Panthers fall into deep hole early and lose 49-14
FARMINGTON – The Piedra Vista football team had no answer for District 1-6A foe and New Mexico football juggernaut Cleveland.
The Storm offense went off, whereas the Panther offense was stagnant, resulting in a 49-14 Cleveland victory tonight at Hutchison Stadium.
"You want to stretch the field vertically and horizontally as much as you can. When you do that, you're going to open up cavities to run the ball, throw the ball and do some different things," Storm coach Heath Ridenour said. "We want to be diverse. Everybody contributes."
Cleveland’s backfield found plenty of openings left and right, while its wideouts did damage largely attacking the inside creases.
Storm wideout Justin Ainsworth drew first blood, scoring twice in the first five minutes and seven seconds of regulation. He crossed the goal line on a 24-yard touchdown reception up the middle, followed by a 19-yard score in the right corner.
As the game progressed, Cleveland kept targeting the middle lanes and proceeded down the field that way.
Meanwhile, PV had a rough night.
Panthers quarterback Cameron Schwartz fired a pass to midfield in front of the PV sideline, only to have it be picked off by Storm free safety Jesse Gonzales.
The Panthers were desperate to get something going on offense, even trying to throw the ball off a fake punt during the first quarter. That pass was deflected.
"It was pretty frustrating, honestly. We could've done better," PV wide receiver Christian Chavez said.
The Panthers endured numerous incomplete passes and botched plays, all while being flagged for things like holding and jumping offside multiple times.
"Penalties just killed our drives," Chavez said.
PV eventually got on the board during the third quarter when Chavez took it to the house on a 99-yard kick return score.
"I'd see my teammates blocking for me, and I hit that hole. I just took off," Chavez said.
Chavez later scored on a 22-yard touchdown reception, but it was already too late.
Piedra Vista (4-4, 1-1) will play at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 at Volcano Vista, while Cleveland (8-1, 3-0) will have its bye week that same night.
Friday's local prep football scores
Farmington 61, Aztec 18
Cleveland 49, Piedra Vista 14
Newcomb 40, Cobre 20
Navajo Prep 24, Thoreau 8
Bloomfield 45, Gallup 0
Miyamura 46, Kirtland Central 23
Shiprock-Wingate game moved to Saturday
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577. Hannah Grover contributed to this story.