By Mark Smith and Ed Nunez
NOTE: More to come this week about the Eagles’ star quarterback Gabe Smith and Thursday night’s game at Wilson Stadium between the Storm and Eagles.
It’s pretty tough to call a week 3 matchup the game of the year.
So let’s just say it’s probably the game of the year so far.
And possibly the future, as well.On Thursday (Sept. 6) at Wilson Stadium, Eldorado plays host to Cleveland in what could very well be a preview of the 6A state football championship game.
Both teams enter the nondistrict contest at 2-0, and have been very impressive.
“It’s a short turnaround, but and is a very big game,” said Eldorado coach Charlie Dotson. “But our guys understand that this is a 10-or-11 week season, and the regular season is just the first step.
“I was really impressed with how our players responded after the win in Las Cruces. Of course, they were happy, but there was not a big celebration. They know there are a lot of big games down the road.”
Eldorado blasted West Mesa 43-3 in its season opener, then won 70-42 at Las Cruces on Friday behind quarterback Gabe Smith, who accounted for a combined nine touchdowns.
Smith threw four touchdowns, ran for five and had nearly 650 yards total offense.
(More to come about Smith this week).
After opening the season with a 51-0 destruction of Onate in Las Cruces, Cleveland returned home to take on El Paso Franklin in a long affair.
“Lightning Bolt Stadium,” was the setting on Friday night, and it lived up to its name.
The opening kickoff was delayed 1 hour, 38 minutes because of lightening.
The top-ranked Storm got the game’s first score on 2-yard TD run by junior running back Dorian Lewis, who transferred from El Paso.
It was the first of four touchdowns for Lewis, whose deliberate style of running behind an effective offensive line, usually leads to positive yardage and big plays.
Lewis followed that up with a 40 yard touchdown run.
Franklin answered with successive touchdowns. The first was a 1-yard run by senior James McClain-Green. Senior running back Taj Crenshaw (who rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries) scored on a 7-yard run to make it 14-14. all.
Cleveland answered with a 35-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jeff Davison to Lewis. The drive was aided by a dead ball penalty against the Cougars, who had stopped the Storm until the flag.
Cleveland led 21-14 at the half, but the Cougars tied it again with the second touchdown from McClain-Green, this time on a 35-yard run.
But Lewis scored his fourth touchdown on a 14-yard touchdown run and quarterback Jeff Davison scored on a beautifully executed read-option run for 45 yards. Lewis rushed for 215 yards. Cleveland sophomore wide receiver/safety Tre Watson, and senior linebacker, Dion Hunter (6-3, 218 pounds) were also impressive.
Franklin is a well respected Texas football team with a lot of offensive and defensive stars. The Storm are 35- 4 since 2015 under coach Heath Ridenour.
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