Log In

Reset Password

Farmington, Bloomfield, Aztec open season with victories

High school football season opens Friday night across San Juan County
Bloomfield quarterback Blake Spencer (9) scrambles for yardage before giving the stiff arm to St. Pius X defensive back Zachary Brokaw in the second quarter on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 at Bobcat Stadium. (Curtis Ray Benally/Turkeyboy Photography)

FARMINGTON – Weather played a factor on opening night for the prep football season across San Juan County on Friday, delaying all six of the regularly scheduled games to open the 2023 season.

After delays which resulted in late start times and games having to be stalled early in action, three local and area teams came away with wins on Friday night, as Bloomfield, Aztec and Farmington High Schools all opened the season with victories.

Here’s a recap of all the opening Friday night action on the gridiron.

Farmington 48, Piedra Vista 7

Quarterback Trel Griego threw four first half touchdowns as the Farmington Scorpions rolled past Piedra Vista by a final of 48-7 in front of an enthusiastic crowd Friday night at Hutchison Stadium.

Aug 11, 2023
Montezuma-Cortez football seeks encore season
Aug 11, 2023
Preparations underway for high school football season

Despite a nearly 90-minute delay to the start of the game because of lightning, the Scorpions offense got on the board early and often in the first half, scoring on four of their five drives in the first 24 minutes.

Griego tossed three scoring strikes to Michael Beck and another to Cayden Halliburton in the first half while Piedra Vista appeared to make unfortunate mistakes in the defensive backfield, allowing for the Scorpions receivers to gain more than 185 yards before the teams went to the locker room at the end of the first half.

Farmington High School wide receiver Michael Beck reaches for a touchdown pass as he gets away from Piedra Vista's Joshua Poyer in the first quarter of a football game, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 at Hutchison Stadium. (Farmington High School)

“When we execute and do things the right way, this is what we can do,” said Farmington head coach Jeff Dalton. “We just have to keep improving each and every week and not let our emotions get the better of us.”

The 7 p.m. scheduled start time of the contest was pushed back just minutes before kickoff for the first of two 30-minute lightning delays. The teams were allowed to return to the field shortly after 8 p.m. and the game kicked off at 8:22 p.m.

Farmington Scorpions football team pose with the milk jug after defeating their cross town rival Piedra Vista Panthers on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 at Hutchison Stadium. (Curtis Ray Benally/Turkeyboy Photography)

Griego finished the night with six scoring passes and more than 300 passing yards as the Scorpions open the season with a 1-0 mark.

Piedra Vista’s offense closed the gap a bit before the end of the first half when Hunter Schwartz fought off a pair of Farmington defenders after taking a pass from quarterback Felipe Begaye for a 13-yard touchdown in the waning minutes of the first half.

The victory returns the milk jug back into the hands of the Scorpions. The milk jug serves as the unofficial trophy which goes to the winner of the crosstown rivalry’s annual football game. In 24 meetings between the two schools, the series is even at 12 wins apiece.

“This was a huge win for us,” Dalton said. “We still have a long way to go and a lot to clean up going forward. But we’re glad to have this one under our belt and are committed to getting better.”

The Scorpions (1-0) will be home on Friday night when they host Durango, which will be opening up its 2023 campaign. Farmington has lost three of its last four meetings against the Demons.

Piedra Vista (0-1) will look to bounce back hen they hit the road to face Sandia on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 1 p.m.

Bloomfield 41, St. Pius 20

The Bloomfield Bobcats opened the 2023 season at home Friday night and began defense of their Class 4A title with a 41-20 win over St. Pius.

Quarterback Blake Spencer threw three touchdown passes and ran for another in the victory, the seventh straight win for the team dating back to last season.

Spencer found wide receiver Drew Perez for three touchdown catches on the night, while also connecting with Christian Alcantar. On the night, Spencer completed eight of 23 passes for 249 yards.

“(Spencer) got off to a bit of a slow start, but he rallied around his teammates and had a really good game for us,” said Bloomfield head coach Mike Kovacs.

Bloomfield's Hunter Samora tackles St. Pius X wide receiver Curtis Flakes III at midfield for a loss of yardage in the second quarter on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 at Bobcat Stadium. (Curtis Ray Benally/Turkeyboy Photography)

The game was forced off the field for a time early in the first quarter due to a lightning delay with no score. Shortly after play resumed, the Bobcats drew first blood, as Spencer found Perez for a 40-yard touchdown pass.

After the missed point after conversion, the Bobcats then surrendered the lead on an interception return that tied the game at 6 with just more than a minute to go in the opening frame.

“We just talked in the locker room about what we saw in the early moments of the game,” Kovacs said. “We just need to capitalize on what we saw and when we did get back on the field, we did what we needed to do.”

Bloomfield scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to put their stamp on the contest. Running back Kaden McCown ran for a 63-yard score early in the quarter before Spencer found Alcantar for a 53-yard strike. Later in the quarter and with the Sartans defense playing on their heels, Spencer kept the ball himself for a 7-yard run with a bit more than two minutes remaining before halftime.

Perez caught five passes for 129 yards and three scores, while the team put up more than 400 yards in total offense on the night. Andrew Bair caught two passes for 66 yards, while Alcantor and Andrew Flores combined for a pair of catches and 102 yards.

“(Perez) was phenomenal for us tonight,” Kovcas said. “Once the offense got rolling, we were able to take advantage of some things that helped us as the night wore on.”

Bloomfield played much of the fourth quarter with the running clock, having established a 35-point lead. St. Pius scored twice in the game’s final minutes before settling for the loss.

