By JAMES YODICE
Albuquerque Journal sports write
Two great quarters of offense, four stellar quarters of defense, and a thoroughly impressive performance by Class 6A’s No. 1-ranked high school football team.
Volcano Vista spotted second-ranked Cleveland an early lead, but the Hawks and their fantastic defense shut the Storm out over the final 42 minutes on Friday night. That defense, a big-play running attack and the throwing of Diego Pavia added up to a 35-7 thrashing of Cleveland at Nusenda Community Stadium.
Volcano Vista (8-0, 3-0 in District 1-6A) had its outstanding defense on the field to start the game.
But Cleveland (6-2, 2-1) went 61 yards in 11 plays to strike first, converting two fourth downs along the way. The second of those was a 9-yard touchdown pass from Trey Ortega — subbing again for the injured Jeff Davison — to 6-foot-5 junior receiver Tre Watson, who returned Friday after breaking his arm on the first play of the season.
The Hawks needed four plays to tie the game.
Isaac Chavez — who was Volcano Vista’s best offensive weapon and who set up multiple scores without actually getting in the end zone himself — reeled off a 51-yard run to put the Hawks at the Cleveland 3. Two plays later, QB Diego Pavia scored on a sneak.
The second quarter belonged to the Hawks.
After a punt, they went 88 yards on six rushing plays. Chavez had an 82-yard run that almost resulted in a touchdown. Instead he was tackled at the 2. On a fourth down four plays later, Gallegos lined up deep, took a handoff, ran over a Storm defender at the 2, and crashed into the end zone for a 14-7 lead.
The defense forced punts on Cleveland’s next two possessions and then tacked on two more scores before halftime. Pavia threw a pretty 26-yard TD pass to Ivan Rodriguez, and Gallegos added another 1-yard score with 1:37 left in the second quarter.
“We couldn’t handle the onslaught that happened,” Storm coach Heath Ridenour said. “We lost the one-on-one battles in the front.”
Chavez finished with 187 yards of total offense in the first half. He rushed for 152 yards on just eight carries.
Pavia was 5-of-6 for 111 yards in the first half.
Cleveland senior running back Dorian Lewis was a nonfactor. He was held to 58 yards on 22 attempts.