By Rick White
Caleb Dodd has played football with Carlos Ruiz since the seventh grade, and he’s still amazed by some of the feats of his fleet-footed teammate.
With the help of Dodd’s crushing blocks, Ruiz ran into the national high school record books with an uncanny 13 touchdowns in Saturday’s state six-man semifinal playoff game at Animas.
The Melrose junior carried the ball 31 times for 335 yards as the Buffaloes advanced to the state championship game for the second year in a row with a 100-55 win.
Ruiz’ scores ranged in length from a pair of 1-yard plunges to a 62-yard kickoff return that capped Melrose’s 44-point first quarter.
“He’s just so fast,” Dodd said. “It’s still amazing to watch him run. Coach gets mad when I stand and watch him run when I’m supposed to be blocking.”
The touchdowns — 12 rushing and one on a kickoff return — breaks the six-man record of 11 TDs in a game set in 2000 by Josh Rodriguez of Rochester, Texas, according to the Web site SixManNation.com. The National Federation of State High Schools Association lists previous record-holder as Page Miller of Turrell, Ark., with 10 in 1937.
“I had some pretty good blocks,” said Ruiz, a 5-foot-11, 135-pound state champion sprinter. “They were putting four guys in the box and we just knew how to block it.”
Ruiz, who has dodged and darted his way to 2,514 rushing yards and 48 TDs this season, did most of his damage running behind Dodd and junior fullback Coy Speer, two of the Buffaloes’ biggest players. Dodd said the Buffaloes took advantage of an Animas defensive scheme that was unbalanced to the weakside of the formation.
“We just kept running the same play over and over,” Dodd said. “It was pretty simple blocking. I’ll bet you Carlos scored all his touchdowns on the same play.”
Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said he didn’t realize until after the game Ruiz had scored so many touchdowns or his team had scored 100 points.
“We pulled him a couple of times to give him a rest, but for the most part we just kept giving him the ball,” said Roybal, who led Melrose to the state title in 1999.
Melrose (10-1) plays at District 3 rival Floyd (10-0) at noon Saturday in the title game. Floyd beat Melrose 28-20 on the last week of the regular season to win the district title.
It’s the second year in a row a Melrose player has set a national record. Harvey Park caught 29 TD passes in 2003, breaking the 60-year-old record of 25.