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Rockets rout Capital 61-7

August 27, 2016 • Local Sports

SANTA FE — It was barely 10 months ago that an upstart Capital club marched down from Santa Fe and nearly pulled off an upset of Goddard in the Wool Bowl to open the 2015 Class 5A playoffs.
Friday’s rematch was earmarked as Round 2 in what was thought to be a showdown of evenly matched teams.
Eh, not so much.
The Rockets (1-0) forced a turnover on the game’s second play, scored on the next snap and led by three touchdowns less than halfway through the opening quarter en route to a 61-7 blowout of Capital at Jaguars Field in the season opener for both teams.
“The kids were aggressive and we did some good things,” said first-year Goddard head coach Chris White. “We kind of just got momentum early and just kept it. I wasn’t trying to have a statement win or run the score up on Capital. I wasn’t thinking about last year, or proving a point. I was just trying to get some kids some opportunities.”
Jacob Sartain’s 23-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter ended it via the 50-point mercy rule, giving White a win in his first career game as the Rockets’ head coach. An assistant to former head coaches Sam Jernigan and Mike Whalen since 2002, White is in his first year calling all the shots.
So far, so [auth] good.
Goddard rolled up 441 yards of total offense, all but 13 of which game from the ground game as running backs Devon Quiroz and Hunter Johnson combined for 296 yards and five touchdowns on just 29 carries. Quiroz never touched the ball in the second half, finishing the first quarter with 103 yards before adding a 49-yard TD run on his only other carry early in the second quarter.
He also scored on runs of 30 and 66 yards while Johnson broke through with TD runs of 41 and 58 yards in the third quarter.
“I thought our kids executed OK,” White said with, surprisingly, a straight face. “We’ve got a steep hill to climb, but you know how that is,” he said. “We’ll take it one game at a time and we’ll work from here. Just do what’s in front of us.”
Quiroz lauded his line’s effort as the unit dominated Capital up front. He also said the transition between Jernigan and White has been seamless to this point.
“He’s just carrying on Coach J and doing what we’ve always done,” Quiroz said. “He’s just Coach J in the flesh.”
Capital managed just 118 yards of offense, 75 of it coming from running back J.R. Vargas. Of those, 38 came on one play when he bounced out of a scrum and raced mostly untouched down the Rockets’ sideline for a first-quarter touchdown that Jaguars head coach Bill Moon said was a broken play.
“Both of our longest runs were broken plays,” he said.
While White and Co. were mostly calm and collected on the field after the game, Moon took his players behind closed doors and spent more than 25 minutes shouting at his players.
“Fifty point loss,” he said. “Nothing had to do with anything except to say that Goddard’s a good team and we didn’t play well. They came out with the poise and execution of a championship program. We could’ve done it but we didn’t.”
The Rockets set the tone early, dropping Vargas for a 1-yard loss on the game’s first play, then picking off Capital quarterback Mark Segura on a tipped pass that spun into the arms of linebacker Javier Barraza.
Quiroz scored on the very next play, a 30-yard run down the right sideline that opened the flood gates just 63 seconds into the game.
Capital punted on its next possession, then fumbled the ball into the end zone on its next drive when Segura was hit at the 5. Barraza, fresh off the early interception, fell on it just inside the goal line to help open a 14-0 lead.
Just three minutes later, starting quarterback Cameron Stevenson capped a three-play, 80-yard drive with a 29-yard scoring run to make it 21-0.
Capital answered on Vargas’s run, but Quiroz answered right back moments later with a 66-yard highlight reel run that gave the Rockets a 27-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The margin grew to 35 by halftime when Quiroz added another TD run and Diego Miranda returned a punt 69 yards to pay dirt to open a 42-7 lead at the break.
“You can’t play a playoff team with anything less than a playoff performance,” Moon said. “We played like a team playing the first game of the season and they played like they were playing their last. We’re about 10 games apart right now.”
The Rockets now have a week to prepare for an even stiffer test, with newly-promoted Class 6A Piedra Vista coming to the Wool Bowl next Friday.
“I think we did make a couple of mistakes that need to be cleaned up, but this being the first week we do know that we’ve got a lot of time and this right here — it’s just the start,” said Quiroz.
White agreed with his tailback that although it’s hard to be too upset with a 61-7 victory on the road in Week 1, the Rockets still have room to improve.
“We’ll have to tune things up, I can tell you that.”

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