FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: East stumbles big, Cyclones win in rout

#1 Pueblo West (30-0) 40, Mesa Ridge (1-2) 0
Palmer Ridge (3-0) 41, #3 East (1-2) 0
#4 Central (2-0) 50, Mitchell (0-2) 15
#5 County (1-1) 28, Canon City (0-3) 14
Liberty (2-0) 21, Centennial (0-2) 18 (Thurs. night)
Rye (3-0) 35, John Mall (0-2) 0

In what was billed as the “Big Rematch” of last season’s 3A state championship, the East and Palmer Ridge showdown at Dutch Clark Stadium Friday night failed to live up to the billing.

Palmer Ridge, the top-ranked 3A team in the state in the rankings, was dominant in claiming a 41-0 win over East.

It took only one quarter for Palmer Ridge to effectively seal the win, going up 21-0 after the first quarter and going on cruise control the rest of the way.

On the opposite end of town, Pueblo West, the reigning top-ranked team in the latest Pueblo Preps Power Five rankings and 4th-ranked 4A team in the state, handed down a similar beatdown of visiting Mesa Ridge, blanking the Grizzlies 40-0.

The star of the night was quarterback Chandler Mason, who had a near-perfect night by going 10-for-10 for 266 yards and four touchdowns, breaking Pueblo West single-game records. The Cyclones will undoubtedly keep the top spot in the Pueblo Preps Power Five, moving to 3-0 on the season.

At the Hornets’ Nest, County showed off its tailback, senior Jose Handford, who had a coming out party for the hometown crowd at Pueblo County High School.

Handford went for over 150 yards in the win, scoring three touchdowns as County took down Canon City 28-14, giving coach Monte Pinkerton his first win with the Hornets.

Central moved to 2-0 with a road rout of Mitchell, 50-15. It marked the second straight season in which the Wildcats began 2-0 (it actually began 3-0 in 2018), but Central is hoping that back-to-back dominating wins vaults it through its non-league slate and into South-Central League play in October.

And remarkably, Rye has stayed on its historic pace.

The Thunderbolts claimed a third consecutive shutout win, blanking John Mall 35-0 in Walsenburg Friday night. It continues a remarkable start for Rye, which began 2019 with a 30-0 win over Ellicott followed by a 20-0 win over Crowley County.

So far in 2019, the Thunderbolts have shutout their opponents by a combined score of 85-0. The ‘Bolts will undoubtedly be greeted with a top-ten ranking Monday in the state rankings.

Pueblo Preps provides coverage of high school sports in Pueblo County.

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