St. Pius cruises past Bernalillo
Rio Rancho crushes West Mesa, 45-0
BERNALILLO — St. Pius capitalized on multiple Bernalillo miscues in the first quarter and rolled to a 42-2 road victory on Friday night.
The Sartans (4-3, 2-0 in 2/5-4A) needed just five plays and 84 seconds to put the first points on the board, as Isaiah Griffin followed a 42-yard scamper on a jet sweep with a 1-yard scoring run on the next play to put his team up 7-0 early.
From there, Bernalillo (5-2, 1-1), which was coming off a brawl-shortened forfeit win against Española Valley last week, repeatedly shot itself in the foot.
A bobbled snap on a punt led to a turnover on downs deep in Bernalillo territory, setting up a 15-yard touchdown run by St. Pius quarterback Derek Rivera to put his team up 14-0.
Meanwhile, Bernalillo signal caller Damian Gutierrez threw three interceptions in the opening period — two by Nick Slaton, one by Robert Godshall. Two of those came inside the Bernalillo 20, setting up short scoring drives for St. Pius. By the end of the first quarter, the Sartans were up 28-0 and on cruise control.
“We’ve just been telling our kids just to be aggressive,” said St. Pius coach David Montoya. “The kids just need to have that confidence and be able to get after stuff. We get pretty good pressure up front, so it’s easier for our secondary guys to be more aggressive.”
A touchdown pass from Rivera to Griffin put the Sartans up 35-0 with 8:52 left in the second quarter, and with the running clock enacted, the game went swiftly from that point. Rivera finished with two rushing and two passing touchdowns on the evening.
The victory sets up a key showdown with No. 1-ranked Taos next Saturday at Milne Stadium for St. Pius. The Tigers (7-0) have earned six of their victories by 29 points or more.
“We watched them on film last year, and I was really impressed with them. I knew they didn’t lose that many guys and they’d have a good team this year,” Montoya said. “We’ve been working all year for this, and this is kind of what it comes down to for our district. We’ve got to win this one and two more.” —Tristen Critchfield RIO RANCHO 45, WEST
MESA 0: In Rio Rancho, the Rams scored on their first two offensive plays and never looked back.
The Mustangs (1-6, 0-2 in 1-6A) punted after their first possession, in which they picked up two first downs, and the Rams (3-4, 2-0) had the ball on their own 36. Junior quarterback Isaiah Chavez threw the ball over the middle to Jeremy Rotert, who did the rest of the work for a 6-0 lead.
The Mustangs went threeand-out on their next possession, and Zach Vigil returned the ensuing punt 31 yards to the West Mesa 2. Jaylen Morgan took a handoff and went into the end zone for the second TD; Morgan’s next carry was a 3-yard TD run, as the Rams built a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.
D’metrius Rhoten, who led the Rams’ rushing attack with 107 yards on eight carries, scored on a 3-yard run and Zack Benedict, 6-for-6 on points-after, added a 31-yard field goal for a 31-0 Rams lead at halftime.
Vigil scored on a 15-yard run in the third period, and Chavez hooked up with Ethan Hampsten on a perfectly thrown 10-yard fade pass into the corner of the end zone for the game’s final TD.
By game’s end, the Mustangs had only three plays on the Rams’ side of the field: a 3-yard run, an incomplete pass and an interception.
West Mesa’s longest plays of
the game were fourth-quarter passes covering 24 and 20 yards from QB Aeneas Townes to Chris Aspaas.
“The defense played very well tonight,” said Rio Rancho coach David Howes after his defense limited the Mustangs to 35 rushing yards and 48 passing yards. “Offensively, we moved the ball. Got some guys in there early … special teams played very well tonight.” — Gary Herron CENTENNIAL 13, MAYFIELD 0: At the Field of Dreams, Brent Rigtrup’s 60-yard interception return for a score on the first play of the fourth quarter was the game’s first score, and the fourth-ranked Hawks (8-0, 4-0 in 3-6A) downed the ninth-ranked Trojans (4-3, 2-1).
ALSO FRIDAY NIGHT: Five players scored touchdowns for Volcano Vista, including Blaine Grant on a kickoff return as the fifth-ranked Hawks (6-1, 2-0 in 1-6A) blasted Atrisco Heritage 52-0 at Nusenda Community Stadium. … Valley (5-2) beat Rio Grande (0-8) 25-6 at Milne Stadium. … At the Wool Bowl in Roswell, Class 5A’s top-ranked Coyotes turned aside No. 6 Piedra Vista 26-14. … In Santa Teresa, No. 2 Goddard downed No. 5 Santa Teresa 22-8. … Hobbs (6-1, 3-0 in 3-6A), ranked No. 6 in Class 6A, overcame a sluggish start and beat Gadsden 47-7.