Looking at the Colorado High School Activities Association Class 1A Football RPI numbers, Southern Peaks League rivals Ignacio and Dolores appear to be leading a race to the bottom at 38th and 39th, respectively.
Not exactly, however, for one of those two crews.
With a dominating, victorious head-to-head performance at 7 p.m. today in Dolores, the Bobcats (2-5, 1-1 SPL) would take the first step toward sneaking into the state playoffs.
“That would be fantastic; that’s really an ultimate goal for our whole team,” sophomore Tyler Barnes said, alerted after last week’s 18-7 home loss to Monte Vista that the 2019 campaign is far from lost.
But in order to travel to long-off La Jara for a Nov. 1 regular-season finale against current league leader Centauri (6-1, 3-0) with winner-take-all implications, the Bobcats know survival must start in Dolores.
A Center (3-4, 0-2) win at Monte Vista (2-5, 2-1) Friday would definitely help, and Ignacio must drub DHS in order to even have hopes of stunning the Falcons, who host non-league Florence (7-0, 3-0 Tri-Peaks) on Friday in a collision of powerhouses ranked sixth and fourth, respectively.
Four turnovers, numerous penalties (mostly of the false-start or encroachment varieties), missed blocking assignments – all of those mistakes committed against the Pirates last week must be eliminated against a Dolores Bears team playing a third consecutive home game but hurting at 0-7 overall (0-2 SPL) and looking to play spoiler.
In a mercy-rule 43-8 shellacking suffered against Centauri this past Saturday, Falcon sophomore Mason Claunch burned the Bears for 140 yards and three touchdowns on only five carries and even took a 68-yard punt return to the house. Sophomore Zach Buhr gained 59 on only two tries and scored once, while senior Taj Cornum barely needed to suit up, gaining 27 yards on five runs.
In Dolores’ closest contest to date – a 24-22 home loss to Monument Valley, Utah, back on Sept. 20 – Koskie, who literally stands tall in the pocket at a listed 6-foot-3, ran through the Cougars for 73 yards on six tries with one touchdown. Sophomore William Taylor racked up 124 yards on 10 carries with two TDs, while Charles gained 102 on 12 runs, as the Bears amassed 445 yards of total offense to show a potency proven difficult to replicate.
And 2A Newcomb out of New Mexico brought DHS back to reality despite Koskie’s 11-116 rushing figures the next week, constructing a 38-0 halftime lead, then coasting to win by that margin and setting Dolores up for a brutal October itinerary beginning with the aforementioned trip to Monte Vista.
A major priority for Ignacio this Friday and next will be to re-establish a run game stifled by Monte Vista. While sophomore Gabe Tucson was intercepted three times, he managed to throw for 117 yards and one score – a 23-yard rainbow to senior Colten Jackson – the Bobcat ground attack unofficially netted a paltry eight yards on 23 attempts.
Junior Joe Garcia took an 11-yard loss on the game’s first snap, unluckily lost a fumble on its third and finished with nine yards on 12 tries. Five of those yards came on the game’s very last play. Classmate Lawrence Toledo finished with 11 yards on four runs, and fellow junior Dylan Labarthe was held to six on five.
Ignacio (2-5) at Dolores (0-7)
CHSAA Class 1A Southern Peaks League football
7 p.m. Friday