ANIMAS — Clovis Christian piled up the points on Saturday, but the Eagles’ defense also did its job.
CCS stopped Animas four times inside the Eagles’ 20-yard-line and rode the offensive exploits of junior runningback Mike Urioste and sophomore quarterback Kevin Naceanceno to a 50-20 victory in an 8-man state quarterfinal game.
Uriooste rushed for 285 yards on 16 carries and scored four touchdowns, three on the ground. Naceanceno added 153 yards and a rushing touchdown and also threw for two scores.
The game turned at the start of the second half. Animas, trailing 20-14, recovered an onside kick and moved deep into Eagles territory.
Clovis Christian stopped a fourth-down play, then on third down from the 10 Naceanceno found Urioste near the 25 and he outran the pursuit on a 90-yard play for a 26-14 lead.
Urioste added TD runs of 83 and 11 yards in the fourth quarter as CCS (8-2) built a 50-14 lead midway thorugh the final period.
Eagles coach Jason Swann said his team has stopped its last two opponents seven times in eight opportunities inside the red zone.
“That’s amazing,” he said. “Of all the stats I can use, that’s the best one.”
Uroiste had a 25-yard touchdown run and Kenny Duong scored from a yard out as the Eagles took a 14-6 lead after one quarter. After the Panthers (6-4) tied it with a touchdown and 2-point conversion, CCS regained the lead at halftime on an 11-yard pass from Naceanceno to Cordy Wilhoit in the final minute of the half.
CCS will face Tatum (9-1), a 70-24 winner on Friday night over Springer, in a semifinal game next weekend. Since the teams have never met in the postseason, a coin flip will determine home-field advantage.
Top-ranked and defending champion Melrose visits Mountainair in the other semifinal matchup.