To virtually nobody’s surprise, after their thrilling meeting on Oct. 29 at Rio Rancho Stadium — a 28-27 Storm victory — Cleveland and Rio Rancho high schools were seeded 1-2 for the Class 6A football playoffs.
The top four seeds automatically received byes for the first round, giving them an extra week of practice and time for hurts to heal.
If the Storm (10-0) and Rams (7-1) continue their impressive runs through the state’s non-Rio Rancho teams, they’ll meet at Cleveland’s Lightning Bolt Stadium the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 27 — almost two years to the day they met at Rio Rancho Stadium, where the Storm won the blue trophy after a memorable 48-40 triumph.
Here are the teams on the Storm’s side of the bracket:
Cleveland will host No. 8 seed Hobbs (6-5) in the 6A quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Saturday. Hobbs beat ninth-seeded Eldorado 36-2 in the first round.
Fifth-seeded Las Cruces (6-4) beat No. 12 seed Clovis 42-7 in the first round. LCHS will face No. 4 seed Centennial in the 6A quarterfinals 7 p.m. Friday at the Field of Dreams in Las Cruces.
The Storm opened the season with a 49-21 win at Centennial and later rolled to a 42-7 victory over visiting Las Cruces.
Here are the teams on the Rams’ side of the bracket:
Rio Rancho will host No. 7 seed Cibola (6-5) in the 6A quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday. Cibola defeated No. 10 seed Sandia 41-15 in the first round.
La Cueva, the No. 3 seed, will face No. 6 seed Volcano Vista (7-4) in the 6A quarterfinals 7 p.m. Friday at Wilson Stadium. VVHS defeated No. 11 seed Carlsbad 49-17 in the first round.
The Rams have faced four of the teams on their half, with a 50-0 win at La Cueva, a 57-5 romp at Volcano Vista, a 50-0 pasting of Carlsbad in Portales and a 65-35 Homecoming verdict over Cibola.
With their 2021 1-6A crown, the Storm have won three of the last four district championships and seven altogether, plus three state titles (2011, 2015, 2019). The Rams, with eight district titles, won state championships in 2014 and 2016.
All-District rosters released
Receiving all-district accolades for the Storm are: (first team) Brayden Ford, Max Gillert, Sawyer Jones, Jose Maez, Michael ortiz, Charles Sanchez, Devonte Shendo, Stratton Shufelt, Nic Trujillo, Kendal Ulmer, Aidan Valdez, Dominic Vasquez and Evan Wysong. On the second team are Lucious Dickson, Ethan Duran, Blaize Hess and Wysong (as a kicker). Receiving honorable mention are Jadin Jacquez, Josiah Hernandez and Isaac Medrano.
Receiving all-district accolades for the Rams are: (first team) Carlos Archuleta, Chris Fox, Nathan Hontanosas, Lucas Lucero, Chris Montoya, Adrian McNeely, Isaiah Padilla, Dominick Priddy, Cayden Romero, Tristan Trujillo, Zach Vigil and Mikey Wood. Named to the second team are Dominic Priddy (at punter), Devin Rice, Vascon Smith and Marcus Wright.
Honorable mention recipients are Wesley Smith, Javas Maria and Fabian Valdez.
Vigil was named the district’s Player of the Year, Wysong was tabbed as the Offensive Player of the Year and Storm head coach Heath Ridenour was named the Coach ot the Year, a near-sweep for City of Vision teams. Tyler Martinez of Volcano Vista was honored as the Defensive Player of the Year.
Vigil, Romero to be Lobos
Vigil was recently offered a scholarship by the University of New Mexico to play for the Lobos, and he told a local radio station during an on-air interview Thursday morning that UNM was interested in him as a running back, although he’d be happy to be a slot receiver, as former Storm standout Luke Wysong is doing in this, his freshman season. “Wherever they need me, I’m ready to go,” Vigil said.
Romero was also offered a scholarship by UNM, and Vigil touted the Rams’ offensive lineman as “the main guy I run behind.”