By Dave Wagner
FLOYD — Jerrod Long says he and three of his Floyd football teammates learned a valuable lesson this week — show up when you’re supposed to show up.
With three two-way starters and senior quarterback Bryan Johnson held out early in Saturday’s six-man quarterfinal playoff game against Gateway Christian, Floyd quickly found itself down 14-0.
Even when they entered the contest, it took the unbeaten Broncos a long time to get going. They finally did, though, erupting for 55 second-half points in a 63-14 romp over the Roswell-based Warriors to advance to a semifinal game next weekend (time and day TBA) at Mountainair.
Once Long — who scored eight of Floyd’s 10 touchdowns — got on the loose, the Broncos (9-0) quickly turned the game into a rout. But it didn’t happen right away, partly because coach Jeff Gillespie sat Long, Johnson, Brad Lee and Kyle Kropf for the first five minutes after they missed an early-morning weightlifting workout this week.
“We’ve had kids miss throughout the year, but this isn’t the time for that,” Gillespie said.
“We were saying to each other not to miss any more workouts,” said Long, a junior who finished with 268 yards and six touchdowns rushing and 47 yards passing, including a second-quarter TD toss to Lee. “We kind of learned our lesson.”
Gateway (7-2) stunned the Broncos and their fans by scoring on their first two plays from scrimmage — runs of 53 yards by senior Adrian Carrasco and 67 yards by senior Marcus Gibbs.
Floyd managed only Long’s 16-yard scoring pass to Lee in the second quarter — and that bounced off the hands of a Gateway defensive back — and trailed 14-8 at halftime.
“The whole first half, it just took us a while to get going,” Gillespie said. “At halftime, we just found a little energy from somewhere.”
Long had an explanation for it.
“Coach gave us a nice little talking-to at halftime,” Long said. “The first half we came out dead — no intensity at all.”
Kropf got the tying score early in the third quarter when he returned a fumble 8 yards for a touchdown after senior Jonathan Mitchell stripped the ball from Gateway’s Jevvon Hunter. Long then returned a punt 48 yards for a touchdown — sprung by a devastating open-field block from senior Manny Carrillo.
“That (block) ot us going more than anything, Gillespie said.
Long then added TD runs of 8 and 15 yards to make it 32-14 by quarter’s end.
Long ended the game on the 45-point lead rule by scoring on a 36-yard interception return with just under a minute left.
Gateway, which suspended its program last year after a significant number of players transferred to Carlsbad’s Victory Christian in a disagreement with the coaching situation at the time, ran out of gas after halftime with Carrasco (groin) and the burly Gibbs (foot and ankle injuries) forced to the sideline.
“We came out of the gates well; we just didn’t finish it off,” first-year Warriors coach Shaun Wigley said. “But I was proud of our effort today. It’s not a win on the scoreboard, but I think (Floyd) knew we were here to play.
“We were ecstatic to be here. Our guys now know what it takes to win a big game, and we got halfway there today.”
Floyd 63, Gateway Christian 14
Gateway 14 0 0 0 — 14
Floyd 0 8 24 31 — 63
GC — Adrian Carrasco 53-yard run (kick failed), 7:45
GC — Marcus Gibbs 67-yard run (Raymond Montes kick), 5:12
F — Brad Lee 16-yard pass from Jerrod Long (Jason Martinez kick), 4:47
F — Kyle Kropf 8-yard fumble return (kick failed), 8;39
F — Long 48-yard punt return (pass failed), 7:08
F — Long 8-yard run (pass failed), 4:22
F — Long 15-yard run (kick failed), 2:03
F — Long 22-yard run (Kropf pass from Long), 9:50
F — Long 28-yard run (kick blocked), 7:31
F — Long 23-yard run (kick failed), 4:24
F — Long 51-yard run (kick failed), 1:56
F — Long 36-yard interception return (no PAT try), :59
First downs 3 6
Rushes-yards 27-127 30-271
Yards passing 72 47
Total yards 199 318
Comp-att-int 10-17-1 2-9-1
Punting 5-15.6 2-40.0
Fumbles-lost 4-3 3-1
Penalties-yards 4-24 5-30
RUSHING — Gateway Christian, Gibbs 2-76, Carrasco 5-49, Jevvon Hunter 16-2, Randy Whited 1-3, Benjamin Chavez 3-minus 3. Floyd, Long 18-268, Martinez 7-37, Jonathan Mitchell 1-1, Manny Carrillo 2-minus 11, Bryan Johnson 2-minus 24.
PASSING — Gateway Christian, Carrasco 1-1-0-minus 3, Hunter 8-14-0-62, Raymond Vaz 1-2-1-7. Floyd, Martinez 0-2-0-0, Johnson 0-3-0-0, Long 2-4-1-47.
RECEIVING — Gateway Christian, Jordan Olive 3-18, Jared Wilson 2-19, Vaz 1-12, Alexander Roberson 1-11, Taylor Coll 1-5, Carrasco 1-4, Hunter 1-minus 3. Floyd, Mitchell 1-31, Lee 1-16.