After another impressive season for local football teams, the accolades continue to roll in for Dove Creek and Mancos, as the two programs combined to land six student-athletes on the eight-man all-state roster. After leading their respective squads to a playoff field that had been cut in half, with only eight programs qualifying for the postseason, the Bulldogs and Bluejays continued to make their presence felt across the state landscape.
Dove Creek (5-2) amassed one of the best seasons in program history, finishing second in the stacked eight-man Mountain League to state runner-up, Sanford.
Using the formula that had earned the Bulldogs a postseason berth in 2019, head coach Shane Baughman’s group overpowered teams on the ground all season en route to their first state semifinal appearance in nearly three decades.
Much of that dominance came behind the bruising blocking of First Team selection Hayden Gray, who, along with a solid Dove Creek offensive front, guided a ground attack that averaged over 360 rushing yards per game. Gray also proved to be a menace for opposing offenses, accumulating a team-high 83 tackles and a pair of sacks.
The honor capped off the senior’s career in fine style, joining his Second Team recognition from 2019.
A pair of other Bulldogs took Honorable Mention nods from the state selection committee.
Senior Austin Beanland landed on the squad for the second consecutive year, as a defensive playmaker for Baughman’s squad. Beanland accrued 51 tackles on the campaign and punished quarterbacks all season, totaling 10 sacks to lead the way for the Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, junior Chorbin Cressler made the all-state team for the first time, capping a year where he operated the multi-pronged Bulldog offense with outstanding efficiency. Cressler ran for over 500 yards in the shortened season, while scoring five touchdowns with his legs, and threw for four scores in the passing game.
Mancos, meanwhile, extended its playoff streak to six consecutive appearances, as the Bluejays (3-2) fell just inches short of a state semifinal appearance.
On-field excellence from Josh Gardner’s Bluejays catapulted three members on to the eight-man All-State team. Topping the list for Mancos was junior Chase Moore, who earned a First Team selection for the second consecutive year. Even in the five game season, Moore eclipsed 1,100 yards on the ground, while accounting for 22 of the 30 Bluejay touchdowns for the season.
Anchoring a strong offensive front, senior Colt Fury seemed to be everywhere on the field for the Jays. When not paving a clear path for the Bluejay ball carriers, Fury was often doling out hits onto opposing runners, topping Mancos with 73 tackles from his linebacker position. Fury earned a Second Team All-State nod for the second consecutive year.
Classmate Christian Cova also proved his versatility during his outstanding career for the blue-and-white, leading the team in receiving yards (170) and receiving touchdowns (3), while finishing second on the team behind Fury with 51 stops on the year. Cova landed on the Honorable Mention team to culminate his final campaign as a Bluejay.
All-state selections were based on nominations from each of the leagues in Colorado’s seven football classifications. From this list of nominees, Colorado high school football coaches voted to establish classification as First Team, Second Team, or Honorable Mention.