La Cueva spoiled the debut of Nate Pino as Rio Rancho High School’s head football coach with a convincing, and dominating, 30-7 victory at Rio Rancho on Friday night.
The Bears’ defense pitched a shutout, limiting the Rams to just 99 yards of total offense, and just 25 yards in the first half.
Rio Rancho’s only points came off a pick-6 by Sebastian Rubio, who took a floating pass from La Cueva quarterback Aidan Armenta the other way 45 yards, untouched, for a pick-six less than five minutes into the game for the first points of the night.
The Rams had very few scoring opportunities against a La Cueva defense that hounded Rio Rancho quarterback Noah Nelson most of the night. The Bears earned a handful of huge sacks against Nelson as the Rams barely ran any plays on the La Cueva half of the field. Rio Rancho only snapped the ball once in La Cueva territory in the opening two quarters.
The Rams only had one offensive drive of note, in the third quarter after La Cueva took a 23-6 lead.
Nelson ran for a first down off a fake punt to keep that drive alive, and the Rams eventually reached the La Cueva 15.
But there was a 13-yard sack on first down, and the drive fizzled.
That was one of the seven times the Bears sacked Nelson on Friday night before a large crowd.
“We have to do a better job pass protecting,” Pino said.
For La Cueva, Armenta threw a pair of touchdowns to Ian Sanchez, who was wide open on both plays, to lead the Bears’ offense. Gabriel Buie also ran for a score, and Armenta added a TD pass to Jackson Hix.
Because of the sacks, Rio Rancho finished with just 47 rushing yards.
The Rams play Eldorado Saturday at 11 a.m. at Wilson Stadium. La Cueva plays host to Cleveland next Friday at Wilson Stadium, trying to go 2-for-2 vs. City of Vision teams.