In a sentimental moment before Rio Rancho’s High School football game last Friday, the Rams handed a football bearing a “get well” message for the visiting Organ Mountain Knights, who have been agonizing after one of their senior two-way players. Abraham Romero was critically injured in a game earlier this season. This game “is about more than football,” Rams senior Chris Montoya Jr. said before the coin flip. (Herron photo)



No. 1 Cleveland High returns home for the second time in five weeks Friday, when Class 5A powerhouse Artesia visits Lightning Bolt Stadium at 7 p.m.

It’s the annual Stormcoming game, but don’t expect the CHS players to be distracted. They know the Bulldogs are a good team. But, then again, Cleveland is 10-1 all-time in Stormcoming contests, winning the last 10 and scoring 35 or more points in each of the last six – and that includes a 49-14 verdict over Artesia in 2018.

Last Saturday, the Storm (3-1) ripped host Las Cruces 46-3 at the Field of Dreams. Senior quarterback Evan Wysong accounted for four touchdowns – two throwing and two running. Josh Perry scored two rushing TDs and Harris Momeh added one, and Andres Arminian and Karter Weddle each caught a TD pass.

No. 3 Artesia (3-1) has out-scored its last two opponents, Belen and Deming, 101-7, but split its first two games of the season vs. 6A teams.

The Bulldogs opened with a 30-27 victory over visiting Carlsbad, then lost the next week at Hobbs, 69-48.

Cleveland is 5-0 all-time vs. the Bulldogs, scoring 42 or more points in every meeting, including a 70-29 rout at the Bulldog Bowl last season.  Cleveland is 2-0 at home vs. Artesia, and 3-0 in Artesia. Artesia ultimately got to the 2021 5A championship game, which the ’Dogs lost, 40-28, at Los Lunas.

Rio Rancho will be underdog, and without Nelson

Fourth-ranked and unbeaten Hobbs (4-0) won’t be overlooking the visiting Rams (3-1) Friday night.

But the Rams will be without their top receiving threat, senior Mikey Wood – who told the Observer Friday night he hopes to return in six weeks from a broken left collarbone – and starting quarterback Noah Nelson — who went down with an apparent right knee injury after a 13-yard gallop for a first down in the third quarter Friday of the Rams’ 20-13 victory over Organ Mountain.

Hobbs has been lighting up the scoreboard so far – 46-7 over Clovis, 69-48 over Artesia, 51-7 at Roswell and 57-26 last week at Lovington.

The Rams’ defense has been stingy for the past three weeks, seeing its nine-quarter streak of not giving up a TD end vs. the Knights

It’s been 13 years since the Eagles faced the Rams, and RRHS fans would like to forget about that one – a 56-43 Hobbs win at RRHS in the 2009 quarterfinals. Before that, the Rams won their first meeting with the Eagles, 28-21, in a first-round playoff game in Hobbs, and then beat Hobbs in its next game, 24-20, at RRHS.

RAMifications: Oddly, it may seem, for the second time this season, the Rams dropped one spot in the MaxPreps ranking after a win, and the team they beat moved up one spot. The Rams are now No. 6.

… After an injury to New York jets offensive tackle Duane Brown, former RRHS offensive lineman Grant Hermanns was added to the active roster before Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens, 24-9. When he gets into an NFL game, he’ll be only the second Ram all-time to play in the NFL. Current assistant coach Chris Williams was the first.