positives than I can put in a quote.”

Next week, Fort Thomas will travel to Elfrida to play the Valley Union Blue Devils (2-3). San Manuel will host the St. David Tigers (4-1).

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