Valles shines in new role as McLoud’s go-to tailback
MCLOUD — The loss of Clint Campbell created a huge void for the McLoud football team.
Campbell, the Redskins’ star junior tailback, was expected to have a big year before breaking his arm a couple of weeks ago.
But when McLoud hosted Classen SAS in its season opener Friday night, senior Cirillio Valles was ready to take advantage of being the team’s go-to player in the backfield.
Valles rose to the challenge.
The 5-foot-7, 155-pounder ran for 246 yards and two touchdowns, leading McLoud to a 52-14 victory. For his performance, The Oklahoman’s staff has named Valles its Player of the Week.
“I ended up topping what I could have ever thought how I played my first senior game,” Valles said. “I was just hoping to go out there, have fun, compete and help us win.”
Nicknamed “Chico,” Valles has primarily been used as a defensive back.
He was the varsity team’s starting safety last year. A few days after McLoud’s season opener, he dislocated his hip while playing tailback during a junior varsity game, ending his junior year.
“I got caught from behind, and then I fell onto my knee,” Valles said. “I just heard my hip pop.”
The injury was devastating to Valles, but he knew he could bounce back and be one of the team’s top players during his senior year.
Valles was fully healthy as the season neared and expected to spend most of his time on defense.
He was named the backup running back, but when Campbell got injured, McLoud coach Rusty Hall turned to Valles and sophomore Kaiden Cue to lead the team’s rushing attack Friday.
“I was just hoping to go out there, have fun, compete and help us win.” Cirillio Valles
Valles had a stellar game, and so did Cue, who finished with 11 carries for 111 yards and four touchdowns.
McLoud’s offensive line paved the way for the duo, creating gaping lanes for them to run through.
“We ended up with 30 pancake blocks and 12 knockdowns,” Hall said. “In all my years of coaching, I’ve never seen that before.”
That kind of performance was something Hall felt like was possible heading into the season opener.
“We have a really good line this year,” he said. “We got a lot of size up front, and we just felt looking at game film that we had a chance to be able to run the ball effectively. So, that’s kind of what we stuck to all night, and our line did a great job of just opening up holes for Chico and Kaiden.”
Hall said he doesn’t expect Campbell to be back until early October.
Until then, Valles will take the bulk of the carries.
“He has phenomenal vision,” Hall said. “He runs the ball hard for a kid his size.”
Reporter Nick Sardis covers high school sports across the Oklahoma City metro and state. Have a story idea for Nick? He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @nick_sardis. Support Nick’s work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at oklahoman.com/subscribe.