TATUM — Brothers Alberto and Art Castro were in on six of Tatum’s nine touchdowns and the Coyotes survived a six-TD performance by Melrose sophomore Carlos Ruiz to beat the Buffaloes 57-40 on Saturday in the state six-man football championship.
Tatum (12-0) handed the Buffs (9-3) their only three setbacks of the season, although this one was considerably closer than the others.
Ruiz rushed for 183 yards and four touchdowns and also threw a pair of scoring passes, including one in the final minute that increased senior Harvey Park’s six-man national record to 29 TD catches for the season.
Ruiz scored on runs of 45 and 37 yards in the first quarter, 42 yards in the third and 4 yards in the fourth. His first scoring pass covered 17 yards to Caleb Dodd and pulled Melrose to 36-20 at halftime.
Alberto Castro caught two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores for Tatum, while Art Castro scored one time and tossed three TD passes. Art Castro rushed for 133 yards and threw for 159 more on 9 of 18.
“We knew they were fast and we knew they were good,” Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said of the Coyotes. “We tried to come in here with a game plan that would slow them down a little, but they’re a really good team.”
Tatum had nine plays of 30 yards or better, including a 65-yard touchdown scramble by Rusty Hale in the first quarter and a 35-yard TD pass from Art Castro to Alberto Castro as time expired in the period that gave the Coyotes a lead they would never relinquish.
“We had several chances to kind of pull it out and go ahead, but we just didn’t contain Ruiz very well and he ran around us tonight,” Tatum coach Jarrod Sowder said. “But we had a good showing and the end result was what we wanted, so that’s all that matters.”
The Buffaloes got within 10 points of Tatum to open the third with a 40-yard TD run by Ruiz, but Alberto Castro made sure Tatum kept its grasp on the Blue trophy with a 30-yard touchdown reception and a 4-yard TD run in the fourth to seal the Coyotes’ win.