On a night that proved to be more than a little chippy, and a night in which La Cueva was noticeably short-handed, D’Andre Williams was a welcome tonic for the Bears.
The senior running back gained 195 yards on 28 carries and scored four touchdowns as La Cueva celebrated homecoming and remained unbeaten with a 43-14 victory over Cibola on Thursday night at Wilson Stadium.
Williams rushed for three scores and also took a short pass 20 yards for another TD for La Cueva (4-0), which pulled away gradually from the stingy Cougars (3-1).
“We got it together, and we knew what we had to do,” said Williams. “Our execution was a lot better for sure.”
Cibola hung tough for the first three quarters. The Cougars struck first, going 80 yards on 10 plays on the game’s opening drive. Marcus Martinez caught a 9-yard TD pass from quarterback Marcus Steele. That was the first touchdown surrendered by the La Cueva defense since the season opener against Volcano Vista.
La Cueva responded by going 70 yards in 11 plays, with Williams capping it with a 2-yard run. But the Bears botched the PAT.
Dylan Summer threw a 1-yard TD pass to Connor O’Toole for La Cueva for a 13-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter, but Cibola dug into its back of tricks later in the quarter.
On a first down from the La Cueva 18, Steele threw an overhand lateral to wide receiver Nathaniel Manzanares, and Manzanares threw back across the field to Steele, who scored a touchdown. It was Manzanares’ second TD pass this season. With this PAT, Cibola led 14-13.
The Bears scored 10 points in the final 50 seconds of the half, however.
Summer threw a short pass to Williams, who did most of the work for a touchdown. After La Cueva pinned and then stopped Cibola on the next series, and used its three timeouts judiciously, the Bears forced a punt and took over at the Cibola 42. That led to Dominic Camacho’s 39-yard field goal as time expired in the half.
Summer and Prince Robertson hooked up on a 33-yard TD on the first drive of the third quarter for a 29-14 lead. La Cueva receivers repeatedly turned short throws by Summer into big yardage in this game with terrific work after the catch.
“We worked a lot on tackling and run after catch this week,” La Cueva coach Brandon Back said. “That was a big focus for us.”
The Bears’ vaunted defense was not at 100 percent; inside linebacker Fred Mady III, probably that unit’s best player, missed Thursday’s game, though he is expected back next week for a road game at Rio Rancho.
Also, La Cueva was hit with a whopping 17 penalties for 153 yards – 115 of that amount came after halftime.
– James Yodice
_Agate”>First downs: C 13; LC 24. Rushes-yards; C 33-95; LC 35-198. Passing: C 8-19-1 – 114; LC 20-32-1 – 296. Total offense: C 209; LC 494. Punts-avg.: C 6-33.8; LC 1-45.0. Fumbles-lost: C 2-1; LC 1-1. Penalties-yards: C 6-42; LC 17-153.
ALBUQUERQUE HIGH 28, DEL NORTE 27: At Milne Stadium and trailing the Knights by seven in the final minute, Savion Andrews of AHS scored on a short touchdown run with 28 seconds remaining, and Anthone Stevens threw a 2-point conversion pass to Dominic Mesgale as the Bulldogs (2-1) won a wild, back-and-forth contest against the winless Knights (0-4).
Del Norte had overcome deficit of 14-0 and 20-7 to assume a 27-20 lead with 2½ minutes remaining in the game.
AHS converted two fourth downs on its game-winning drive, including completing a screen pass on a fourth-and-17, and also hit a pass on a third and long to get the Bulldogs inside the Del Norte 10 to set up the final points.