During the third week of the prep football season, the Montezuma-Cortez High and Dove Creek High football teams will look to pick up key wins over tough opponents, and in doing so, build momentum for the remainder of their seasons.
Panthers face Gateway squadLooking for its first win of the season after losing to Kirtland High School by a score of 50-0 last week, the M-CHS football team will try to right its ship when it travels to Aurora Public Schools Stadium to face Gateway High School on Saturday.
Although on paper, Gateway appears to present an insurmountable challenge for the Panthers, coaches and players recognize that anything can happen on any given Saturday, and thus, M-CHS will do its best to be ready for the challenge.
In order to succeed, the Panthers will likely need a big game from junior quarterback Ty Blackmer, who was named the team’s starter prior to the season following the graduation of standout Ike Dennison.
Blessed with a big arm and capable of reading the field and hitting his receivers in stride, Blackmer will look to rebound from an opening week performance during which the Panthers’ offense struggled and failed to score a touchdown against Kirtland’s tough defense.
While Blackmer’s arm could determine whether the Panthers are able to stay close, M-CHS’s ability to involve senior running back Valentino Rodriguez in the offense will also be crucial to the game’s ultimate outcome.
Known for his speed, quickness and cutting ability, Rodriguez broke out during the Panthers’ opening round playoff loss to Bayfield last season when he ran for 123 yards and one touchdown. The senior struggled to get going last week, however, as M-CHS’s offensive line could not hold its blocks.
Although no statistics are available for Gateway one game into its season, the Aurora High School did demonstrate offensive firepower last week during a 49-24 road loss to Las Vegas High School.
Dove Creek vs. RangelyAfter blowing out Monument Valley 58-14 in its opening game of the season, the Dove Creek football team will turn its attention to a road matchup against Rangely on Friday, which could end up being one of the most entertaining games of the young season.
Figuring to play a key role in the contest regardless of the game’s ultimate result is Bulldogs’ sophomore quarterback Chorbin Cressler, who rushed eight times for 188 yards and four touchdowns last week.
Also likely to factor in to this weekend’s result will be Dove Creek running backs Gage Bailey and Gauge Thompson, whose contrasting styles of speed and power could keep the Rangely defense off balance throughout the night.
Although no statistics were made available for Rangely’s 46-28 victory over Norwood last week, the team’s propensity for passing the ball downfield is well known, and it is likely that Dove Creek’s defensive backs will be tested.
In order to avoid a repeat of last season’s 57-18 defeat at the hands of Rangely, the Bulldogs will need to limit their opponent’s aerial attack with disciplined defense while establishing a running game that will control the clock and keep Rangely’s offense off the field.