Too much Talanoa Hufanga, too much Crescent Valley High defense.
Springfield was powerless against both entities on Friday night and the Raiders cruised to a 51-0 nonconference football victory at the Field of Dreams in their home opener.
The talented senior scored three times on six touches as CV built an insurmountable 34-0 intermission lead before an appreciative crowd that included Nebraska assistant coach Trent Bray. The former Oregon State linebacker/assistant coach is in the region for Saturday afternoon’s Nebraska-Oregon game at Autzen Stadium.
Hufanga teamed up with quarterback Sawyer Cleveland on a touchdown pass of 64 yards on CV’s second offensive play. He had a 40-yard TD reception later in the quarter, added a 57-yard TD run in the second, and completed his offensive night with a 20-yard TD reception from Briley Knight on CV’s first possession of the second half.
And the defense, which blanked Marist in the second half of a 42-27 win on Sept. 1, extended its scoreless streak to six quarters by holding the Millers to 58 total yards, no yards passing, and just four first downs.
Junior defensive tackle Brandon Lareau credited a different attitude for the defensive turnaround that has enabled CV to run off 87 unanswered points over the last six quarters.
“It just our mindset, overcoming the bad start we had,” said Lareau, who had four total tackles and two tackles for loss. “Do not let anyone get control over us. Stop the middle and do not let anyone rush the ball.
“Our defensive line did a good job with inside contain tonight. They didn’t get anything in the middle, they could only run to the outside,” where they were easily contained.
Linemate Connor Spevacek had six tackles, one for loss. Cleveland also had an interception, stopping a Springfield possession at CV’s 19-yard line.
The Raiders gained 505 yards of total offense. Hufanga had five receptions for 151 yards and 72 yards rushing on four carries. Cleveland was 7 for 9 for 164 yards and three scores; Knight was 7 of 11 for 144 yards and a TD, and rushed six times for 67 yards and another score.
Cam Sanders had 10 carries for 43 yards, and two receptions for 33 yards and a TD. Tariq Harris had three catches for 54 yards before leaving with a left-leg injury in the third quarter.
“It’s great, just awesome” Cleveland said of having so many options. “Everywhere I look, there is going to be someone open.
“It was just first-game jitters at Marist,” he added in explaining the season’s unproductive opening 24 minutes. “Tonight, we knew we were going to pound them in the first quarter. We just had more confidence.”
Cleveland closed the first half with a 23-yard scoring strike to Sanders with seven seconds remaining. He and Hufanga played sparingly in the second half.
Knight had CV’s other first-half score on a 1-yard run. He also kicked six extra points, a 27-yard field goal and spelled Cleveland at quarterback for much of the first half’s final scoring drive and for much of the second half.
“It’s nice, we just have options whether we need to pass or run,” Cleveland said. “Our whole offense is nice this year.”
CV (2-0) opens Mid-Willamette Conference play on Friday at defending 5A state champion Lebanon.
“We have to go into that game like we did tonight,” Cleveland said. “Heads on, just 100 percent the whole game.”