Senior quarterback Austin Smith threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns — two of them long scores — and Tyler Jenson had an 80-yard scoring run on La Cueva’s first offensive snap as Class 6A’s fourth-ranked Bears beat Sandia 45-14 on Friday night at Wilson Stadium.
La Cueva (7-2, 3-0 in 2/5-6A) will play host to No. 5 Clovis (6-3, 3-0) for the district title next Friday at Wilson Stadium.
But, the Bears won’t have head coach Brandon Back. Back drew consecutive unsportsmanlike conduct penalties early in the third quarter and was ejected with La Cueva leading 35-7.
“We won, that’s the only headline,” Back said later via a text message.
Smith was 16-of-25 in the victory. He threw three TD passes in a 21-point second quarter: 60 yards and 6 yards to Brad Thomas, and 64 yards to Tristan Altier.
“We had a really good bye week, and we were focused,” Smith said. “I feel like we did everything we needed to do tonight.”
La Cueva built an early 14-0 lead on Jenson’s run and a 21-yard fumble return for a score by Dawson Burton.
Sandia’s star senior running back, LeShawn Joseph, did not play and was in street clothes with a foot injury for the Matadors (3-6, 1-2).
— James Yodice
CLEVELAND 50, WEST MESA 0: In Rio Rancho, Dorian Lewis and Isaiah Salazar each scored two rushing touchdowns, quarterback Trey Ortega threw two TD passes and Colten Madison scored a 1-yard rushing TD as the sixth-ranked Storm got its third shutout of the season.
Cleveland (7-2, 3-1 in District 1-6A) scored touchdowns on its first three possessions. In the second quarter, Ortega connected with Lewis on a short pass, Madison scored to cap a short scoring drive and Tre Watson battled a Mustangs defender at the goal line for what turned out to be a 38-yard scoring reception. Cleveland led 44-0 at halftime against the Mustangs (1-8, 0-4), who were limited to 3 yards of offense in the first half.
— Gary Herron
BELEN 41, VALENCIA 0: In Belen, the Eagles routed the Jaguars behind three touchdowns from running back Anthony Roybal, as Belen (3-6, 2-0) now preps for a District 5-5A championship game next Saturday in Los Lunas (7-2, 2-0). The Tigers dusted Valley 60-7 on Friday.
In the second quarter, the Eagles turned to Roybal to get things going, and the junior running back delivered with touchdown runs on consecutive drives. Roybal had the biggest highlight of the game with a 77-yard touchdown run that made it 28-0 with 1:44 left in the third quarter.
— Cameron Goeldner
ALSO FRIDAY: Del Norte (3-6, 1-1) earned a crucial road victory, 25-22 at Santa Fe (4-5, 1-1) to keep the Knights’ District 2/6-5A playoff hopes going. … Goddard (8-1, 2-0 in 4-5A) spotted Artesia (5-4, 0-2) the first 14 points at Bulldog Bowl, but rallied for a 46-34 victory. … Johnny Terrazas had three touchdowns for Las Cruces (7-2, 5-0 in 3-6A) in a 28-14 victory over Carlsbad. … Mayfield (6-2, 4-1 in 3-6A) trailed Hobbs 7-3 at halftime, but came back on the road to beat the Eagles 24-14. … At Milne Stadium, Piedra Vista (7-2, 2-0 in 1-5A) rolled to a 46-6 victory over Highland (5-4, 0-2). … At Nusenda Community Stadium, Cibola (5-4, 2-2 in 1-6A) routed winless Atrisco Heritage (0-8, 0-4), 44-23. … Bloomfield remained perfect as the Bobcats (9-0, 2-0 in 1-4A) beat Kirtland Central (4-4, 1-1) 40-14. … Menaul also is still undefeated as the Panthers (8-0, 3-0 in District 2) shut out Magdalena 50-0 in 8-Man action. The 8-Man state bracket will be announced on Saturday night.
LA CUEVA 45, SANDIA 14
La Cueva 14 21 10 0 — 45
Sandia 7 0 0 7 — 14
Scoring: LC, Tyler Jenson 80 run (Dominic Camacho kick); LC, Dawson Burton 21 fumble return (Camacho kick); S, Malachai Thymes 20 run (Gabe O’Herron-Alex kick); LC, Brad Thomas 60 pass from Austin Smith (Camacho kick); LC, Tristan Altier 64 pass from Smith (Camacho kick); LC, Thomas 6 pass from Smith (Camacho kick); LC, Camacho 41 FG; LC, Smith 11 run (Camacho kick); S, Junior Silva 1 run (O’Herron-Alex kick). Records: LC 7-2, 3-0 in 2/5-6A; S 3-6, 1-2.