Manzano High’s football team wrapped up its regular season by cruising to a 35-14 victory over the Albuquerque High Bulldogs Nov. 3 at Wilson Stadium in Albuquerque.

Manzano’s Xavier Ivey-saud opened the scoring with two first-quarter rushing touchdowns. His first TD was a 42-yard blast down the sidelines, followed by a 3-yard jaunt through a hole on the right side.

Ivey-saud led the Monarchs in rushing with 119 yards on 11 carries.

East Mountain resident Austin Erickson’s 15-yard run inside the Bulldogs 10-yard line set up the Monarchs’ third TD: a Chicago Bears-esque 2-yard plunge by 260-pound defensive end Chris Valdez. It was Valdez’ first TD of the season.

Austin Erickson carrying the ball during the Monarch’s win over Albuquerque High.

Late in the second quarter, Manzano quarterback Dakota Powell connected on a 27-yard pass to Jack Blankenship—both live in Cedar Crest. The pass looked like a TD as Blankenship caught the ball at the Bulldogs 3-yard line and dove for the goal-line pylon.

“I thought I was in,” Blankenship said. “The ref said ‘No.’”

One play later, Isaiah Hernandez’ 1-yard dive into the end zone put Manzano up 27-0 at halftime.

Early in the third quarter, Powell threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Erickson to put the Monarchs up 35-0.

“I thought the safety was going to be there, and he wasn’t, so I just kept going,” Erickson said.

Erickson had 4 receptions for 42 yards.

Powell was 10 for 15 passing for 141 yards and the TD.

With a commanding lead, Manzano substituted most of its starters for the remainder of the game.

“It was good to see us execute, end the year on a good note, and that was the key, to make sure we set the tone for how we’re going to play next week in the playoffs,” Manzano head coach Phillip Martinez said.

The Monarchs finished the regular season 6-4 overall, 3-1 in District 2/5-6A and got the No. 8 seed in the upcoming Class 6A playoffs. They host the ninth-seeded Rio Rancho Rams Nov. 9 at Wilson Stadium.

Martinez said he would’ve liked to have gotten a higher seed but is happy to be hosting, adding, “We’ll see what happens—right now we’re getting our kids ready to play another game.”