For the first time this season, Manzano installed Jordan Byrd as the full-time quarterback, and all the junior did was rush for 290 yards and three touchdowns — two of them over 80 yards in length — as the Monarchs stomped Eldorado 32-10 in a District 2-6A matchup on Friday night at Wilson Stadium.
“290? Dang,” Byrd said with a smile. “I was just trying to redeem myself for last week.”
In truth, Byrd did nothing wrong last week, a win over Clovis. But he did sit out the second half, and there was some concern he might not play this week. Byrd did not have a concussion, as he feared.
And on Friday, he wreaked havoc all over an Eldorado defense that looked totally ill-equipped to deal with the state’s fastest athlete running the read option so effectively.
Byrd had logged a bit of time at the QB position throughout the year — most notably against Rio Rancho — but this was his show entirely on Friday. That was new.
“I added it. We needed to get the quarterback run game going,” Manzano coach Chad Adcox said.
And oh boy, did they. Byrd had TD runs of 86 yards and 81 yards in the first half,and cemented the game with a 12-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
“We were just preparing for the defense they were running,” Byrd said. “It was a good fit.”
Manzano rushed for 401 yards as a team.
“We thought some big plays would happen,” Adcox said. “He gave us that spark we needed on offense.”
Byrd’s 86-yard run occurred less than three minutes into the game, setting the tone for nearly everything that followed.
The lead grew to 12-0 on a safety and a field goal before Eldorado got on the board. Trenton Gaither took a short pass and turned it into a 60-yard TD midway through the second quarter and the Eagles (4-4, 1-2) trailed 12-7.
But Byrd added his 81-yard run just 65 seconds later; it was 19-10 at halftime. Xavier Ivey-saud, normally Manzano’s featured running back, upped it to 26-10 with an 11-yard run late in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, Manzano’s defense limited Eldorado to just 68 rushing yards. And 66 of those yards came in the first quarter.
“Our defense has played spectacular all year,” Adcox said, “other than that one game (against Rio Rancho).”
Manzano is at Santa Fe next week and closes in two weeks with Sandia. Eldorado faces La Cueva next Friday.
The Monarchs’ regular QB, sophomore Dakota Powell, did appear for a few snaps Friday, but that’s all.
MANZANO 32, ELDORADO 10
Eldorado 0 10 0 0 — 10
Manzano 7 12 7 6 — 32
Scoring: M, Jordan Byrd 86 run (Joshua Soliz kick); M, safety, E QB Matt Dennis tackled in end zone; M, Soliz 26 FG; E, Trenton Gaither 60 pass from Dennis (Andrew Shelley kick); M, Byrd 81 run (Soliz kick); E, Shelley 42 FG; M, Xavier Ivey-saud 11 run (Soliz kick); M, Byrd 12 run (kick failed). Rec.: M 6-2, 3-0 in 2-6A; E 4-4, 1-2.
First downs: E 11; M 16. Rushes-yards: E 23-68; M 47-401. Passing: E 15-34-1—157; M 6-11-1—15. Total offense: E 225; M 416. Punts-avg.: E 5-36.6; M 4-31.8. Fumbles-lost: E 0-0; M 2-1. Penalties-yards: E 9-77; M 12-140.