Clovis Christian School running back Robert Montanez escapes the tackle attempt of Melrose’s Harvey Park during the first half of Friday’s game in Melrose. Melrose won 58-13. Photo by Eric Kluth.
MELROSE — Clovis Christian was game Friday night. But Melrose, even without sophomore standout Carlos Ruiz, had too many weapons for the Eagles.
Senior wide receiver Harvey Park, junior running back James Walker and sophomore quarterback Brock Graham all had big nights on offense while junior end James Runyan led a solid defensive effort as the Buffaloes celebrated Homecoming with a 58-13 rout of CCS. The game was called early in the third quarter due to the NMAA’s 45-point lead rule in six-man games.
Park caught six passes for 99 yards, including four for touchdowns to give him 20 for the season. Walker rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns, caught two passes for 28 yards and a score and completed 4 of 7 passes for 41 yards and two TDs, while Graham went 9 of 12 through the air for four touchdowns and also caught a 19-yard TD pass from Walker.
“We could’ve done better, but it’s a win,” said Walker, who missed most of his sophomore year with a broken leg and got his chance on offense a couple of weeks ago when Ruiz was slowed by a deep knee bruise.
“This was a very good game for me,” he said. “It was fun.”
CCS scored its touchdowns in the second quarter on passes from Chris Mitchell to Dustin Handley for 13 yards and Corey Hastings to Sean Sena, on the final play of the half, for 6 yards.
“They gave good effort tonight,” CCS coach Greg Darden said of his team. “You can only climb the hill so far. Melrose is a good team, but I’m proud of our boys. They’ve come a long way.”
The Buffaloes (5-2) all but put the game out of reach in the first quarter, building a 26-0 lead. Walker, who scored the last two of those touchdowns, then made it 32-0 with a 26-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
The Buffs’ final two games, both in six-man District 3, are also at home, including Friday’s clash with rival Floyd.
“Clovis Christian played hard, but our kids did some good things,” Melrose coach Dickie Roybal said. “Now we’ve got to focus on Friday — that’s the game we’ve got to win. All the games up to now don’t really matter.”
Melrose dominated the Eagles (2-3) on both sides of the ball, holding CCS to 135 total yards and four first downs. Runyan pressured the quarterback constantly and had a pair of sacks.
“That’s a kid that’s really stepped up,” Roybal said. “Without Carlos (on the opposite side), he’s probably our best rush end. Jason had a good game, and he’s getting better.”
Runyan said he was just doing his job.
“We could’ve done better, but it’s Homecoming and I guess we had a lot of stuff on our minds,” he said. “But we did pretty well. We just go out and do our jobs. We’ve just got to get mentally ready for it.”