Bloomfield (1-0) will be on the road on Friday night to face Pojoaque Valley while St. Pius (0-1) will play host for the first time this season on Friday when they face Highland.

Aztec 50, Miyamura 0

Baylor Seabolt scored a pair of first half touchdowns as the Aztec Tigers rolled to a 50-0 victory Friday night at home over Miyamura in the season opener for the prep football season for both teams.

Led by interim head coach Cory Gropp, the Tigers offense wasted little time putting distance between themselves and the Patriots, who had trouble moving the ball for much of the contest, which was called due to the mercy rule.

The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after Miyamura’s first drive stalled on their side of the field. The snap to the Patriots punter sailed out of the end zone to give Aztec the lead within the first three minutes of the game.

Aztec extended the lead just moments later on a touchdown pass from Landan Frost to Jayden Godbay to extend the lead to 9-0 with 8:18 left in the opening quarter.

Baylor Seabolt opened the season on a strong note for the Tigers, scoring on an 8-yard run to widen the lead to 16-0 late in the first quarter.

Kale Watson kept the Tigers offense moving in the right direction early in the second quarter with a 30-yard scoring run as Aztec went up 23-0.

The Tigers continued to pound out yards and scoring opportunities in the win, which gives Aztec a 1-0 start to the season ahead of a home game Friday night against Montezuma-Cortez in that team’s season opener.

The Patriots (0-1), playing this season without talented starters like quarterback Blas Saucedo and running back Ciyllis Cole-Roy, who combined to score 25 touchdowns last season before graduating, appear to have their work cut out for them. They’ll be home on Friday night to face Class 4A state runner-up Silver.

Valencia 48, Kirtland Central 20

After a weather delay of nearly 90 minutes, the Valencia High School football team came out firing on all cylinders, opening an commanding lead on its way to a 48-20 win on the road Friday night over Kirtland Central.

The Broncos fell behind early in the contest and went into the locker room trailing 28-0.

Running back Daniel Villegas ran for 150 yards and scored three times for the Jaguars, giving first-year head coach LeDarrius Cage a win in his coaching debut.

Kirtland Central made up some ground in the second half, led by Tyler Joe’s three touchdown passes. Joe connected with Noah Dineyazhe for the first score in the third quarter, then connected on a pair of scoring strikes to Bryle Matthews.

The Broncos simply couldn’t overcome mistakes in the first half, which proved costly in the final outcome.

Kirtland Central (0-1) will have an additional week to prepare for its second game of the season. The Broncos will be on the bye this week before returning to action on Friday, Sept. 1 at home against Thoreau.

Valencia (1-0) will play its home opener on Friday against Del Norte.

Tohatchi 50, Shiprock 6

Having to wait an additional 24 hours to get the high school football season underway wasn’t such a bad thing for Tohatchi High School head coach Darrick Henry.

The scheduled Friday night clash between Shiprock and Tohatchi was postponed due to increased delays due to lightning and weather and was played Saturday at 7 p.m. at Shiprock High School.

The Cougars wasted little time rolling past Shiprock in the season opener for both teams, getting three touchdowns in the opening quarter and beating the Chieftains by a final score of 50-6.

Quarterback Elijah Johnson threw for three first half touchdowns and ran for another, while the Cougars defense created a pair of turnovers, both of which resulted in early scores that led to the runaway final score.

Henry, in his first season on the job at Tohatchi, said the extra day of traveling back and forth might have been best for his squad.

“It kind of gave us the feeling of having to go through the rituals of a road trip, so it wasn’t all that bad for us,” said Henry.

Johnson got Tohatchi on the board on the team’s opening drive, connecting with Adraino Begay from seven yards out to give the Cougars an early 6-0 lead.

Begay would catch another touchdown pass on the Cougars next drive, this one from 23 yards out on a pass over the middle. Begay shed a couple of Chieftains tacklers before rumbling down the sideline to give Tohatchi a 12-0 lead.

Johnson ran for the team’s next score shortly before the end of the first quarter before his third scoring pass of the half, finding Tristan Begay in the back of the end zone.

The lone highlight for the Chieftains came early in the second quarter. Trailing 18-0 early in the second quarter, Antonio James scooped up a fumble and ran 44 yards for a touchdown. But the offense for the Chieftains failed to do much on the evening, recording only two first downs in the entire first half.

The Chieftains (0-1) will be home on Friday night to face Crownpoint, which opened its season with a 14-6 win at home against Valley. Meantime, the Cougars will look for its second win of the season when they host Escalante, which lost on the road last weekend 28-0 to West Las Vegas.

Pojoaque Valley 48, Navajo Prep 6

Pojoaque Valley, now under the leadership of first year head coach Zeke Villegas, had an impressive showing on the road Friday night, rolling out to an early lead and earning a season opening 48-6 rout over Navajo Prep.

The Elks, which failed to win a game last year, snapped a nine-game losing streak with the win while the Eagles, under first year head coach Storm Tallbull, were never able to recover from a 20-0 first quarter deficit.

Pojoaque Valley went into the locker room leading 34-0 at the half and didn’t give up a score until the fourth quarter with the outcome of the contest removed of all doubt.

The Elks (1-0) will host Bloomfield on Friday at 7 p.m. The Bobcats, winners of their opening night contest over St. Pius are defending Class 4A champions and have neevr lost to the Elks in five prior meetings.

Navajo Prep (0-1) will be home Thursday night to face Wingate, which won their season opener last weekend at home against Many Farms (Arizona.) by a final of 50-0.