Junior quarterback Easton Bruere threw seven touchdown passes Friday night, including the winning 10-yarder to Tristen Foley in overtime, as host Rio Rancho beat Clovis, 62-59.
Foley was on the receiving end of three of Bruere’s scoring strikes in regulation: a 29-yarder and a 16-yarder in the second quarter, and then another 29-yarder in the third period.
Also hauling in scoring passes for the Rams were Marky Alvarado, who caught a 10-yard TD pass to open the night’s scoring a mere 39 seconds into the game; K.J. Jiggets, who was on the receiving end of a 34-yarder after the Wildcats (2-3) couldn’t convert a fourth-down play; and Angelo Lujan, who got the final scoring drive in regulation off to a good start by returning a kickoff to the ‘Cats’ 30 and, following a 3-yard run by Jordan Lara, caught a 12-yarder.
Skylar Schademan had the Rams’ two rushing TDs in the game, a 38-yard rush in the second quarter and a 1-yard run in the fourth.
The big story of the game was the big night of Clovis’s senior tailback Kamal Cass, last year’s Gatorade Football Player of the Year in New Mexico and a guy who was limited to three TDs in the Wildcats’ loss to Cleveland a week earlier.
At Rio Rancho Stadium all he did was score a school-record eight TDs while accumulating 326 yards on 38 carries in regulation.
The Rams rarely tackled him it seemed, but in OT, he was limited to a minus-2 yards on three carries before the Wildcats used a 24-yard field goal by Adam Wagener to take the lead for the first time, 59-56.
Until then, the teams had literally alternated touchdowns — the Rams scoring first and then matched with a Clovis TD, and only a missed point-after allowing the Rams to carry a one-point lead until Cass’s seventh TD of the game was followed by a two-point conversion to knot the game again at 49.
Down 59-56, the Rams got the ball on the 10, as is done to decide a winner in high school play.
A pass intended for Alvarado was caught for no gain, and then Bruere fired a pass to Foley on the ground in the southwest corner of the end zone for the game-winner.
It wasn’t the first time the senior two-way standout — he had trouble catching up with Cass when he slipped into the Rams’ secondary, but no trouble catching the pigskin — was the Rams’ hero and it probably won’t be the last.
Foley also came up big in the city he grew up, Roswell, when the Rams finally beat the Goddard Rockets two weeks ago, 28-21.
“(Cass) is fast — he’s a great player … and when he gets the edge, he’s gone,” Foley said.
Yes, Foley said, “It’s great to beat teams, but it’s no bigger than our next game. The next biggest game is our next one.
“You can’t look forward to anyone; you can’t take anyone lightly, as you can tell,” he said.
Rams coach David Howes, Foley reported, said at halftime (the Rams owned a 35-27 lead at the break), “Just to get out there, execute our jobs; we need to get a stop on defense. The offense, keep doing what they’re doing. And just go play football and have fun.”
Unofficially, Bruere was 22 of 37 passing, with two interceptions, including one on his final pass of the game in the fourth quarter. He threw for 394 yards, while completing 11 passes in each half. Foley was his favorite target, with eight catches in regulation, plus the game-winner.
Jordan Lara led the rushing attack with 78 yards on 15 carries, although Bruere ran six times for 43 yards, thanks to good protection from his offensive line, which didn’t allow a sack all game.
Brad Torres was a perfect 8-for-8 on points-after for RRHS.
Howes looked exhausted after the three-hour contest.
“We knew we were going to need a stop at the end; we’ve got one stop all night long and it happened to be in overtime,” he said. “I’m proud of those kids stepping up at the end of the game and finishing strong, but we’ve got a lot of work to do on defense.”
As for Cass, Howes said, “That kid’s amazing. I have obviously nothing but positive things to say about Kamal Cass. … We could have out 10 guys on him, we would have had trouble with him tonight.”
RAMifications: Former Rio Rancho Parks & Recreation director Ed Chismar was the referee Friday night.
… The Rams were without junior wide receiver Brady Patterson, who broke a small bone in his left hand in the fourth quarter at Las Cruces in the loss to the Bulldawgs. He’s expected to be out four or five weeks.
