There will be a new No. 1 in Class 6A football.
Making a compelling case Saturday afternoon were the Manzano Monarchs.
With No. 1 Rio Rancho in town, Manzano played like a team possessed. The third-ranked Monarchs were up three touchdowns before anyone’s seats were barely warm, and they administered a thorough and very public Ram battering, 55-7 at Wilson Stadium.
“I thought we’d put up some points,” Manzano coach Chad Adcox said. “But this?”
The Monarchs – 5-0 and one of two unbeatens in 6A, along with La Cueva, and those two meet on Oct. 6 – did some comprehensive purging Saturday.
After two lopsided losses to Rio Rancho last year, including one in the state semifinals, Manzano obliterated the Rams in all three phases. Four, if you include Rio Rancho asking the Manzano band to stop playing during the second half during a Rams offensive series.
The difference was most noticeable up front. The Monarchs limited the Rams to 22 rushing yards, while Manzano barreled its way through Rio Rancho’s defense to the tune of 339 rushing yards.
“I’m shocked that we got held to seven points and that our defense, with the level of expectation we have and what we do on a daily basis, I am shocked that we gave up 55 points – to anybody,” Rams coach David Howes said.
Rio Rancho’s day went south almost right from the start, when Zion Lopez fumbled on the Rams’ first play. Xavier Ivey-Saud scored on a 9-yard run two plays later, and the demolition derby had begun for the Monarchs.
Jordan Byrd scored on TD runs of 46 and 25 yards before the first quarter was over, and Ivey-Saud added an 8-yard TD just six seconds into the second quarter for a 28-0 lead.
Ivey-Saud finished with three touchdowns and 119 yards on 22 carries. Byrd scored four times and rushed for 75 yards.
“We all believe in each other,” said Byrd. “The offense believes in the defense, the defense believes in the offense and we just came out and had fun.”
Unquestionably, the most electrifying play of the game was Andrew Erickson’s 99-yard touchdown run late in the first half, taking a pitch from Byrd and thrilling a big Manzano crowd to make it 35-0. After the game, Erickson laughed, because it was just two weeks ago, he said, that he had a 98-yard touchdown on a bubble screen against Cibola.
“They’re an amazing team and that’s a great victory for us,” said Erickson. “They have a great D-line, but our offensive line dominated.”
It was the worst loss Rio Rancho (4-1) has suffered in 17 years, and this was also the end to the Rams’ 17-game winning streak. Only one other Albuquerque program – Eldorado in 1998 – had ever beaten the Rams by more points (51) than the Monarchs did on Saturday. Rio Rancho had almost twice as many penalties (13) as it did points.
“They beat us up,” Howes said, “and they beat us good. Manzano had their way with us.”
MANZANO 55, RIO RANCHO 7
Rio Rancho 0 0 7 0 — 7
Manzano 21 14 14 6 — 55
Scoring: M, Xavier Ivey-Saud 9 run (Nolan Salazar kick); M, Jordan Byrd 46 run (Salazar kick); M, Byrd 25 run (Salazar kick); M, Ivey-Saud 8 run (Salazar kick); M, Andrew Erickson 99 run (Salazar kick); RR, Jaylen Morgan 6 pass from Logan Bruere (Glen Rhodes kick); M, Byrd 1 run (Salazar kick); M, Ivey-Saud 2 run (Salazar kick); M, Byrd 3 run (run failed). Records: M 5-0; RR 4-1.
First downs: RR 10; M 15. Rushes-yards: RR 18-22; M 49-339. Passing: RR 18-31-0—153; M 3-4-0—23. Total offense: RR 175; M 371. Punts-avg.: RR 5-26.0; M 1-40.0. Fumbles-lost: RR 2-1; M 6-2. Penalties-yards: RR 13-123; M 6-49.