BIG PREP BATTLE IS THIS WEEK
Sartans defeat only team it lost to during 2016 season
The Journal’s James Yodice talks about Friday’s ManzanoRio Rancho football game, a matchup of two probable contenders for the 6A championship.
Diego Pavia certainly doesn’t perform like the sophomore quarterback he is, but it’s obvious the St. Pius Sartans have themselves a keeper.
Pavia accounted for seven touchdowns on Saturday afternoon — five throwing, two rushing — and more than 340 total yards as St. Pius overwhelmed visiting Alamogordo 54-13 at Nusenda Community Stadium.
“He has taken good command of the offense,” St. Pius coach Dave Montoya said. “He’s a lot farther along than I thought he’d be at this point.”
Pavia threw for 260 yards and three TDs to Ryan McGaha (12, 32 and 46 yards). The other two went to Jacob McCoy (21, 30 yards).
He also rushed for a pair of first-quarter scores and finished with 86 yards on the ground.
And in the process, St. Pius (3-1) felt it got a measure of payback against Alamogordo (0-4), which was the only team to beat the eventual 5A champion Sartans last season. But these Tigers, under new coach A.J. Cisco, are loaded with sophomores and nothing like last year’s group.
That didn’t matter to St. Pius, which kept its foot on the pedal most of the way.
“After the loss last year, we wanted to bounce back from that,” said Pavia.
“Ex-players were calling us this week, and that got our players … to treat this game differently than we would any other game,” added Montoya.
St. Pius gained 140 yards on its first two drives, both of which ended with Pavia running it in, from 6 and 5 yards away. A 35-yard fumble return for a score by Nick Slatton upped the lead to 20-0 barely six minutes into the game.
Alamogordo cut the deficit to 20-13 before the quarter was over. The Tigers’ John Treat recovered a St. Pius fumble in the end zone, and quarterback Tom Turnbull chucked an 85-yard touchdown pass to Dayshaun Sanchez in the final minute of the period.
In the first 90 seconds of the second quarter, St. Pius got back to a two-touchdown lead on a 21-yard TD pass from Pavia to McCoy. He also threw a pair of scoring passes to McGaha in the final 4½ minutes as the Sartans amassed a 40-13 halftime lead.
“I really like how my coaches trust me, and we have a pretty good connection on the offensive side,” said the strong-armed Pavia, who was 15-of-24 passing. “I feel very comfortable. I like the offense we run.”
Running back Nick Santistevan also had an outstanding day, even though he didn’t reach the end zone for St. Pius. Unofficially, he finished with 11 carries for 138 yards.
— James Yodice RIO RANCHO 52, OÑATE 7: At the Field of Dreams in Las Cruces, senior quarterback Logan Bruere threw for 297 yards and five touchdowns — the third time this season he has thrown for at least five TDs in a game — as the top-ranked Rams (4-0) ran their overall winning streak to 17 games. Rio Rancho led 45-7 at halftime. Zion Lopez rushed for 107 yards for Rio Rancho, which outgained Oñate (0-4) 590196 in total yards and capitalized on four Knights turnovers.
LAS CRUCES 49, VALLEY 7: In the afternoon game Saturday at the Field of Dreams, Chase Chaloupek rushed for 188 yards and four touchdowns as the host Bulldawgs (3-1) dominated the Vikings (1-3).
Las Cruces led 35-0 at halftime. Quarterback Payton Ball, who was injured in a loss last week to Cleveland, returned to the lineup. But receiver Ivan Molina, who was also hurt in the Cleveland loss, did not play.
Chris Prudencio caught a touchdown pass for Valley’s only score.
ELSEWHERE: At Milne Stadium, Hope Christian’s Lucas Martinez returned an interception for a touchdown, and quarterback Vince Quezada had over 200 combined passing and rushing yards — and kicked two field goals as well — as the Huskies ripped Grants 41-14 on Saturday afternoon. … Mission Achievement and Success, Albuquerque’s newest varsity football program, lost 48-0 at Cobre in the Bulls’ first-ever varsity vs. varsity matchup.