CLAYTON — Isaac Martin with a full head of steam is not an ideal prospect for opposing football teams. Martin running at top speed behind a dominating offensive line is even less appealing.
Martin wasnt the only part of seventh-ranked Clevelands attack going full speed Friday night, the Ram defense was as well and standout quarterback Tre Joyner and his receivers as the Rams rolled by rival West Johnston 49-12 before an overflow crowd of 3,200 at Cleveland Stadium.
Martin ran for three first-half touchdowns and 171 yards on 15 carries.
I was running a little harder tonight, thats what a game like this does, Martin said. The hard work we put in in the weight room all off-season paid off. The offensive line was rolling, opening holes and letting me get at full speed quickly.
Joyner, Martins backfield mate, added another 130 yards rushing, a couple of TDs on the ground and one through the air to Alex Raines. He was 13-for-15 passing for 187 yards with an interception on a tipped pass.
Its been a great week all around, said Cleveland coach Marc Morris, whose team improved to 3-0. There was a little more pep in our step. We did a great job against a very good West Johnston team.
The Rams put the game away with a 28-point second quarter, starting a four TD scoring run after West temporarily pulled within a touchdown.
The Wildcats had cut the lead to 14-6 when senior quarterback Justin Carroll hit Jonathan Stevens in stride down the right sideline on a 56-yard bomb with 10:02 to play in the second quarter, answering Joyners 10-yard run just 39 seconds earlier.
The Wildcats got the ball back when Blake Mouzon picked off that tipped Joyner pass ending another Cleveland drive.
Thats when the Ram defense stepped up its pressure, sacking Carroll back at the 2-yard-line and forcing a short punt. It took just one play for Martin to cover the distance on a 29-yard run for a 21-6 lead.
West moved the ball well against us, but we did a better job once they got within the 20-yard-line, Morris said. Holding that offense and that quarterback to 12 points is a great night for our defense.
Cleveland caught West players behind the line of scrimmage for losses twice on the next drive, which ended with another punt.
Four plays later, Martin ran in from 9 yards out, making it 28-6.
West drove inside of the Cleveland 20 in the final minute of the half, but the Rams batted away the last-play heave into the end zone to keep the lead at three touchdowns.
The Wildcats (1-2), who have scored just 26 points in their last two games after a 42-point output on opening night against Fuquay-Varina, were held under two yards per rushing attempt on the night.
After Raines TD reception, Wests Xavier Carter caught a 29-yard TD from Ryne Turner in the third quarter. Clevelands Brandon Cooley scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth.