Buffs steamroll into six-man finals

CNJ STAFF

MELROSE— Senior Harvey Park set the national record for touchdown receptions in a season as Melrose advanced to the six-man state championship game for the first time since winning it all in 1999 by routing Animas.

Sophomore Carlos Ruiz rushed for 435 yards and seven touchdowns and Park caught three TD passes as the Buffs rolled over Animas 68-21 in a semifinal game on Saturday.
The touchdown runs for Ruiz included runs of 57 and 55 yards. He also threw one of the TD passes to Park, covering 29 yards.

Park has 28 TD receptions this season, which breaks the National High School Federation record for six-man of 25, according to SixManNation.com.

“We were really, really pleased with the way our kids played,” Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said. “Everybody did their assignments.”

Roybal said assistant coach Casey Pack “did a great job of calling our defense today,” and added that the Buffs blocked well for Ruiz.

“It’s obvious that for Carlos to have 435 yards, they had to be doing something right,” he said.

Melrose (9-2), which plays the winner of Saturday night’s other semifinal sending Tatum to Melrose, opened a 34-8 lead at halftime as Ruiz scored three times and Park caught TD passes of 9 and 55 yards from Brock Graham, the latter coming as time expired in the half.

The Panthers (6-2) pulled to 50-21 early in the final quarter, but Ruiz added three more touchdowns. The last one, a 26-yard run with 1:10 left, ended the game on the 45-point lead rule which goes into effect after halftime in six-man play.

LOVING 7, FORT SUMNER 0 — At Fort Sumner, Jonathan Fuentes scored on an 11-yard run early in the third quarter and the Falcons eliminated two-time defending champion Fort Sumner 7-0 Saturday in a Class 1A quarterfinal playoff game.

The touchdown was set up when Loving’s Casimiro Sanchez intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 7 yards to the Foxes’ 29. On fourth-and-1, 275-pounder Arturo Munoz rumbled for 9 yards. Fuentes went over on the next play.
Loving (7-3) had another chance later in the period with an interception deep in Fort Sumner territory, but Foxes linebacker John Sena kept the game close with an interception at the 5.

The Foxes (8-3) drove from their 35 to the Loving 15 early in the fourth quarter, but were stopped after a holding penalty set them back.

The Falcons held the potent Fort Sumner attack to 108 yards, including just 84 on the ground.