Caiden Norman rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another, finishing with 336 yards total offense to lead Cleveland to a 34-17 high school football win over county rival West Johnston Friday night.
Tony Mack rushed for 212 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats.
Cleveland improved to 2-1 on the season while West fell to 1-2, all in non-conference games.
Norman picked up 117 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, completing 19 of 21 passes for 219 yards and a late 64-yard strike to Kenny White.
Corey Brown added 87 yards and a score on 17 carries for the Rams, who trailed 17-7 at the break but scored the final 27 points.
West quarterback Andre Wilson completed seven of 22 passes for 90 yards and scored a first-half touchdown.
Cleveland beat the Wildcats for the fourth straight time, having lost only their first meeting in 2011.
They said it
“We just played harder in the second half,” said Cleveland coach Scott Riley. “It’s a rivalry game and we just tried to match their emotion.”
Three who mattered
Caiden Norman, Cleveland: The junior quarterback had 117 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, completing 19 of 21 passes for 219 yards.
“We just went out and executed,” Norman said. “We started slow, but in the second half we went out and did what we were supposed to do.”
Tony Mack, West Johnston: The junior rushed for 212 yards and a touchdown.
“It was a tough one,” Mack said. “We battled hard, but our quarterbacks got banged up. The offensive line played a great game, especially in the first half. Anybody could have run through those holes.”
Corey Brown: Cleveland: The senior had 87 yards and a score on 17 carries.
By the numbers
27: Points scored by Cleveland in the second half.
212: Yards rushing by West’s Mack.
336: Yards total offense by Norman.
West will play its final non-conference game of the season Friday night at Middle Creek before opening GNRC play Sept. 18 against visiting Rolesville.
“The score was definitely not indicative of the game,” West coach Jimmy Williams said. “In the second half, we just didn’t execute as well. They didn’t do a whole lot adjustment-wise in the second half.”
Cleveland hosts Fuquay-Varina on Friday night in its first of three more non-conference games before its Two Rivers opener on Oct. 9 at Triton.