Cleveland’s Friday night star Karter Weddle (7) puts on the brakes to avoid a tackle during the first half Friday night at Lightning Bolt Stadium, where he scored four TDs, but didn’t play the second half after a suffering possible broken hand. Teammates Isaac Medrano (9) and A.J. Manning (31) are blocking for Weddle. (Joe Grimando photo)
One week after incurring setbacks to teams from Texas, the City of Vision’s varsity football teams beat up on a pair of Las Cruces teams.
Heading into the midpoint of the regular season on Friday, the Cleveland Storm and Rio Rancho Rams each have 3-1 records.
Cleveland 42, Las Cruces 13: The No. 1 Storm were back on track, with sophomore quarterback Jordan Hatch, who sat out the previous week, completing 5 of his first 6 passes, with two going for 62 and 34 yards for touchdowns to senior Karter Weddle.
After the Bulldawgs (0-4) opened the scoring on a 15-yard run by Daniel Amaro, Weddle’s TD catches preceded his 67- and 46-yard punt returns for scores, as the Storm took a 28-6 lead.
A mere 20 seconds after Weddle’s second punt return, Jaden Davis took the snap from center and raced 28 yards to the end zone.
Hatch’s third TD pass of the first half covered 10 yards and went to Marcus La Cuesta, and with six PATs by Miguel Quinones, CHS led 42-6 at halftime.
Defensive coordinator Eddie Kilmer’s unit didn’t allow a third-down conversion in the first half while giving up just 78 yards and the first-possession score.
By halftime, with Weddle’s four TDs, the outcome wasn’t in doubt.
Cleveland senior Stratton Shufelt, the state’s most-recruited player as three-time All-State linebacker, left the field with 8:43 left in the opening quarter, injuring his right leg after catching a pass that covered zero yards. He told the Observer he’d “be “good” this week, a blessing for the defending champs.
After a scoreless third period, played with a running clock due to the Storm’s massive lead, the Bulldawgs closed out the scoring on a 40- yard TD pass from Gunnar Guardiola to Nate Libby, following a CHS fumble, the Storm’s lone turnover of the game.
Although Shufelt said he’ll be back to play this week, Weddle may have broken his left wrist on the final play of the first half, a ‘Dawgs punt in which he said he tried to split two defenders.
“I just landed on it wrong,” Weddle said. “I’ve broken a couple bones before, so I knew it immediately.”
Weddle spread credit around: “I’ve never had a game like this, but all the credit goes to my O line and my quarterback and my coaching staff for believing in me, and letting me be able to put myself in those positions to go succeed and having the faith in me.”
“The injury bug‘s just got us the past couple weeks. We keep throwing the next guy out there and hope it gets done,” CHS coach Robert Garza said. “It’s very unfortunate we’ve lost some big key players the past couple weeks, but that’s giving some guys some opportunities.”
The Storm head to Artesia (4-0) for a battle of No. 1s Friday night; Artesia is tops in 5A, the Storm are 6A’s No. 1 team.
The Storm are 6-0 all-time vs. Artesia, last year’s 5A champs. In all six of those wins, the Storm have scored at least 42 points – and 61 points in last season’s meeting at Lightning Bolt Stadium. The Bulldogs (4-0) have two wins this season vs. 6A foes, Carlsbad and Hobbs.
“They’re a really good football team,” Garza said. “They’re good at what they do, and we better be ready to roll.”
Rio Rancho 34, Organ Mountain 7: At the Field of Dreams Saturday, the Rams improved to 8-0 all-time vs. the Knights, senior quarterback Noah Nelson tossed three touchdown passes to Anthony Raymer and ran for a score; Rayce Ramirez scored a rushing TD in the rout.
Coach Nate Pino said the Rams had a balanced offensive attack, and junior QB J.J. Ramirez “played three or four series.”
The Rams are home Friday evening at 7 for their Homecoming game vs. Hobbs (1-3). Homecoming games have been very good for the Rams, who are 19-4 all-time in the big game. The Rams are 2-2 all-time vs. the Eagles, who beat them 30-20 last season at Hobbs. MaxPreps ranks the Rams eighth in 6A, with Hobbs at No. 9.