ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandoval, Redmon Make Double Trouble for Hive
The Volcano Vista Hawks already had a Batman.
Possibly, they’ve now found their Robin.
While senior tailback Matt Sandoval shredded Highland for 271 all-purpose yards, he was only half the equation Saturday afternoon in the Hawks’ season-opening 35-22 win over the Hornets at toasty Wilson Stadium.
Senior Jonathan Redmon, whose time-zone hopping road to Volcano Vista started at Cibola, then took him to Michigan, then back to Cibola again before a transfer last winter to Volcano Vista, had three touchdown runs, including a game-clinching 18-yard burst with 2:03 remaining.
“Our entire offseason was spent trying to find a complement to Matt,” Hawks coach Chad Wallin said.
It was a very productive onetwo combo.
Sandoval’s numbers were about par for the course. His course, anyway. Redmon’s emergence is surely an early beacon for the Hawks, who begin their second year at the varsity level with 4A playoff aspirations.
The 5-foot-8, 170-pound Redmon, who added 81 rushing yards Saturday, showed up in the Volcano Vista weight room last December, Wallin said.
“Jon Redmon has been a huge pickup for us,” Wallin said.
It was Sandoval in the lead role, however. He rushed 27 times for 153 yards, took a screen pass 54 yards for a touchdown, and his 64-yard kickoff return was the impetus for the Hawks’ initial points.
All this came against a young, relatively tiny Highland defense which does have a propensity for giving up points and was sometimes overmatched by Volcano Vista’s beefy offensive line.
“We wanted to exploit them,” said the 5-foot-7, 165-pound Sandoval. “Passing, running, any way we could.”
Sandoval set the table numerous times before Redmon cleared it.
After Highland marched 67 yards for a TD on the game’s opening possession — capped by Brennan Howell’s 15-yard run — Volcano Vista got its first contribution from Sandoval, the 64-yard kickoff return.
Five plays later, Redmon scored from the 5, and with the PAT the Hawks led 7-6.
On Volcano Vista’s next possession, Sandoval took a screen pass at his 46 and raced up the far sideline practically untouched for a touchdown.
The Hawks had a first down at the Highland 21 on their third touch, but a series of penalties pushed them out of scoring range and Highland took over after a punt.
Hornets QB Dylan Chavez, who threw for 295 yards, rolled right and floated a wobbler to Sanue Rcom, who had slipped behind the Volcano Vista secondary as Chavez rolled out. That 30-yarder, and subsequent two-point conversion pass to Rcom, tied things at 14.
But Volcano Vista got a late TD just before halftime, on a 12-yard toss from David Lehocky to Joe Hinojosa.
Redmon’s second TD, an 11-yarder on the opening possession of the second half, made it 28-14 for the Hawks. It was made possible first by Zach Bennison’s 59-yard kickoff return, then three strong runs by Sandoval that earned Volcano Vista a first-and-goal.
“Matt is so strong, and our line is so big,” Wallin said. “He turns those little 2-yard gains into 4-yarders. It helps sometimes that he’s a little short, because he hides behind those big linemen.”
Highland’s Chavez supplied the play of the day near the end of the third quarter, a snapshot of how dangerous the Hornets’ passing game can be.
He was forced back 15 yards from the line of scrimmage by Volcano Vista pressure, then came up and fired a 52-yard TD strike to Rcom, who got behind the coverage. Another 2-pointer, and the Hive was within 28-22.
In the fourth quarter, two plays changed both teams’ fortunes.
First was an illegal-block penalty on Highland. It occurred on a Volcano Vista punt, thus giving the Hawks a new set of downs when time was precious.
Later, Volcano Vista faced a fourth-and-2 from the Highland 11, still up six.
Rather than kick a field goal to make it a two-score game, Wallin gambled. Sandoval delivered with a 5-yard run, and three plays later came Redmon’s final TD.
Later, Redmon and Sandoval even sounded like sidekicks.
“He’s been there all summer, teaching me everything,” said Redmon.
“I’m so glad that Jon came over,” Sandoval said. “He was great. He was there when we needed the yardage.”
The Hawks don’t face a particularly grueling nondistrict schedule, and it may be that Highland was the best opponent Volcano Vista will see until the end of the season.
“Expectations are good. We want them to expect to win,” Wallin said. “Last year, we wanted to be competitive in every game. This year we expect to win every game.”
Total yardage was fairly even Saturday, with the Hawks outgaining the Hive 339-327.
MANZANO 49, WEST MESA 7: The Monarchs scored on seven of their first eight drives, then pulled the starters as they cruised to a nondistrict, season-opening win at Milne Stadium.
Manzano led 42-0 at halftime. The Mustangs broke up the shutout with a touchdown in the final minute of the game.
For the Monarchs, it was the perfect tuneup for Friday night’s showdown at Wilson Stadium against La Cueva.
“This is a team we could possibly see again, so it’s important for us to play well,” Manzano coach Aaron Ocampo said.
Jason Serda’s 53-yard touchdown reception highlighted a busy first half for Manzano, which had almost 400 yards of total offense by halftime. Serda also saw two other TDs negated by penalty.
Senior all-district tailback Jordan Llamas did see limited time Saturday for Manzano as he comes back from an injury.
Quarterback Tyler Krueger had more than 200 yards passing in the first half for the Monarchs, who like La Cueva (which opened with a 55-0 win over Rio Grande), received only token resistance in their opener.
“It’s two of the better teams in the city, and a lot of people are excited about this one. We feel like it will elevate our level,” Ocampo said.
LAGUNA-ACOMA 27, HOPE CHRISTIAN 6: Ben Sinclair’s 6-yard touchdown in the third quarter had little to do with the final result, but it was certainly historic, for it was the first TD scored in the history of the Huskies’ program as they debuted Saturday night at Milne Stadium.
“It was just so exciting to go out there with 11 boys and play for the first time ever,” Hope coach Darrel Kindig said.
After Hope was booted off the main field at Bernalillo High for its opener, APS stepped in and offered Hope the use of Milne.
It was tough sledding, Kindig said.
“We have boys that have not played football,” Kindig said.
Laguna led 20-0 before Hope scored. But it was not the score Kindig reflected on.
“They were so excited and so pumped,” he said.