Zach Vigil; scored four first-half touchdowns Thursday evening at Nusenda Community Stadium, where No. 3 Rio Rancho was never threatened on its way to its fifth win in a row, this time 61-7.

The Rams (5-2, 2-0 in District 1-6A) took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards in 10 plays to the end zone. Vigil, who returned the kickoff to the 30, hauled the ball four times for 50 yards on that possession, including the final 8 yards.

Defensively, the Rams allowed only 75 yards of offense, gave up only one successful third-down play out of 12, and didn’t allow WMHS to get closer than 33 yards to the Rams’ goal line. Plus, Jaden Garduno and Lucas Lucero each had an interception.

As an indicator of things to coming, the Rams were penalized three times for 25 yards on that opening drive — and Vigil, who later scored on runs of 18, 8 and 1 yard — finished with 105 yards on 15 carries.

The Rams also eclipsed the 100-yard mark in rushing by quarterback Isaiah Chavez (seven carries for 152 yards) and penalties (15 flags for 125 yards). And RRHS didn’t have to punt in the game.

Vigil’s 18 yard TD run gave the Rams a 14-0 lead, although West Mesa (1-6, 0-2) got its lone TD when Anthony Michel reached up to snag a Chavez pass and took it about 30 yards to the end zone for a pick-6.

In the second quarter, Chavez galloped 47 yards for a TD, Vigil found paydirt on his runs of 8 and 1 yard, and Chavez hooked up with Tyrese Watson on what turned out to be a 50-yard TD strike.

Chavez’s 26-yard run for a touchdown was the lone score of the third quarter, with the Rams then leading 48-7 and bringing the 35-point mercy rule clock into effect.

Chavez gave way to his backup, junior Joey Cave, ran 52 yards early in the fourth quarter to make it 55-7, then ended the game with 2:55 showing on the clock on a 7-yard run.

Zach Benedict added six points-after and Bailey Siverts added one PAT along the way for the Rams, who amassed 362 rushing yards and 145 passing yards — 140 credited to Chavez, 5 to Cave — for the lopsided contest.

RAMifications: The Mustangs were a District 1-5A foe of the Rams from 2000-09, and then were inserted into 1-6A last season. All-time, the Rams are 9-1 vs. WMHS, including a 45-0 rout of the ‘Stangs last season.

… The 61 points scored Thursday were the most by the Rams since a 63-14 romp over visiting Volcano Vista on Oct. 14, 2016.

… RRHS entertains Atrisco Heritage Academy (0-6, 0-2) Friday at 7. The Rams are 5-0 all-time vs. the Jaguars, including a 57-7 verdict in 2018, AHA’s first season in 1-6A. “Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to get some guys experience … gotta have these guys with experience, which is going to help us in the playoffs,” Howes said of the upcoming mismatch.


Zach Vigil scored four touchdowns Thursday vs. West Mesa, all in the decisive first half.