There will be time yet to chat about the impending Rio Rancho-Cleveland matchup – which is less than three weeks away, on Oct. 29 – but today seems an appropriate time to remark on the remarkable DNA of the Wysong brothers from Rio Rancho.
Luke Wysong was the Journal’s choice for overall Metro Athlete of the Year in the spring, and he was clearly New Mexico’s best high school football player a few months back, with due respect to the rest. And now, Luke already is making contributions as a freshman with the UNM Lobos.
Little brother Evan is the starting quarterback at No. 1-ranked Cleveland, and the junior plays as if he is determined to eclipse Luke. Evan enjoyed the most robust evening of his prep career Friday night, running for four touchdowns and throwing for three others in a 56-12 victory over Cibola. Wysong threw for 161 yards and ran for 180, most of those yards in the decisive first half.
Storm coach Heath Ridenour, a former quarterback, talked after the game about Wysong’s progress and prowess and where he still has room to grow more naturally into the position.
“Evan is an athlete, and he thinks like an athlete,” Ridenour said. “We have to get him thinking like a quarterback, make him look at film like a quarterback, make him look at reads like a quarterback. Instead of just who’s open, (have him) look at what the defense is giving. We just have to get his eyes and brain working like a quarterback.”
Translation: The best from Evan Wysong, who just accounted for seven touchdowns in a game against a top-five program in Cibola and was simply spectacular, is yet to come.
CRAZY FINISH: Two teams that earned crucial victories Friday night were Silver and Mayfield.
Possibly the most exciting finish of Week 8 was the one that occurred in Los Lunas, where Taos beat Silver 13-12 in double overtime in a Class 4A matchup. This was supposed to be a Taos home game, but eventually the schools settled on Los Lunas as a neutral site seeing as how Los Lunas was on its bye week.
The Colts blocked a Taos field goal late in the fourth quarter to force OT at 6-all. Both teams had goal-line stands in the first overtime, although Silver’s stop came after it blocked a field goal. A penalty on that play helped convince Taos coach Art Abreu to go for a touchdown on fourth down instead, but the Tigers were stopped.
In the second OT, Taos’ Favian Cordova caught a touchdown pass and the Tigers kicked the PAT for a 13-6 lead. Silver scored on the first play of its possession and then went for 2 points and the win. But the pass was incomplete.
The Tigers (3-4), the 2018 4A state champion, are finding their form over the last few weeks. They have recent victories over Bernalillo and now Silver, and had a terrific chance to upset St. Pius on Sept. 11 in Albuquerque before a late sequence went sour and the Sartans won 40-28.
This district, 2-4A, seems at the moment to be headed for a final-week showdown between Taos and Moriarty.
“Our tough schedule at the beginning is worth it,” Abreu said. “We have such a young group, so most of these kids haven’t played. Just teaching them how to line up and operate in a system has taken a little bit of time.”
For Mayfield, a 20-13 win Friday night at the Field of Dreams over Goddard was easily the Trojans’ best win of the season. And it was timely, because Mayfield was coming off a bruising three-game losing streak against Centennial, Las Cruces and Roswell.
The Trojans (3-4) scored a late touchdown to overcome the Rockets on Friday.
NOT FROZEN, STILL GREAT: Eldorado coach Charlie Dotson last weekend traveled to Wisconsin to watch his beloved Packers play the Steelers at Lambeau Field. Dotson is from Iowa, but Green Bay has long been his NFL team.
It was his first trip back to Lambeau as an adult.
“It was awesome,” Dotson said. “The fan experience is awesome.”
Dotson and Eagles boys basketball coach Roy Sanchez, a diehard Steelers fan, got game tickets from current Pittsburgh tight end Zach Gentry, who played for Dotson (and Sanchez) at Eldorado.
Gentry even caught a pass in Green Bay’s 27-17 victory, for 10 yards. It was an emotional moment for Dotson to witness.
“I just stood up and screamed,” he said. “Just a great experience.”
Dotson and Sanchez got to catch up with Gentry at the Pittsburgh team hotel the night before the game.
And while Green Bay’s legendary playing surface was a bit damp from rain, the northern Wisconsin weather largely cooperated.
Dotson reiterated what many people who have seen games in person at at Lambeau Field say: If you’re a football fan, traveling to Lambeau is a must-do trip at least once in your life.
“You have to go up there to experience it,” Dotson said. “It’s just football at its finest.”
THIS AND THAT: Jal’s 40-38 victory on Friday over Eunice, a matchup featuring the top two teams in Class 2A, was the first win for the Panthers over the Cardinals in 15 years. But that doesn’t even remotely explain how extremely one-sided this rivalry has been in Eunice’s favor since 2007. The Cardinals not only had beaten Jal 14 straight times, including 34-21 in the spring of 2021, but the Cardinals’ average margin of victory in those 14 games was 35 points. Eunice outscored Jal 593-103 in those 14 victories. The last Jal win in this rivalry, before Friday, was 12-7 in 2006. … The Week 9 slate begins with a bang on Thursday night, and with three crucial games in the metro area: Volcano Vista-Cleveland in a first-place game in 1-6A at Community Stadium, Sandia-Eldorado in a battle for second place in 2-6A at Wilson Stadium, and Valencia-St. Pius in a 5/6-4A matchup at Milne Stadium.