Since the Dolores High School football team finished the 2005 season with a 9-2 record and a playoff loss to Akron, the Bears have produced just one winning season.
Now, coming off a winless season that produced an 0-9 record and more headaches than highlights for local fans, Dolores has turned to head coach Grant Hobbs to resurrect its once-proud program.
Although Hobbs previously has not coached at the high school level, his experience playing football for legendary Dove Creek coach Kenneth Soper and coaching high school wrestling in Mancos and Dolores figure to pay dividends.
“I’m trying to bring the culture back,” Hobbs said. “I know we hear that word thrown around from any coach that has gotten hired, but that is a real thing in (Dolores). The culture in the past was great, and then we kind of went through a low time where the kids were not really a team.”
Koskie looks for stability at QBWhile restoring pride in the Dolores football team won’t be easy, Hobbs figures to get there with junior quarterback Wyatt Koskie, whose grit has made him a fan favorite in recent seasons.
A tough and talented athlete capable of creating plays in the open field and delivering strong throws to any spot on the field, the senior QB figures to the focal point of an offense that, according to Hobbs, will throw the ball more than it has in recent seasons.
“(Koskie) has come a long ways,” Hobbs said. “He is a two-year starter who never knew how to read a defense, and he knows how to lead a defense now. I’m giving him a little more rope this year, and we’re going to pass the ball a lot.”
Although the Bears have yet to identify a lead receiver after Trey Seekins’ graduation last season, juniors William Taylor and Levi Fuller, and senior Caleb Montoya figure to have the ball in their hands a lot.
Also figuring to play a significant role for the Dolores will be a revamped offensive line led by senior Joe Summers, who has emerged as a vocal leader and tireless worker during spirited early season practices.
“Last year, we didn’t have much size on the line, and our quarterback got blown up a lot and was injured,” Summers said. “Now, we have some bigger kids on our line, so we have more of a chance to protect our quarterback and the other people that we need to protect.”
Working fast in a shortened seasonWhile Hobbs and his players declined to discuss how many games their team might win this season, the consensus was that success would depend on their chemistry.
“If we could all just come together, put all of our pats behind us, and do as well as we can, I would walk off this field at the end of the year with a smile,” Montoya said.
“My goal is to be a team,” Hobbs said. “If (players) put in effort, and they are coming together as individuals to create a whole, that’s what I’m going to be happy with.”
The Bears will get the opportunity to hit the ground running when the Bears open their season against perennial Class 1A powerhouse Hotchkiss High School in Dolores on Oct. 8.
Dolores will play its first road game of the season against Centauri on Oct. 16 and will have games this fall against Ignacio, Monte Vista, Del Norte and Center.
“This year, we’re more fired up than we were last year,” Summers said. “We have a new coaching staff, and we’re going to work harder than ever. We’re not leaving the field with our heads hanging low. We’re going to give ourselves reasons to keep our heads high.”