CLAYTON — Isaac Martin shrugged off a knee injury to rush 18 times for 137 yards and a touchdown while Aaron Farmer threw for 164 yards and three TDs Friday night as Cleveland walloped visiting D.H. Conley 47-25 in the second round of the state 3AA playoffs.
– Isaac Martin shrugged off a knee injury to rush 18 times for 137 yards and a touchdown while Aaron Farmer threw for 164 yards and three TDs Friday night as Cleveland walloped visiting D.H. Conley 47-25 in the second round of the state 3AA playoffs.
Cleveland, which led 41-7 early in the fourth quarter. will play its third-round game on Friday at Wilson Hunt.
Martin had missed last week’s game with a knee injury suffered in the regular-season finale against Southern Lee, while Farmer is a sophomore quarterback who took over the starting role under adverse circumstances in September.
“Aaron has done a great job for us,” said Cleveland coach Marc Morris, whose team has won 22 of its last 25 games. “Obviously he played a good football game tonight and he’s getting better each game. Isaac has worked really hard to come back, and has done a great job coming back. He didn’t want to let the team down.
“I told our kids to enjoy this. A lot of great teams don’t make it to the third round of the playoffs two years in a row.”
Cleveland (12-1), which was eliminated in the state 3A Eastern finals last season in its final year without a senior class, carried the East pod’s No. 5 seed. The Rams topped West Brunswick 40-33 on the road in the first round.
Conley (9-5), which had to forfeit two games for an ineligible player, had the No. 7 seed. The Vikings had walloped unbeaten Triton 33-0 in the road in the first round.
“We weren’t worried about that,” the junior Martin said. “We knew Triton made a lot of mistakes. Everybody knows our seniors have only got this year. They’re trying to stay together and play their hearts out, and we’re trying to play as hard as we can for them.”
Donqua Williams caught five passes for 146 yards and two TDs for Cleveland, while Alex Swain caught one touchdown pass and ran for another.
The Rams led 28-7 at halftime, courtesy of Farmer’s 20-yard bullet to Williams at the goal line on the final play of the quarter with Thomas Morris adding the kick.
Cleveland struck first on its first possession, going 35 yards in eight plays with Farmer connecting with Swain from seven yards out for the score. Thomas Morris’ boot made it 7-0 with 7:34 left in the quarter.
The Rams doubled their lead with 3:40 left in the period, as Martin found a hole up the middle and sprinter 78 yards for a score. Morris’ kick made it 14-0.
Conley got on the board with 8:26 left in the half, as Bam Staton burst up the middle for six yards to finish a nine-play, 48-yard drive with Josh Walston adding the boot.
But Cleveland responded with a 79-yard scoring pass from Farmer to Williams, with Morris adding the conversion with 3:50 left in the half.
The Rams put the game away with 3:35 left in the third, as Nick Locklear returned a punt 32 yards to the end zone with Morris adding the kick to make it 35-7.
Swain added a 16-yard scoring run with 11:12 remaining.