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Early finishes for Cards, Dons

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Cowboy offense strong in home debut

By Dave Kavanaugh

As expected, much-improved Fort Lewis was no pushover in Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference football opener at Perkins Stadium.

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But Emmanuel Lewis threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, staking New Mexico Highlands to a 31-20 win.

The Cowboys are 2-1, while the Skyhawks slid to 1-2.

FLC’s Dewaun Wesley ran for 112 yards and a touchdown. that led to a 7-7 tie late in the first quarter.

Highlands scored the next 17 points — a 24-yard field goal by Zach Tapia in the second quarter and TD passes to Tyler Slavin and Michael Harrison in the third — to grab a 24-7 advantage going into the final period.

DiAmaal Holmes and Jared Koster, two of the Cowboys’ stronger returners on the defensive side, led in tackles with 14 and 13, respectively. Koster also had two sacks and a forced fumble, and Holmes came up with an interception.

• • •

West Las Vegas (1-3) improved on last year’s brutal halftime homecoming loss to Ruidoso — at least extending the game the equivalent of a full half.

But the host Warriors won big on their own homecoming with a 58-6 spread.

West struggled to establish any offensive momentum, although Jose Juan Montaño found intermittent success passing the ball to Jorge Gallardo, Anthony Medina and Andy Gabaldon.

Ruidoso’s Parker Johnson couldn’t lose, getting into the end zone on offense, defense and special teams duty. Johnson opened scoring with a 27-yard touchdown run with just 2:07 gone in the first period.

Matthew Carr rushed for a score from 10 yards out with 5:56 left in the quarter.

Then Johnson picked off Montaño and ran the ball back 43 yards to paydirt for a 20-0 lead at the 4:21 mark.

Montaño found Gallardo for a fine first down through the air, but then Parker Morrow intercepted the ball and returned it for a TD. As the period came to an end, it was 27-0.

A blocked punt resulted in a Cade Patterson-to-Johnson 28-yard touchdown strike with 11:17 left in the half, and the score was 34-0.

Patterson hooked up with Johnson again eight minutes later, a 62-yard bomb that led to a 41-0 margin that would hold up as the halftime score.

An interception by West’s Stephen Urioste returned to the Warrior 26 set up the Dons’ first and only score. Montaño tossed to Medina to reach the Ruidoso 1, and then the quarterback punched in to make it 41-6.

Any jubilation the Dons may have felt was short-lived, however. Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 79 yards, and the Warriors led 48-6 as the third quarter came to an end.

Jordan Wright delivered the third pick-six of the night with 6:36 left, and a Travis Mosier field goal from 35 yards away ended the game 1:36 early via the 50-point mercy rule.

• • •

The No. 1 team in Class 3A, St. Michael’s, turned away visiting Robertson 50-0 on Saturday afternoon at Brother Abdon Field in Santa Fe.

Daniel Ortega, the Horsemen’s running back, churned through the usually stout Cardinal defense like a hot knife through butter. Ortega ran for four first-half touchdowns as St. Mike’s took a 35-0 halftime lead.

The game was called in the third quarter after a couple more Horseman touchdowns.

Field position was a factor early. An offensive penalty, a sack and a tackle for loss on Robertson’s opening series led to a punt. The Horsemen blocked the punt and snared the ball at the RHS 14-yard line. A couple plays later, Ortega rushed in for a 7-yard TD.

The Cardinals (1-3) played without two key team members, Dominic Lucero and Javier Trujillo, benched for disciplianry reasons.

While the early part of the RHS schedule has been brutal, the Cardinals figure to catch a break when they host struggling Capital on Friday for homecoming.

• • •

The weekend’s Tournament of Champions served up a mixed bag for the Meadow City’s prep volleyball teams.

West Las Vegas secured a third-place finish in its bracket, defeating Bernalillo in four — 25-17, 16-25, 25-17, 25-13 — on Saturday afternoon at Capital’s Ortiz Gym.

Kyanna Spaulding, Cameron Flores and Jenika Padilla led a stellar effort from the service line. Sarah Gold notched 20 assists. Caelin Bustos and Celeste Trujillo recorded double digits in kills with 17 and 12, respectively.

Earlier in the day, West lost to Moriarty, 25-19, 25-16, 25-11.

Late Friday, the Lady Dons swept Santa Fe Indian 25-8, 25-16, 25-16, behind accurate serving by Gold and Flores, the .520 attack of Caelin Bustos and a 29-dig showing from Deanna Bustos.

Robertson’s spikers excelled in Friday morning’s pool play, finishing second in their four-team pool and earning a spot in the Gold bracket.

But the tougher competition of the Gold bracket made for a challenge.

Santa Fe High defeated RHS 25-15, 25-13, 25-19 in the opener Friday.

Then on Saturday, Laguna Acoma prevailed 25-13, 25-20, 26-24. And after the Lady Cardinals broke through for a 25-23 win in the first set against Belen, they lost 25-15, 25-20 and 25-11.

• • •

Robertson (7-3) carved out a gritty overtime victory over Socorro (3-6-1) in girls’ soccer on Saturday at RHS field.

Socorro led 1-0 at half but the Lady Cards outscored the visitors 2-1 after the break to force the extra session, which Robertson won 1-0.