The Cleveland Storm showed little mercy in their season opener, rolling past visiting Manzano 53-0 in a game ended after two quarters under the state’s mercy rule."
Under New Mexico rules, any team that has a margin of 50 points or greater at halftime is declared the winner. The game is played with a unning clock when any team gets a lead of 35 points or greater.
The Storm locked up the game with seven seconds left in the second quarter when receiver Marcus Williams made a diving catch in the end zone. The last score came after the storm blocked a Manzano punt in the final minute of the half.
There was little doubt of which team would win from the outset. After taking the opening kickoff at its own 25, the Storm needed just three plays to score their initial touchdown on a 65-yard run by quarterback Gabe Ortega. The two-point conversion run gave the Storm an 8-0 led just 41 seconds into the game.
The Storm held and regained possession deep in their own territory after a penalty. Williams circus catch got Cleveland out of the hole, but the drive stalled and the Storm had to settle for a 40 yard field goal three minutes later.
After a Manzano fumble, Williams made another leaping catch in the back right corner of the end zone and the rout was on. The score was 26-0 after one quarter.
Unofficially Manzano had just one first down in the game.
The third-ranked Storm plays at El Paso Del Valle next Friday.
Earlier Friday, defending state champion Rio Rancho High defeated
Valley 42-12 in a game played at Community Stadium in Albuquerque.