It was a short but efficient night for Zach Gentry and a stress-free night for the Eldorado Eagles.
The senior quarterback threw for 185 yards and three touchdowns in barely over two quarters of work, and the Eagles rolled past Rio Grande 42-0 on Friday night in a season opener at Community Stadium.
The 6-foot-7, 238-pound Gentry was outstanding in the first game of his third and final season as Eldorado’s varsity QB.
He was 13 of 16, and one of those three misses was a dropped pass.
Gentry led the Eagles into the end zone on each of their first five possessions and distributed the ball to seven receivers.
“We just have a lot of people who are capable of making plays and catching the ball,” said Gentry, who will sign later this school year with the University of Texas. “So it’s easy to spread the ball around.”
Noah Sweitzer’s 13-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter set the tone. Near the end of the quarter, Gentry threw a 15-yard touchdown to Jayce Jackson for a 14-0 lead. Gentry added TD passes of 20 yards to Craig Buzzard and 36 yards to David Inman in the second quarter.
Gentry left after the opening series of the third quarter, a series that ended with him scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 35-0.
Eldorado, which next faces Valley, limited the Ravens to 55 yards of total offense.
– James Yodice
CIBOLA 44, ALBUQUERQUE HIGH 20: At Community Stadium, Cibola scored 16 points in the game’s first 4½ minutes, and senior tailback Oscar Chatman rushed for 228 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Cougars past a visibly improved Bulldogs team.
Chatman had TD runs of 34 and 59 yards, part of his 18-carry night.
His performance was a highlight on a night when Cibola fumbled seven times and was called for 15 penalties.
“There’s still some things we need to work on,” the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Chatman said.
His carrying was not one of the issues. He took advantage of some huge gaps in the middle of the AHS defense to carve out a handful of long gains, including his two scoring runs.
The Bulldogs were completely unspooled at the start, dooming their chances.
Cibola went 63 yards in two passing plays to score in the game’s first 36 seconds. After throwing 39 yards to Blair Manly, Sam Garcia tossed a 24-yard TD pass to Ray Garza on the far side for a 7-0 lead.
Four plays later, Cibola blocked a punt for a safety. And the Cougars had a short field after the ensuing punt. Garcia went 15 yards to Manly, who made an acrobatic catch on the near side in heavy traffic, getting one foot down for the touchdown.
Jonathan Martinez of Albuquerque High took the next kickoff back 90 yards for a score.
But Cibola outscored AHS 21-0 in the second quarter. Manly caught a 30-yard TD pass, Chatman scored from the 34, and Garcia added a 5-yard run in the final minute of the half for a 37-7 lead.
The Bulldogs played much better in the second half, led by QB Ryley Padilla who threw a 61-yard TD pass to Rodrigo Lopez and also scored on a late touchdown run. The pass offense was solid, but AHS rushed for just 19 total yards. They were at minus-18 going into the fourth quarter.
“They’re way better than they were last year,” Chatman said. “But we never underestimated them at all. If we had, they would have spanked us.”
– James Yodice
MIYAMURA 37, MORIARTY 27: In Moriarty, running back Alias Starkovich scored three touchdowns, including one on a 24-yard reception from quarterback Josiah Shank in a nondistrict season opener for two Class 5A teams.
Because of injuries, the Pintos were forced to go deep on their roster of running backs to shore up their ground game. Moriarty’s four touchdowns came from four players – quarterback Skylar Pearson and running backs Jonathan Ipiotis, Ricky Cisneros and Elijah Tapia.
– Rory McClannahan
ALAMOGORDO 39, VALENCIA 0: In Tomé, the Tigers racked up 554 yards and forced four turnovers in shutting down the Jaguars offense.
Sophomore quarterback Kyle Hooper threw four touchdowns, three to junior Brandon Henderson, and amassed 240 passing yards. Hunter Graham, usually the backup running back for the Tigers, ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries.
Valencia played without senior captain/running back/defensive back Nate Nash, and looked out of sync on both sides of the ball as it struggled to compensate for his loss. A turnover on downs and fumble on Valencia’s first two possessions set the negative tone. The aggressive Tigers took full advantage, pressing to a 26-0 halftime lead.
– Kenn Rodriguez