The lasting impression from Rio Rancho High’s shockingly one-sided football opener was this: the Rams did whatever they pleased.
About the only thing Rio Rancho didn’t dominate on this trip to Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights was the weather.
Rio Rancho speedily scored touchdowns on its first two drives, dominated in all three phases, and the Rams — with running backs Zach Vigil and Devin Rice combining for six touchdowns — mercilessly mercy-ruled La Cueva 50-0 on Friday night at Wilson Stadium.
The game ended about 10 minutes before 11 p.m., with 3;01 remaining, after the Rams scored their 50th point.
Earlier, the contest went into a lengthy lightning delay just minutes before the third quarter was to begin, at 8:40 p.m. The opening kickoff had already been about 15 minutes late because of lightning earlier in the evening.
The monsoon flow wreaked havoc all over the metro area Friday night, impacting games at Milne Stadium, Nusenda Community Stadium and at Cleveland High in Rio Rancho.
La Cueva-Rio Rancho resumed at 9:55 p.m. Friday, the Rams already enjoying a three-touchdown cushion. Two Zach Vigil touchdown runs, covering 11 and 8 yards, quickly expanded that lead to running clock territory. Rice’s third score of the night, an electrifying 90-yard scamper on the first play of the fourth quarter, made it 44-0 Rams.
Rio Rancho was supposed to play at Goddard last Saturday, but Goddard was forced to shut down because of some positive COVID-19 cases among the student body. Thus, the game was cancelled and the Rams officially were awarded a forfeit victory.
On Friday night, the Rams throttled the Bears (1-1) in every way.
Rio Rancho quarterback Dominick Priddy gave a shuttle pass to Rice that Rice took 33 yards for the game’s first points barely 2½ minutes into the game. After La Cueva was stopped on a fourth down on its first drive as the RRHS 40, the Rams quickly went ahead 14-0 as Priddy threw to a wide-open Vigil, who took it in from 23 yards away.
La Cueva was presented with a chance to get back into the game on the ensuing drive.
The Bears reached the Rio Rancho 17 and faced third-and-4. But quarterback Aidan Armenta, on his way to a first-down run, put the ball on the deck, and the Rams pounced on the fumble early in the second quarter. Later in the second quarter, the Bears got as far as the Rams’ 13, but that drive stalled.
This sequence backfired on La Cueva in a big way when the Rams went 56 yards the other way for a touchdown.
Rice took another shuttle pass, and went 6 yards for a third TD. And Rice also caught a 2-point conversion pass for a 22-point lead on La Cueva’s homecoming night.
La Cueva was missing its best offensive player, Exodus Ayers, who played only briefly. He was seen on the sideline with an ice pack on his right knee.
— James Yodice
RIO RANCHO 50, LA CUEVA 0
Rio Rancho 14 8 15 13 — 50
La Cueva 0 0 0 0 — 0
Scoring: RR, Devin Rice 33 pass from Dominick Priddy (Bailey Siverts kick); RR, Zach Vigil 23 pass from Priddy (Siverts kick); RR, Rice 6 pass from Priddy (Siverts pass to Rice); RR, Vigil 11 run (Siverts kick); RR, Vigil 8 run (Priddy pass to John Raymer); RR, Rice 90 run (Siverts kick); RR, 17 yard TD pass from Noah Nelson (no PAT). Records: RR 1-0; LC 1-1.
First downs: RR 19; LC 10. Rushes-yards: RR 39-279; LC 24-59. Passing: RR 10-16-0—152; LC 11-24-1—132. Total offense: RR 431; LC 191. Punts-avg.: RR 1-42.0; LC 3-30.0. Fumbles-lost: RR 1-1; LC 3-1. Penalties-yards: RR 7-55; LC 4-41.
CIBOLA 33, LAS CRUCES 21: Before a lightning delay sidelined its for an hour and a half, the Cibola offense displayed plenty of quick-strike ability of its own.
Aden Chavez threw for three first-half touchdowns, and the Cougars took advantage of numerous Las Cruces penalties and turnovers en route to the victory at Nusenda Community Stadium on Friday night.
After struggling last week against a ferocious La Cueva defense, Chavez let his receivers do the heavy lifting on a pair of long touchdown passes in the opening half.
The first came on a wide receiver screen to Jonah Vaquera, who took the short pass, eluded one defender and romped down the right sideline for an 86-yard score at the 6:57 mark of the first quarter.
Late in the second quarter, with the Cougars (1-1) deep in their own territory, Chavez hit Branden Castillo with a short pass over the middle. Castillo showcased an impressive burst as he outran the entire Bulldawgs secondary for a 77-yard touchdown reception and a 13-0 Cibola lead.
Las Cruces (1-1) then gifted the Cougars a possession in the red zone when the Bulldawgs botched a handoff during their kickoff return. Cibola recovered the fumble at the Las Cruces 11, and two plays later, Chavez found Brayden Mummert for an 11-yard touchdown strike at the 2:50 mark of the second quarter for a 19-0 advantage.
The Bulldawgs quickly marched down the field in response, but Dallas Boyd fumbled the ball at the Cibola 15 to spoil the drive with time winding down in the half.
It was a recurring theme for Las Cruces, which amassed 154 rushing yards in the opening half but lost three fumbles and saw many other productive runs called back due to holding penalties.
Nearby lightning caused a lengthy delay after the teams went into the locker room for halftime, and the game didn’t resume until 9:55 p.m. The extended intermission didn’t help Las Cruces, which sputtered on its first possession of the third quarter.
The Cougars essentially iced the game from there, as they embarked on a 12-play drive scoring drive that put them up 26-0.
Las Cruces didn’t find the end zone until a 29-yard touchdown pass from Boyd to Isaiah Carreon with 1:19 remaining in the third quarter.
Chavez would respond with his fourth scoring toss of the game to Nathan Lopez to squash any notion of a Bulldawgs miracle rally, though they did make things more respectable with a couple late scores after the outcome had been decided.
— Tristen Critchfield
LOS LUNAS 50, ALAMOGORDO 0: In Los Lunas, quarterback Paul Cieremans paced the 2-0 Tigers with two passing and two rushing touchdowns as he tallied 332 yards of total offense.
The game was called at the 11:51 mark of the fourth quarter on the mercy rule. LLHS compiled 468 yards total offense (304 rushing, 164 passing). Alamogordo fell to 1-1.
Artesia 27, Hobbs 14
Aztec 26, Montezuma-Cortez, Colo. 6
Fulshear, Texas 46, Cleveland 0
Goddard 24, Carlsbad 7
Grants 40, Gallup 8
Los Lunas 50, Alamogordo 0
Lovington 31, Roswell 25
NMMI 28, McCurdy 0
Pojoaque 64, Santa Fe Indian 12
Ruidoso 35, Clint Mountain View, Texas 28