On paper, last week’s Foothills League opener between the Pueblo West Cyclones and the Widefield Gladiators looked like a major mismatch.
They Cyclones offensive line overpowered the ‘Glads small and inexperienced defensive line, and West’s speedy backs were too much for the Widefield linebackers and secondary.
When the dust finally settled, the Cyclones came away with a 39-21 win.
The Cyclones (3-1, 1-0), piled up 486 yards rushing on 57 carries. Junior fullback Kaden Wills had another monster night, rushing for 238 yards on 22 carries (10.8 yards per carry).
Wills scored the “hat trick”, getting to the end zone three times, including an electrifying 50 yard touchdown run on the Cyclones first possession.
Senior Quarterback Zac Drury also scored three times, on runs of 24, 7 and 4 yards.
On the night, Drury rushed for 95 yards on 11 carries (8.6 yards per carry).
The Cyclones third victory came with a price, however, as sophomore Shane Larson went down with a serious leg injury. Larson’s absence will be felt in all phases of the Cyclones game.
The speedy tailback was emerging as a triple-threat, lining up at several different positions on offense, shoring up one corner on defense, and returning kicks.
Fortunately the Cyclones tradition includes building depth at all positions—especially at running back. The “next men up”, sophomore Carter Ortiz, and junior Cameron Vaughan, were certainly up to the task. Ortiz came in for Larson in the first quarter and carried the ball nine times for 62 yards. Vaughan chalked up 63 yards on 12 carries.
It is starting to sound like a broken record, but seven game balls have to go to the offensive line again this week. The Cyclones moving crew of Cody Ortiz, Keith Hed, Andrew Jones, Malik Jones, Josh Medeiros, Daniel Hernandez and Dean Thompson had another outstanding game.
As good as the Cyclones offense has been, they continue to stop themselves with turnovers and penalties. It is almost scary to think of the scores they can put up if they are able to take care of the ball and avoid the mental mistakes.
By Pueblo West’s standards, the overall defensive effort was below average.
The Cyclones defenders fully expected to pitch another shutout, especially since Widefield had not scored any points in its first = three games.
But the Gladiators’ new head coach, Brent Cottrell, challenged his team to show that they belonged on the field, and they responded by making three big plays for touchdowns (two passing and one running).
For the record, the Cyclones ‘D yielded only 56 yards rushing and 43 yards passing on the other 32 plays ran by the Gladiators. Game balls also go to linebackers Brandon Summer and Brandon Firkins for smothering the ‘Glads backs all night.
The Cyclones, ranked No. 7 in Class 4A, square off against the Cheyenne Mountain Indians this Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at Pueblo West High School. The Indians (1-3, 0-1) are coming off a 35-6 loss to Pueblo Centennial. The Cyclones hope to have senior tailback Kamron Clough and Kicker Willian Dos Santos back on the field this week.
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