Prior to squaring off against Mancos High School in South Park on Sept. 8, Merino High School was ranked third overall in the Colorado High School Activities Association eight-man football poll. The Bluejays, on the other hand, were not listed among the Top 10.
Rankings meant little once the two teams hit the field, however, as Mancos scored two first-half touchdowns and held Merino’s vaunted offense in check throughout the afternoon while locking down a 14-6 victory.
Among the keys to Mancos’ victory was the play of junior quarterback Breccen Morelli, who completed 4-of-7 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdowns went to sophomore receiver Christian Cova, who amassed 88 receiving yards on three catches.
The Bluejays’ running game also found success throughout the afternoon as Mancos rushers accumulated 99 yards on 19 carries. Morelli led the team in rushing with 99 yards overall, and senior Chance Garcia rushed 11 times for 58 yards.
Mancos led 8-0 at the end of the first quarter and found itself ahead 14-6 at halftime before both teams’ offenses were held scoreless during the second half.
The Bluejays defense was led by Garcia, who notched 20 tackles and one sack. Cova came through with 17 total tackles, and freshman Chase Moore had the Bluejays’ lone interception. Morelli had two sacks for Mancos.
With their win over Merino, the Bluejays improved to 2-0 on the season. Mancos is now ranked 10th in the state in CHSAA’s eight-man football poll.
The Bluejays will look to improve that ranking when they play host to Sargent on Sept. 15.