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October 21, 2014

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Defense strong as Cimarron-Memorial notches win

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Kyle B. Hansen

Cimarron-Memorial senior Roderick Washington stops Legacy junior Brian Leon from catching a pass.

Cimarron-Memorial defeats Legacy

Legacy's Prince Oroke (31) blocks Cimarron-Memorial's Triton Manumaleuna (84) while Martell Crockett (24) carries the ball. Launch slideshow »

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Cimarron-Memorial coach Rod Vollan lectured his team after Friday’s 13-7 victory over Legacy about how potent offense thrills fans, but stingy defense earns championships.

If Vollan is correct, then the Spartans could become a threat to take home some hardware in this year’s playoffs after shutting down the Longhorns' offense Friday.

The Spartans held the Longhorns to just 201 total yards while not allowing Legacy’s offense to score a touchdown.

“This game was huge,” Vollan said. “We were fortunate enough that the time finally clicked off when we had the lead. It was a great, great intense defensive struggle on both sides. It was a playoff-caliber football game for sure.”

Although Legacy averaged 31 points per game prior to Friday’s contest, the only time the Longhorns found the end zone was when junior Dontrell Hall returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter to give Legacy a 7-6 lead.

Less than 15 seconds prior to that kickoff return, Cimarron junior running back Stephen Nixon broke off a 63-yard touchdown run. Alex Ramos missed the ensuing extra point, allowing Legacy to take a one-point lead off Hall’s explosive return.

Both squads then settled down as each team punted in their next offensive possessions.

But it was only a matter of time before Nixon showcased his state-title speed as he sprinted 83 yards for Cimarron’s second score on the Spartans' first offensive play in the second quarter to put the Spartans back on top 13-7.

Nixon finished the game with 254 yards on 22 carries. He has rushed for nearly 1,350 yards on the season.

“Stephen is a great trackster that is also a great football player,” Vollan said about his star back. “He is a special talent and he plays hard.”

Cimarron would cling to that 13-7 lead for the rest of the game as the second half turned into a punting clinic. Both teams combined for 13 punts throughout the night, with a total of seven in the second half.

Although neither team could gain much positive yardage in the second half, Legacy had one final shot to pull off the comeback when Longhorns lineman Anthony White recovered a Kenneth Banks fumble on the Cimarron 46-yard line with just 1:28 left in the game.

Unable to gain any significant yards on the ground, Legacy decided to go through the air on third down. But Cimarron cornerback Timothy Hasson picked off Banks’ third-down pass to seal the victory and a spot in the playoffs.

Neither team completed a single pass all night.

“It wasn’t pretty, but boy it was sure a nice one to get,” Vollan said.

With Friday’s victory, Cimarron will have a chance to earn the second playoff seeding behind Palo Verde (9-0, 6-0) if it can knock off Cheyenne (8-1, 5-1) on Thursday.

“We knew seeding depended on this game and we found a way to pull it out,” Nixon said.

Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected].

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