Melrose High School, New Mexico’s eight-man state runner-up last year, might think twice before scheduling a Colorado school next year.
For the second time in three weeks, the Buffaloes faced off against a Colorado powerhouse and walked away with a serious bruising.
Dove Creek (3-0) picked up where Mancos left off, scoring at will in a strong second half to pull away from Melrose 64-34 in Albuquerque.
In the first half, the contest turned into a track meet as the two teams traded quick-strike scores. However, halftime adjustments for head coach Shane Baughman's Bulldogs led to domination –primarily on defense, limiting Melrose (2-2) to a single score in the second half.
For the third straight week, the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage and eclipsed 50 points.
Behind the guidance of junior Tyson Beanland and senior Audric Chadd, the offensive line opened up the ground game for the Bulldogs in quick response after Melrose scored the game's opening touchdown.
Bulldog senior Kendall Gardner bullied his way into the end zone from 1 yard out to give Dove Creek an 8-6 lead.
The score was a harbinger of the Bulldogs ground domination. Dove Creek scored four more touchdowns in the first half, three of which came from longer than 40 yards, including a pair of long touchdown catch-and-runs for junior Colten Fury and senior Cole Taber.
However, Melrose continued to hang around, thanks to plenty of big-play power of their own. Dove Creek struck from their own side of midfield with less than a minute remaining to build a 38-28 lead at the break.
The offensive onslaught picked up right where it left off after the intermission, at least for the Bulldogs.
Senior quarterback Kade Hankins scored just a couple of plays deep into the second half with a 65-yard scamper, before junior Gage Buffington broke free just a few moments later to build the lead to 50-28.
Hankins put the game away with two more rushing scores, while the defense blanked the Buffaloes up until the late stages of the fourth quarter.
Between Mancos and Dove Creek, Colorado competition poured 110 points onto Melrose as the Centennial State enjoyed success in their New Mexico trips.
Dove Creek continues into a pair of road games against Hayden (Sept. 16) and Monticello (Sept. 23), before returning home for their league-opening homecoming outing against Sanford on Friday, Sept. 30.