Did we mention, Cleveland was without one of its best offensive players?
It feels almost mandatory to mention that, after the top-ranked Storm’s 56-12 demolition of No. 5 Cibola on Friday night at Nusenda Community Stadium.
Josh Perry’s broken collarbone — suffered last week, on the second play of a victory over Atrisco Heritage — will keep the outstanding running back sidelined for an indeterminate amount of time. But you’d hardly have guessed he was absent after the dominant display Cleveland (7-0, 2-0) put on against the Cougars (3-4, 0-2) in this District 1-6A matchup.
Led by junior quarterback Evan Wysong, who accounted for seven of Cleveland’s eight touchdowns, Cleveland rolled up 455 yards of total offense in the first half.
“Stud,” said teammate Nic Trujillo, talking about Wysong. “I’ve played with him since YAFL. I don’t know what else I can say. He’s a stud.”
Wysong rushed for 180 yards and four touchdowns (covering 25, 15, 50 and 33 yards) and threw for three other TDs, two to Trujillo.
Cleveland rushed for 307 yards in the first half. Wysong had 178 yards on nine carries in the first two explosive quarters, which saw the Storm leading 49-12 at intermission.
“Running the ball comes naturally,” said Wysong. “The line up front was outstanding tonight, and huge thanks to them.”
The Storm scored on all seven of its first-half drives.
Wysong threw 35 yards for a touchdown to Trujillo in the first quarter, with TD runs on either side of that score in a 21-point opening quarter.
He added a 50-yarder for a 28-0 lead and Isaac Medrano’s 15-yard scoring run later gave Cleveland a 35-6 lead.
Leading 35-12 after Aden Chavez touchdown passes for Cibola to Marcus Wilson and Nathan Lopez, the Storm scored 14 points in the final minute of the first half.
Wysong’ 33-yard TD run was the most eyebrow-raising of his four running scores. Cibola appeared to have two defenders with an angle. Wysong simply exploded past (and between) both of them, untouched.
“That’s the track sprinter,” Storm coach Heath Ridenour said. “It’s the ‘X’ factor, nobody can coach that. You either have that or you don’t. That’s why we push our kids to do track. Evan is a good example of what track can do for you.”
Cleveland recovered on onsides kick moments later, and Wysong threw a 26-yard TD pass to Trujillo with 22 seconds showing, for two scores within 36 seconds.
The Storm finished with 537 yards of total offense. The Cleveland defense held Cibola to a season-low in points.
“When the game plan really comes together, all three phases, you can’t be anything but pleased with your guys,” said Ridenour, whose team is back at Community Stadium on Thursday against Volcano Vista (5-2, 2-0). “We played with a high motor, and we didn’t let outside factors affect our intensity and our focus.”
Wysong finished 13 of 15 passing for 161 yards.
Cibola, which has been dealing with various injuries to key personnel — particularly after a bruising loss a week ago to Rio Rancho — takes on West Mesa next week.
CLEVELAND 56, CIBOLA 12
Cleveland 21 28 7 0 — 56
Cibola 0 12 0 0 — 12
Scoring: Cle, Evan Wysong 25 run (Wysong kick); Cle, Nick Trujillo 35 pass from Wysong (Wysong kick); Cle, Wysong 15 run (Wysong kick); Cle, Wysong 50 run (Wysong kick); Cib, Marcus Wilson 14 pass from Aden Chavez (kick blocked); Cle, Isaac Medrano 15 run (Wysong kick); Cib, Nathan Lopez 12 pass from Chavez (pass failed); Cle, Wysong 33 run (Wysong kick); Cle, Trujillo 26 pass from Wysong (Wysong kick); Cle, Ethan Duran 9 pass from Wysong (Wysong kick). Records: Cle 7-0, 2-0 in 1-6A; Cib 3-4, 0-2. First downs: Cle 23; Cib 11. Rushes-yards: Cle 37-376; Cib 19-43. Passing: Cle 13-16-0—161; Cib 11-22-0—175. Total offense: Cle 537; Cib 218. Punts-avg.: Cle 1-39.0; Cib 3-23-3. Fumbles-lost: Cle 0-0; Cib 3-1. Penalties-yards: Cle 9-85; Cib 4-30.
ALSO FRIDAY NIGHT: Marco Ybarra had three rushing touchdowns, and Dominic Esparza caught a TD pass and also had one of St. Pius’ four interceptions as the visiting Sartans (5-2, 1-0 in 5/6-4A) got a 35-7 win at Bernalillo (4-4, 0-2). … Albuquerque Academy (7-1, 2-0 in 5/6-4A and ranked No. 4 in Class 4A) went on the road and scored the final 28 points in a 28-8 victory over fifth-ranked Valencia (5-3, 1-1) as Cole Conway unofficially rushed for three touchdowns for the Chargers. … At Milne Stadium, Valley (2-5, 1-1 in 5/6-5A) spotted Highland (1-6, 0-2) the first 10 points, but rallied for an 18-16 victory. … At Wilson Stadium, Eldorado (5-3, 3-1 in 2/5-6A) posted a 35-0 shutout victory over Manzano (1-5, 0-2). … Las Cruces (4-3, 2-0) and Centennial (6-1, 2-0) both posted road victories in District 3/4-6A; the Bulldawgs held on for a 34-28 victory at Hobbs, while the Hawks shut out Carlsbad 35-0. Las Cruces and Centennial meet next weekend. … Belen (5-2, 2-0 in 5/6-5A) beat visiting Del Norte 47-0.