Video: Nic Little's highlights state champions Las Cruces
See the Rio Rancho quarterback cap a state title and undefeated season for the Rams.
The Rio Rancho football team earned a piece of history on Saturday by beating Las Cruces 39-17 to win the Class 6A state championship and go unbeaten (13-0) for the second time in three years. That enabled David Howes to become the first coach still active in the state to have a pair of undefeated champs.
After trailing 14-6, the Rams scored 33 of the game's final 36 points to reinforce the dominance they have shown since being the state's No. 1 choice in the preseason.
Senior Josh Foley again did the job by rushing for 192 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to catching five passes for 121 yards. Zeneth Klovenas also scored twice and had 2.5 sacks to help the defense limit Las Cruces to 83 rushing yards.
Las Cruces - winner of seven state titles - was severely crippled when injuries during the game sidelined the No. 1 quarterback and top two receivers.
In Class 5A, St. Pius ended the two-year reign of Artesia with a 34-24 victory as quarterback Drew Ortiz threw for three touchdowns and ran for a pair. Coach San Juan Mendoza retired with great satisfaction after his team had won just three times three years earlier. The Spartans finished 12-1 this year. Their other titles were in 1999 and 1973. Artesia had been seeking its 30th state title.
Portales (12-1) dealt No. 1-ranked Robertson its first loss 43-14 to capture the Class 4A crown - its first since 2008 and fifth overall title. Quarterback Junior Ramirez rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns, while Darion Ontiveros had 193 yards and a pair of scores. The champs ran away in the second half following a 14-all deadlock and their defense yielded just 117 total yards.
Capitan (12-1) nipped Eunice 27-26 for the Class 3A championship. It was the third title for Capitan, which had not won since 1982. Eunice (8-5), by contrast, has won 11 times, the last in 2000.
The Class 2A crown went to Lordsburg (8-2), which handed Fort Sumner/House its first loss, 34-26 as senior quarterback Johnny Plowman threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third. Lordsburg's only previous title year was 2006. Fort Sumner has notched 10 state titles.
State champs and records are listed below:CLASS 6ARio Rancho
Other title in 2014CLASS 5ASt. Pius X (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Third title (Others in 1999, 1973)
Fifth title (Others in 2008, 1988, 1981, 1979)CLASS 3ACapitan
Third title (Others in 1982, 1953)CLASS 2ALordsburg
Other title in 2006