Steve Barela threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Spaulding with 5 seconds remaining, and Cibola came from behind to defeat Eldorado 29-22 in a spring football season finale on Saturday night at Nusenda Community Stadium.
It was Spaulding, with his third interception of the day, who gave the Cougars (2-0) unexpectedly great field position in the final 20 seconds, returning a pick inside the 10 of Eldorado (1-2).
Several plays later, Barela – subbing for injured sophomore starter Aden Chavez – connected with Spaulding for the game-winner.
Chavez, one of New Mexico’s most promising young quarterbacks, broke his collarbone in the first half when he was pushed out of bounds on a run.
Chavez told the Journal on Saturday night that he will have surgery this coming week, and he expects to miss several prominent camps/combines over the next couple of months.
Eldorado led 22-14 in the game’s final minutes before Cibola came from behind. Nathan Lopez caught a 20-yard TD pass from Barela, and then Spaulding caught a 2-point pass, to tie the game at 22. Then the Cougars’ defense got a turnover to set up the winning score.
“(For Stevie) to lead us to a come-from-behind victory, was just amazing,” Cibola coach Rod Williams said.
• At Wilson Stadium on Saturday night, Volcano Vista QB Johnny Herrera threw for over 400 yards and six touchdowns for the Hawks, who stomped La Cueva 56-21. The Hawks finished the spring 2-1, the Bears 0-3.
At Milne Stadium, Del Norte quarterback Adrian Marquez threw for four touchdowns, and tailback Isaiah Ortiz rushed for over 250 yards and three scores as the Knights closed out a perfect spring under first-year head coach Bruce Langston with a 49-6 victory over Highland.
The three Albuquerque Public Schools games were the final three of New Mexico’s shortened regular season, which was only five weeks long due to the pandemic.
• At the Wool Bowl in Roswell, Rio Rancho (3-1) closed out its first season with new coach Gerry Pannoni by beating Goddard 35-20 on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams led 14-0 in the first quarter and took a 21-0 lead into the fourth quarter. Rio Rancho’s only loss was to unbeaten Cleveland.
• In Belen, Los Lunas defeated the Eagles 39-0 in the annual Valencia Bowl rivalry game.
Sophomore QB Paul Cieremans threw a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter for the Tigers, who went 3-0 in their short season after wins over La Cueva and Capital. Derek Chavez added a TD run for a 22-0 lead after the opening 12 minutes.
• In Portales, the Rams won a defensive struggle with visiting St. Pius, defeating the Sartans 6-0.