Mancos football has been developing some good habits. They've already put themselves on a who’s who list in the state rankings on a yearly basis, and they’ve turned their artificial turf home field into a fortress.
The Jays opened their 2021 home schedule with a 61-0 thumping of county rival Dolores, priming head coach Josh Gardner's squad for a highly anticipated showdown with Merino next Saturday.
The Jays welcomed the Bears in their transition to eight-man football with a heavy dose of the ground game. After piling over 300 yards against Hayden in week one, senior Chase Moore ran wild again, along with a host of teammates as the Bluejays dictated the line of scrimmage.
With the win, Mancos (2-0) now turns its focus to a headlining matchup in the eight-man classification, as they meet Merino in Fairplay for a meeting of teams ranked in the top five in the most recent CHSAA polls.
Separated by nearly 500 miles, the Bluejays and Rams have developed a rivalry, meeting for the fourth time in the past four seasons. The Bluejays own a 2-1 record against Merino, although it was the Rams who knocked Mancos out of the 2018 postseason after the Bluejays posted a 9-0 regular season. Their most recent meeting was a 48-34 shootout victory for the Jays in 2019, where Moore, then a sophomore, ran for over 100 yards and three touchdowns.
The Rams were a state semifinalist a season ago, and return their starting quarterback, junior Deacon Trenkle, who rushed for almost 1,000 yards in just eight games last fall. Game time is slated for Saturday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m.
As for Dolores (0-2), the Bears have made early strides in the transition under first-year head coach Scott Conklin. In their season opener against Monticello's JV, the Bears showed efficiency moving the ball, with senior quarterback Wyatt Koskie beating the Buckaroos on the ground with his legs, giving the Bears their first points of the season. Dolores couldn’t quite keep Monticello down, however, as the Buckaroos took a halftime lead, and eventually the contest, 26-14.
Senior Chace Phillpot provided a spark on defense, providing several big tackles and a sack, while classmate Gabe Allred anchors a young offensive and defensive front.
The early season tests continue to come in waves for the Bears, as they prepare to host Dove Creek on Friday, Sept. 10 for a 7 p.m. kickoff.