Entering the fourth week of the prep football season, teams across the state of Colorado are beginning to get an idea where they stand. Coaches and players realize that the course of their seasons can change in an instant, however, and thus, nearly every play carries importance.
For the Mancos High and Dove Creek High football teams, this weekend will present an opportunity to pick up a win along what both squads hope will be a road to the playoffs. For Dolores, this weekend provides an chance for improvement.
Mancos has eyes on revengeWhen members of the Mancos football team take the field against Merino High School at South Park High School tonight, they will do so with thoughts of revenge and redemption on their minds.
The seeds of such thoughts were sewn last season when the Bluejays, undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the state heading into the playoffs, were shellacked 40-0 on their home field by Merino in the opening round of the 8-man playoffs.
“Our mindset is, get in the weight room and get stronger if you don’t like the way this feels right now,” Mancos head coach Josh Gardner said at that time. “We need to get bigger in the weight room and work hard this offseason.”
In the weeks and months following their defeat to Merino, with the stunning opening-round playoff loss still fresh in their minds, Mancos players answered their head coach’s call and hit the weight room hard.
Although it remains to be seen whether the Bluejays’ increased strength will carry them to a victory this weekend, early indications are that this year’s Mancos team will be far superior to last year’s squad that dominated opponents throughout the regular season.
Merino, on the other hand, may not be as difficult to contain as it was last season given the loss of running back Matt Frank, who carried the ball 19 times for 136 yards and three touchdowns during his team’s playoff victory over Mancos.
The Rams have looked solid thus far this season, as an 18-6 victory over Pikes Peak Christian and a 50-0 win over Gilpin County have elevated Merino to a third-place ranking in www.chsaanow.com’s latest Colorado 8-man football poll.
If the Bluejays, currently ranked 5th in www.chasaanow.com’s latest poll, are to win this weekend, they will need to open holes for senior quarterback Breccen Morelli, senior running back Anthony Medina and sophomore running back Chase Moore, who together comprise what is perhaps the fastest backfield in the state.
Also critical will be Mancos’ ability to contain Merino’s senior quarterback, Cade Conger, who ran the ball 19 times for 157 yards during his team’s playoff victory over the Bluejays last season.
Dove Creek to face Plateau ValleyAfter opening the season with two consecutive road games, Dove Creek will welcome fans to its home stadium for the first time this season when it faces off against Plateau Valley today.
Led by sophomore quarterback Chorbin Cressler, who has been nearly unstoppable thus far this season, the Bulldogs will likely run the ball early and often while distributing carries between Cressler, junior running back Gauge Thompson and junior running back Gage Bailey.
Plateau Valley, which will enter the contest with an 0-2 record after shutout losses to Mancos and Norwood, will look to run the ball with senior Matthew Allen, who ran for 80 yards on 13 carries last week.
Plateau Valley’s quarterback, Tallen Long, will also be a player for the Bulldogs to pay attention to given the sophomore’s ability to use his legs to escape pressure and throw the ball downfield.
“(Plateau Valley) is better than those scores (in losses to Mancos and Norwood) indicate,” Dove Creek head coach Shane Baughman said. “(Mancos and Norwood) have some explosive kids and they made some big explosive plays, but I expect Plateau Valley to be tough.”
Dolores aims to improveAfter a disastrous start to its season that featured a 46-0 loss to Monticello in its opening game, the Dolores football team will try to turn things around when it travels to Montezuma Creek, Utah, to face Whitehorse today.
While season statistics are not currently available for either team, Whitehorse’s 2-1 record suggests the Raiders could present a stiff challenge in the event that the Bears are unable to move the ball.
Given Dolores head coach Ray Davis’ drive to improve, fans should expect Bears players to play better against Whitehorse than they did against Monticello.