Football players hailed as heroes after battling inferno before playoff game

CAPITAN, N.M. (KRQE) – Seven New Mexico high school football players are being hailed as heroes for jumping into action when they saw a raging house fire. On top of that, the fire occurred right before a big playoff game.

Friday morning, smoke filled the air in Capitan.

“They evacuated people just for the smoke alone and how thick it was,” said Sharese Nunez, the homeowner.

As the wind fueled the house fire, 7 players from the Capitan football team happened to pass by.

“Someone yelled ‘Smoke!’ from the back of the car and we all booked it out of the car and started running towards the house to help the best that we could,” said Tanner Lowrance, Capitan football player.

Worried someone was trapped inside, the boys ran in to help.

“Donald was right next to me and I didn’t even know he was in the house with me because of how thick the smoke was,” Lowrance said.

“We couldn’t breathe. We were getting lightheaded,” said Luciano Gutierrez, Capitan football.

Video shows a man at the residence jumping out of the burning house and a neighbor hosing him off.

The homeowner, Sharese Nunez, was in Albuquerque when the fire started. The family lost more than just their belongings.

“When I found out my dog died I was in shock because she was like the best dog ever,” said Armand Nunez, son of Sharese Nunez.

Despite the heartache, the family is thankful.

Nunez said, “The outpouring of love in this community is amazing and people rising up that I didn’t even know just to help my boys and my family. We are just so thankful. We are thankful for the football team.”

A team that, just hours after putting their lives on the line for others, got back on the football field for their playoff game. A game they won, 57-12.

The homeowner’s brother did suffer second-degree burns but is expected to be OK. The Capitan Tigers will play again next week in the semi-finals where they face Santa Rosa.

To help the Nunez family, donations are being accepted at Passion Church in Albuquerque, or First Savings in Ruidoso under the name Sharese Nunez.

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