To its credit, the Manzano defense was stingy in the second half Thursday night against Sandia running back LeShawn Joseph.
But the first two quarters were owned magnificently by Joseph.
The senior rushed for 236 yards and two touchdowns in a dazzling opening half, and Sandia overcame a double-digit deficit to beat Manzano 16-13 in a District 2/5-6A matchup on a windy night at Wilson Stadium.
The 6-foot, 175-pound Joseph finished with 286 yards on 37 carries.
Not only did Sandia (3-5, 1-1) earn a crucial victory, it was, for the Sandia seniors, their first win against Manzano (2-6, 0-3).
“We finally got one against them,” a beaming Joseph said after emerging from a boisterous locker room.
Joseph had second-quarter touchdown runs of 17 and 63 yards as Sandia overcame an early 13-0 deficit. Joseph had 156 rushing yards in that quarter.
Manzano was in control early. The Monarchs went 80 yards on eight plays to open the game, with quarterback Jace Melfi scoring from the 1. Late in the quarter, Jason Truong raced 40 yards with a pick-six. But the PAT was botched.
The Sandia defense held Manzano to 37 yards of offense in the second half. Still, the Monarchs were handed a couple of late chances when Joseph fumbled twice in the last 3½ minutes.
But nothing even remotely threatening came of either turnover for Manzano, which had terrible field position throughout the fourth quarter.
That, in fact, led to the final points, a safety when Melfi was called for intentionally grounding in the end zone with 6:08 remaining.
Sandia coach Adcox was going against the school where he spent 17 seasons, including seven (2011-17) as head coach.
“Very weird,” Adcox said.
SANDIA 16, MANZANO 13
Sandia 0 14 0 2 — 16
Manzano 13 0 0 0 — 13
Scoring: M, Jace Melfi 1 run (Jacob Duran kick); M, Jason Truong 40 interception return (pass failed); S, LeShawn Joseph 17 run (Gabe O’Herron-Alex kick); S, Joseph 63 run (O’Herron-Alex kick); S, Safety, Melfi intentionally grounded in end zone. Records: S 3-5, 1-1 in 2/5-6A; M 2-6, 0-3.
First downs: S 12; M 9. Rushes-yards: S 44-296; M 39-100. Passing: S 0-5-1—0; M 6-14-0—64. Total offense: S 296; M 164. Punts-avg.: S 4-43.8; M 5-31.4. Fumbles-lost: S 2-2; M 1-0. Penalties-yards: S 12-127; M 11-96.
ALBUQUERQUE HIGH 14, RIO GRANDE 0: At Milne Stadium, Daysean Fuentes had a 55-yard touchdown run and Alex Ortiz added a 42-yard scoring romp, pacing the Bulldogs (4-4) over the Ravens (3-6) in a game between independents.
CIBOLA 48, WEST MESA 6: At Nusenda Community Stadium, the Cougars returned two interceptions for touchdowns and running back Slayd Campos had three TDs as Cibola (4-4, 1-2 in 1-6A) beat the Mustangs (1-7, 0-3).
Jerry Nieto had a pick-six for Cibola, and teammate Mikey Garcia also scored off an interception after the player who caught it, Klayton Whitezell, lateraled to him after the catch. Garcia also caught a TD pass in the victory.