… This was Clovis’s five loss in as many years in Rio Rancho: three of them at Rio Rancho Stadium (2009, ’11 and this year) and twice at Cleveland (2010 and ’12).
The final tune-ups before the all-important District 1-5A slate begins for the city’s four varsity soccer teams come up this week, with the district season beginning for all four on Oct. 8 and 9.
Things haven’t changed much, either, with the Rio Rancho and Cleveland high school teams continuing to win and the boys teams playing at a .500 pace.
Cleveland girls (9-1)
After being idle 11 days, the Storm girls racked up a pair of home field wins last week.
Storm 5, Farmington 3: Audriana Chavez notched a hat trick and assisted on another goal Tuesday, when the Storm rallied from a 2-1 halftime deficit to beat the visiting Scorpions.
Celebrating “Senior Night” on a sunny afternoon, coach Greg Rusk started all eight of his seniors, including goalkeeper Sarah Brammeier.
Junior Ashley Martin played goal in the second half, when Chavez, whose goal in the 33rd minute had tied the game at 1, knotted the game at 2 in the 45th minute. Brianna Garcia, who was credited with an assist on Chavez’s second goal, then gave the Storm a 3-2 lead, from an assist by Chavez, when she scored in the 48th minute.
Chavez scored again in the 59th minute and Savannah Montoya scored a minute later to put the game out of reach. Farmington got its final goal with about five minutes left to play.
Brammeier and Martin were each credited with one save in the contest, during which the Storm out-shot the Scorpions by a hefty 13-6 margin.
Storm 1, Hope Christian 0: On a windy Thursday afternoon, it took 91 minutes for a team to get the ball into the net.
That team was the Storm, and Tuesday’s heroes repeated: Chavez scored in the first minute of the second overtime session at CHS, and her game-winner was assisted by Garcia.
The Storm dominated possession, especially in the first half when they had the brisk wind at their backs, but were unable to score. Cleveland wound up with seven corner kicks in the game, including three in the first half, but came up empty each time. The Huskies didn’t have any corner kicks.
Martin played all 91 minutes between the pipes and needed to make just two saves.
“The pre-district season is going well,” Rusk said. “We’re approaching the levels of fitness, skill and tactics that will help us compete in our district. What I’ve been most happy is the mentality of the team. We train and play with a wonderful sense of joy and grit at the same time. There are areas that need improvement.
“Our district season looks to be another tough one,” he added. “Volcano Vista is playing at a very high level and both Cibola and Rio Rancho are up there with them. It will be another season of close games. We still have a lot of work to do, but the attitude of the team doesn’t make it seem like work.”
The Storm’s lone loss was to Volcano Vista, a 1-0 shootout loss in the APS Metro Championships on Sept. 4.
The Storm open the 1-5A season on Oct. 9 when Cibola visits in a 6 p.m. start.
Winners of 10 of their first dozen games for the fourth time in their last seven seasons, the Rams have a balanced team, led by a pair of senior goalkeepers (Krissy Stinson and Kathryn Harris) and senior forward Makenna Johnson, some talented juniors (Brittany Shrader, Imani Morlock and Mariah Baker), plus some up-and-coming, goal-scoring freshmen (Leilani Baker and Elena Gurule).
Their losses are to two of the top 5A teams in the state, Cibola (a shootout loss) and Sandia (1-0).
In the midst of four road games, the Rams head down I-25 to play at Las Cruces Tuesday and then head to Clovis Saturday for their final non-district games. The Rams begin their 1-5A slate Oct. 9, when Volcano Vista visits Rio Rancho Stadium at 6.
The Rams won a pair of shutouts last week, giving them nine victories in which they haven’t given up a goal.
Rams 10, Gadsden 0: The fabulous Baker girls accounted for six goals on the road in southern New Mexico last Saturday: Leilani led the way with five goals and her sister Mariah also scored; Shrader netted a pair of goals and, when goalies Stinson and Harris weren’t between the pipes, each scored a goal.
Rams 3, Bosque 0: Johnson gave the Rams a 1-0 lead in the first half, while Leilani Baker and Sophie Rodrigues scored in the second half on the Bobcats’ field Tuesday afternoon.
Stinson played in goal the first half, Harris in the second. Neither faced serious scoring threats from the 3A Bobcats.
