The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Gary Herron
Special to The News 

Rio Rancho survives Wildcats


September 9, 2017

RIO RANCHO — Three turnovers in the game’s final 4 minutes and 20 seconds led visiting Clovis High into an overtime session, and Rio Rancho’s Cailon Bailon scored on a short touchdown run in the OT to give the Rams a 34-31 victory Friday night.

The Wildcats (2-1) had taken the lead in what was a seesaw battle at Rio Rancho Stadium when quarterback Brandt Davis sliced his way into the end zone with 5:33 to play. Davis had thrown two touchdown passes earlier in the game.

After Kabel Brooks tacked on the point-after, the ‘Cats held a 28-25 lead.

No. 1 Rio Rancho (3-0), in danger of seeing its school-record 15-game winning streak come to an end, went three-and-out and all the Wildcats needed to do was pick up a few first downs and run out the clock, then head home with their first victory in Rio Rancho since 2007.

But a fumble on the first play from scrimmage was recovered by the Rams’ Keshawn Baker.

The Rams drove into the red zone, only to have Clovis’ Joe Gallegos intercept his third Logan Bruere pass of the game, this one in the end zone.

But again the ‘Cats coughed up the ball, and this time the Rams took advantage.

Alex MacPherson drilled a 29-yard field goal with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter, knotting things at 28.

Clovis turned the ball over one last time, this time on a long pass picked off by the Rams, who then ran out the clock to set up OT.

After Clovis couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone, Brooks booted a 23-yard field goal for a 31-28 lead.

The Rams got a 3-yard run and then a 6-yard run by Jaylen Morgan, putting the ball inside the 1. Bailon then plowed his way into the end zone and it was over.

“Being a safety, I’ve got my eyes open all the time,” Gallegos said, noting he’s 5-foot, 10-inches tall and covering Derrick Reyes, who stands 6-4 and caught three TD passes in the game.

The Wildcats weren’t about to hang their heads, he said.

“Playing for a new coach (Cal Fullerton) is pretty awesome, coming up here with new blood, it’s pretty crazy,” Gallegos said. “It’s a great experience — a pretty awesome game. Best game I’ve had in my life.

“We were expecting to win (and) play a heck of a game, which we did.”

Clovis returns home to face Goddard next Friday in its Homecoming game. The Rockets (1-2) fell 19-18 to Carlsbad on Friday.


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