The heavyweight bout at Wilson Stadium on Friday night ended in a first-round knockout.
La Cueva’s third-ranked football team landed all the big blows and sent the fans home early after a 45-3 romp over visiting Las Cruces. The Bears’ defense limited the Bulldawgs to 130 total yards, and La Cueva’s one-two punch of running back De’Andre Williams and quarterback Austin Smith turned the contest into a surprising rout.
Williams rushed for 93 yards and three touchdowns, and he caught two passes for 106 yards and another score. Smith, starting in place of injured senior Dylan Summer, went 10-of-16 passing for 254 yards and two TDs and ran in the Bears’ final score.
Summer was in uniform and warmed up prior to the game but was not 100 percent after landing on his throwing shoulder last week against Valley, La Cueva coach Brandon Back said.
“We just felt like it wasn’t a good risk to send Dylan out there in Week 3,” Back said. “Besides, I always like having baseball players like Austin out there. They’ve been to the plate in big situations, and I thought Austin played with some swagger.”
La Cueva’s defense wasted no time setting the tone Friday. On the third play from scrimmage, Bears linebacker Noah Woisin picked off a pass from Las Cruces quarterback Marcos Lopez on the Bulldawgs’ 32.
Smith hit Connor O’Toole with a touchdown pass down the left sideline on the very next play.
The Bears’ defense quickly forced another Las Cruces three-and-out and a poor punt gave La Cueva possession at the Bulldawgs’ 26. Williams capped a short drive with a 9-yard TD run to make it 14-0.
La Cueva’s third possession started on Las Cruces’ 42 and ended with a Dominic Camacho field goal. The Bears did not run a play in their own territory in the opening quarter and took a 17-0 advantage to the second.
“That’s one thing La Cueva teams have always done well, play defense,” Back said. “We’ve got some new guys who are still learning on that side of the ball, but they stood tall and did their jobs tonight.”
Las Cruces, ranked fifth, got on the board with Jorge Figueroa’s 49-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but 17-3 was as close as the ‘Dawgs would get. Williams took a short Smith pass 83 yards for a score, then added a late 8-yard TD run late in the half to give La Cueva a 31-3 cushion.
Williams’ final TD came on a 33-yard run in the third quarter and invoked the 35-point mercy rule and a running clock.
Ivan Molina rushed eight times for 35 yards to lead the Bulldawgs.
LA CUEVA 45, LAS CRUCES 3
Las Cruces 0 3 0 0—3
La Cueva 17 14 7 7—45
1st Downs: LCr 9; LCu 14. Rushing: LCr 30-75; LCu 27-144. Passing: LCr 6-14-1—55; LCu 10-16-0—254. Total Off.: LCr 130; LCu 398. Fumbles-Lost: W none. Punts-Avg.: LCr 5-25.6; LCu 2-35.5. Penalties-Yds.: Lcr 3-23; LCu 5-36.
Scoring: LCu, Connor O’Toole 32 pass from Austin Smith (Dominic Camacho kick); LCu, De’Andre Williams 9 run (Camacho kick); LCu, Camacho 33 field goal; LCr, Jorge Figureroa 49 field goal; LCu, Williams 83 pass from Smith (Camacho kick); LCu, Williams 9 run (Camacho kick); Williams 33 run (Camacho kick); LCu, Smith 2 run (Camacho kick). Rec.: LCu 3-0, LCr 1-2.