“It was a great game to play and they put good pressure on us,” coach Uwe Balzis said. “It was good practice on us, and trying to play through their high pressure, and we did well. … We couldn’t open up too much; we had to be really careful.”
Balzis said he still believes Cibola is the team to beat, but when the 1-5A season begins, “it’s not only how you play, it’s how you approach the game. And then the physical part is always big, big, big.”
Having not played what he termed the higher-echelon teams, “like La Cueva or Eldorado or Volcano Vista, we have to find out where we are.”
The Rams’ 1-5A opener is Oct. 9 at 6 p.m., when Volcano Vista visits Rio Rancho Stadium.
Rio Rancho boys (5-6)
The Rams lost a hard-fought game to visiting and undefeated Bosque (11-0), 1-0, Tuesday evening, but coach John Shepard wasn’t dismayed.
“We got one stolen from us today,” he said. “I feel like we played fantastic — credit to Bosque for hanging in there tough. But we had a good 60, 70 percent of possession and we’re down in their end far more than they were in ours.
“It’s just tough for us to play that well and not come away with a win,” Shepard said. “I’m really proud of the guys for how they played — a lot of good character.”
That loss, coming in the team’s first home game, left the Rams a game under .500 heading into their second of five straight home games when Manzano visited Rio Rancho Stadium Saturday morning. Las Cruces drops in Tuesday at 4 and Clovis is here Saturday at 3.
The Rams’ 1-5A opener, vs. Volcano Vista on Oct. 8, is at 6 p.m. contest at Rio Rancho Stadium.
The Rams have been shut out, 1-0, four times this season and have scored only 15 goals thus far, an average of 1.36 per game.
“We’ve got a few things to work on at practice, but we always have those,” Shepard said.
Cleveland boys (4-7)
The Storm stopped a trend last Saturday when they beat visiting Clovis, 2-1, in their first home game of the season.
CHS opened the season with three losses, then won a game. The team lost three games again, and then won its second game. The victory over the Wildcats ended a two-game skid.
Scoring has been the Storm’s main problem: They’ve scored no more than two goals in any game and have been shut out three times. One of their victories began as a 2-1 loss to La Cueva; that verdict was later deemed a forfeit because the Bears had used an ineligible player.
CHS played in Farmington Friday, hoping to avenge a 2-1 shootout loss to the Scorpions at Academy on Sept. 14.
After Manzano visits Thursday for a 6 p.m. contest, the Storm meet Sandia at the APS soccer complex on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Coach Shaun Gill’s guys begin 1-5A play on Oct. 9 vs. Cibola at 4:15 p.m. at the APS soccer complex.
Headers: Because of an error on the RRHS girls’ roster, Leilani Baker has recently been misidentified. Any previous photo in the Observer showing the Rams’ No. 3 had the ID incorrectly listed. The Observer regrets the errors, which were based on the roster submitted. Balzis said Baker and Kynzi Woodring swapped jerseys without his knowledge.
… Former Storm standout Emily Cubbage (Class of 2012) has started all eight games played by St. John’s University (6-1-1) so far, but has yet to score. She tallied three goals last season as a freshman. Former Storm star Mikaela Haley (Class of 2012) scored her first collegiate goal for New Mexico State University in its 1-0 victory at Wyoming on Sept. 15. Haley has started all 10 games for the Aggies (4-5-1).
… Former Ram Julian Roberts, a senior midfielder at Eastern New Mexico University, is pacing the Greyhounds with four assists and is tied for fifth on the school’s all-time list with 10 assists, five away from tying the Greyhound record of 15 held by Kal Herbert.
… One of the best websites in New Mexico for prep sports, nmsoccer.com, is having financial problems. Donations are being sought; more information is available on the site.
… The RRHS boys junior varsity team was 4-1-1 as it headed into a tournament at Sandia Prep this weekend. The Rams’ leading scorer is freshman Brandon Davis, who has five goals; sophomores Sheldon White (4 goals, 1 assist), Corey Archunde (3 goals, 2 assists) and T.J. Gurule (3 goals, 2 assists) are right behind him. “We’ve been somewhat hurt by injuries this season,” said coach Dave Hesser. “We have some able C-team players, freshman Jared Leon and eighth-grader Jesse Padilla, who have contributed.”