Cats fall at Rio Rancho despite eight TDs for Cass

By Kevin Wilson

CMI staff writer

kwilson@cnjonline.com

RIO RANCHO — It was a night of sevens that just didn’t work out for the Clovis Wildcats and Kamal Cass.

With a school record seven rushing touchdowns already in hand, the Wildcat senior helped Clovis force overtime in the final minute Friday night at Rio Rancho.

But it was the host Rams that got the two sevens that mattered the most, as Easton Bruere ended matters with his seventh touchdown pass of the night, a 10-yarder to Tristen Foley, as Rio Rancho survived for a 62-59 win at Rio Rancho High School.

CMI staff photo: Kevin Wilson Kamal Cass turns the corner against Rio Rancho defender Brady Patterson in the first quarter of Friday night’s game at Rio Rancho. Cass rushed for 343 yards and seven touchdowns, and added a touchdown reception in the 62-59 overtime defeat.

CMI staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Kamal Cass turns the corner against Rio Rancho defender Brady Patterson in the first quarter of Friday night’s game at Rio Rancho. Cass rushed for 343 yards and seven touchdowns, and added a touchdown reception in the 62-59 overtime defeat.

The final scoring toss to Foley, and the fourth time the two had connected for a touchdown in the shootout, was 7 more yards than Clovis managed on its lone possession of overtime, which ended with a 24-yard field goal by Adam Wagener.

On a night where the teams combined for 1,030 yards of offense, the non-district affair was a nailbiter throughout, with Rio Rancho never more than a touchdown ahead.

“It’s huge,” Rio Rancho coach David Howes said after the win. “To beat them four of (the last) five is big. The kids battled. I’m proud of the kids stepping up and getting that big stop, but we’ve got to improve on defense.”

Cass gave the Rams plenty to study in the upcoming film session, with 323 yards on 43 carries and scoring runs of 48, 5, 62, 1, 76, 2 and 11 yards en route to breaking Michael Thompson’s 22-year-old single-game scoring mark. With the receiving touchdown added, Cass also broke Thompson’s record for total touchdowns in a game.

“When we need him to, he steps up,” Clovis coach Eric Roanhaus said. “But we had a lot of kids step up tonight.”

Foley scored on passes of 29, 16, 29 and 10, but Bruere found numerous other targets. In total, he threw touchdown passes to four different Rams and finished 23-of-40 for 374 yards to six different targets.

“They throw the ball well,” Roanhaus said. “We don’t cover very well, but you’ve got to give them credit.”

CMI staff photo: Kevin Wilson Clovis senior Peyton Lott comes down with an interception on a  jump ball at the end of regulation Friday night at Rio Rancho.

CMI staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Clovis senior Peyton Lott comes down with an interception on a jump ball at the end of regulation Friday night at Rio Rancho.

Jordan Lara carried the ball 21 times for 115 yards as part of Rio Rancho’s 557-yard night. Traivon Sopila gave Clovis a pair of 100-yard rushers on the evening with 102 yards on seven carries.

The Rams face Atrisco Heritage next week, while Clovis has homecoming against Goddard. During their current three-game losing streak, the Wildcats took a loss on a missed field goal they didn’t get two weeks ago against Manzano, and lost Friday night when they only got a field goal in the extra period.

“We’ve snatched defeat from the jaws of victory twice,” Roanhaus said. “We’ve got something to build on, that’s the big thing. I still think a good loser is a loser, but we made something we can build on going into homecoming.”

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