Nelson, Chaparral roll past Eldorado in ‘Cleat Game’

Richard Nelson scored three touchdowns Thursday night as Chaparral’s football team routed host Eldorado 41-8 in the annual “Cleat Game.”

Nelson rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries and also had a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown.

“He’s a senior captain. He brings it,” Chaparral coach Paul Nihipali said of Nelson. “They all look up to his level, so he’s a good example.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Nelson got the Cowboys (1-1) on the board with a 10-yard touchdown run with 10:09 left in the first half, and Chaparral took a 7-0 lead into halftime.

The Cowboys pulled away in the third quarter, scoring three TDs to take control of the rivalry game, played for Merlin Olsen’s cleat. Eldorado won last year’s rivalry game, 28-21.

“You can’t explain it,” Nihipali said. “The kids worked so hard. They came in and they had a purpose. They started slowly, but they always had that goal in mind. This is a big-time rivalry game from way back.”

Nelson had a 2-yard touchdown run, followed by a 6-yard scoring run by quarterback Andrew Solis and a 24-yard TD run by Casey Acosta with four seconds left in the third quarter.

Nelson’s interception return for a touchdown came with 11:47 to play and pushed the lead to 34-0.

Devin Gaddy added a 20-yard touchdown reception from backup quarterback Vialtando Santiago with four minutes left to give the Cowboys a 41-0 lead.

Eldorado’s lone highlight came in the final minute, when Shane Barnes caught a 33-yard scoring pass from Justin Martin with nine seconds to play. Damoreyah Holmes added a 2-point conversion run for the final score.

Jacob Ford rushed for 97 yards on 14 carries for Chaparral, which rushed for 306 yards. Solis completed 7 of 14 passes for 73 yards.

“The kids finally decided, ‘We’ve got to step it up right now,'” Nihipali said. “The captains came in, talked and made their adjustments. And we kind of jut kept it on the ground because we knew we could pound them.”

Barnes was the standout for the Sundevils (1-1), catching seven passes for 142 yards.

Eldorado quarterback Deven Dabbs completed 14 of 27 passes for 157 yards, but was intercepted twice. The Cowboys limited the Sundevils to 6 yards on the ground.


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