No, that wasn’t a Homecoming bonfire you saw Friday night, although the fourth-ranked Rio Rancho High School football team was also en fuego, taking advantage of three Cougars turnovers in the first half en route to a convincing 48-13 District 1-6A victory.
Fans’ attention was drawn to the south and the towering flames, and word quickly spread — that was the Club Rio Rancho clubhouse they saw in flames.
Back to the game: Sophomore running back Zach Vigil gained 117 yards on 17 carries and scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 6 yards.
Senior quarterback Isaiah Chavez, when not handing off to Vigil — each had 55 rushing yards in the first half, which ended with the Rams (4-2) ahead, 35-7 — ran the ball in from 21 and 11 yards, both TDs coming in the first half.
And Chavez also lofted a 31-yard TD pass to Tyrese Watson, all alone in the end zone for the Rams’ third TD of the first period, and an 11-yard scoring strike to DayDay Cox for the Rams’ final score of the night, and a 48-7 lead.
With the 35-point mercy rule shortening the game in the second half, and after Chavez connected on all four of his second-half throws, Joey Cave got some snaps under center — and, after a nice run, coughed the ball up for the Rams’ lone turnover of the game.
Thus, the Rams — on a four-game winning streak after opening the season with a pair of losses— had a potent offense (5 for 5 in the red zone), a crushing defense, which included three sacks and a 46-yard “pick-6” by Jaylan Smith.