WEB EXCLUSIVE: Lighting, Jaguars strike against Rio Grande

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In the second News-Bulletin Game of the Week, the Valencia Jaguars remained undefeated, shutting out Rio Grande 49-0 in its home opener to remain undefeated heading into a road encounter with perennial Class 4A title contenders Artesia in the Bulldog Bowl next Friday night.

GAME OF THE WEEK: VALENCIA 49, RIO GRANDE 0

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: QUARTERBACK GARRETT GIBSON vaults over a pair of Rio Grande defensders to score in Valencia High's 49-0 win Saturday afternoon.: VALENCIA 49, RIO GRANDE 0

In the end, a lightning storm did what the visiting Ravens could not – stop the Jaguars.

Officials called Saturday’s game at Valencia High School on account of lighting at around the nine minute mark of the fourth quarter with Valencia driving for another score after scoring 35 first half points to trigger the mercy rule running clock to start the second half.

Junior quarterback Garrett Gibson led a speedy and varied Jaguar attack, throwing for three touchdowns and running for one more score by vaulting over a trio of Rio Grande defenders in the win.

Junior running back Josh Burbank added 105 rushing yards on nine carries, scoring on a breakaway 58-yard run for a touchdown that kicked off VHS’s scoring. The game was a big reversal from last season, when Rio Grande held the Jags scoreless for a half before winning 18-15 in Albuquerque.

“I think the key was just working together and getting after it,” said Burbank. “Coming after last season, completely storming us and us coming our real strong this year took some air out of their balloon.”

While the Jaguars offense showed its firepower, amassing 259 total yards and tallying 16 first downs to the Ravens’ three, the Valencia defense did the work of keeping Rio Grande off the field and backed into its own end of the field.

The Ravens did not complete a pass in the game and were held to 45 yards of total offense, all on the ground. The Jags forced three turnovers – one interception and two fumbles while also pressuring Rio Grande quarterback Pablo Duarte consistently, scoring four sacks on the day.

Gibson finished 6-of-10 passing on the day for 163 yards and one interception plus three touchdown passes and also ran for 20 yards, including his one running touchdown. The junior accounted for all three touchdowns in the pivotal second quarter, connecting with senior Troy Lowe on  a two-yard scoring strike, senior Chris Brandt on a 51-yard strike and his running touchdown.

“Garrett’s doing real good, we’re happy with the way the offense is performing,” said coach Kevin Jolley.

Junior Nate Nash closed scoring with 1:33 left in the third quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run. Brandt finished as the Jaguars’ top receiver, catching two passes for 89 yards.

“I think we had a good plan to stop them,” said coach Jolley. “We’ll always give credit to that defensive line and offensive line. They played hard. We held them and forced some punts and capitalized off that.” 

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