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For a team still seeking its inaugural win late in the season, motivation can be difficult to create. It says a lot about not just a coach but a team when they can.

The Class 2A Hagerman Bobcats came up short of another tough Class 3A opponent Friday in Tularosa, 42-0. They were banged up, bruised, and missing several starters. But they did not quit. Not once.

“Every week, they’re playing hard,” head coach Adrian Olivas said Saturday. “They’re fighting till the end, and they’re not giving up. They’re just kind of outmanned right now.”

The ‘Cats were operating against Tularosa Friday with their third-string quarterback under center, and three freshman and four eighth-graders on the field.

“And our third-string quarterback is probably our best receiver,” Olivas laughed. “So that’s where we are. We’re just young, but we’re building.”

The Wildcats were able to build a 30-0 lead by the half and tacked down a touchdown apiece in the third and fourth quarters to round out the final, passing for 85 yards on the night and rushing for 335 more.

“Tularosa is a great team,” said Olivas. “They’re 5-1, the only game they’ve lost is to Ruidoso, which is one of the better 4A teams… they’re tough, and that’s why we play teams like that. Hopefully, all these experienced can help us in district. The size and numbers these schools have, we just can’t match, but we can match the effort and the fight.”

Hagerman will now set their sights on the Class 6A Hobbs JV. They’ll host the Eagles at 6 p.m. Thursday, and Olivas will be looking for yet another fierce effort from his Bobcats.

Following that outing, the ‘Cats will take their open week prior to opening District 2-AA play Oct. 20 against Jal at home.

“These kids are entirely different from where they were Week One to where they are now,” said the coach. “And that’s a good thing, because it means they’re growing. We know our future is bright, but at the same time, it’s tough for these seniors. I want something better for them, and I hope they can finish out these next few games strong and know that I’m here for them and the underclassmen are, as well.

“Anything can happen in district, and the kids are learning not to shy away from a challenge, even though we’re still struggling.”