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Monarchs Overwhelm Rio Rancho

Krueger Throws For 255 Yards

Things were going so smoothly for Manzano on Thursday night, the Monarchs even had the luxury of going a little retro.

The state’s fourth-ranked high school football team was operating at near-peak efficiency at Wilson Stadium, scoring half its points in the game’s opening eight minutes, as Manzano (5-1) rebounded from a tough loss to Las Cruces by destroying No. 6 Rio Rancho 56-21.

“We had a good week of practice,” said Manzano senior quarterback Tyler Krueger. “We knew that loss would make us a lot better and it showed.”

If the Monarchs’ offense was purring, Krueger was the chief mechanic.

He staggered Rio Rancho (3-3) any number of ways on a breezy, chilly night. Krueger threw for 255 yards — on just 11 completions — and three touchdowns, and ran for three more scores.

“He felt like he didn’t play up to par last week,” Manzano coach Aaron Ocampo said.

Manzano TKOd Rio Rancho early, with a wash/rinse/repeat type of first quarter. The sequence went as follows:

Rio Rancho punt, Manzano touchdown.

Rio Rancho turnover, Manzano touchdown.

Rio Rancho punt, Manzano touchdown.

Rio Rancho punt, Manzano touchdown.

The four TDs were bunched together, within a span of 4:42.

Krueger scored on a 2-yard run, then Kevin Reaves added a 1-yard run, followed by a 40-yard scamper by Krueger, then lastly a 33-yard TD pass from Krueger to Jayson Serda.

Manzano led 35-7 at halftime, and eventually had a 56-7 bulge.

It was, in part, a way for Manzano to purge some negative energy that had settled in around campus even before the Monarchs suffered their first setback last Friday.

“The week of Las Cruces, I could just feel we didn’t have that great a week,” said Krueger. “We were pretty cocky, after being undefeated.”

It all began, Ocampo said, after a 31-27 win over La Cueva earlier this year.

“We had some complacency,” he said.

That was certainly a thing of the past Thursday.

Although the Rams threw it 64 times and gained 417 yards, they were no match for the Monarchs who had two, one-play TD drives in that first quarter alone.

In a battle of two of the state’s top quarterbacks, it was Krueger besting Rio Rancho’s Tyler Baker. Baker’s numbers were respectable: 26-of-49 for 257 yards, with two interceptions and a TD pass. They paled in comparison to Krueger, however.

Oh, and that aforementioned blast from the past? Well, it was as much a nod to the meeting between these schools a year ago as it was to the Florida Gators.

Leading 42-7, Krueger began toward the line on a keeper, only to stop and throw a jump pass (aka Tim Tebow) to running back Jordan Llamas, who turned it into a 32-yard touchdown.

The Monarchs used that same play on a 2-point conversion to beat the Rams 28-27 in overtime last year.

“I’m glad we put that in this week,” Krueger said.

“It’s a hard play to defend,” Ocampo added.

The final score wasn’t even that close. The Rams and backup QB Cohen Mangin put up two cosmetic scores late to avoid an almost 50-point loss.

He threw touchdowns of 13 yards to Jeric Magnant and 15 yards to Adam Shapiro.