Last season, the Dolores High School football began its year with a 43-0 drubbing at the hands of Bayfield. This season, things began far differently as the Bears crushed Montezuma-Cortez High School's junior varsity team, 38-6, in Dolores on Aug. 23.
Keying the Bears victory was a rushing attack led by junior running back Branden Donaldson, senior fullback Guy Wallace and sophomore quarterback Tristen Medina, who combined to run for 320 yards and four touchdowns.
As a team, the Bears rushed for 366 yards and five touchdowns, which, according to Donaldson, resulted from from strong play by the team's offensive line.
"Once again, our offensive line did their job," said Donaldson. "They fired off and it allowed the running backs to hit the holes hard and be successful."
Also contributing to the Bears win was an impressive effort by the team's defense, which was led by senior Kellen Gatzke (13 tackles), KC Davis (four sacks) and Guy Wallace (one interception).
"I was really proud of our defense," said Wallace. "There are definitely things that we need to work on, but overall, we were pretty strong and we can get better."
Against M-CHS's JV, the Bears were plenty good however, pulling ahead 6-0 on a one-yard run by Donaldson with 7:42 left in the first quarter.
After M-CHS tied the game thanks to a 93-yard touchdown pass from Cordell Ridings to Coby Baer, the Bears pulled ahead 12-6 on a three-yard touchdown run by freshman Dustin Beltran.
An 8-yard touchdown run by Wallace, put the Bears ahead 18-6 entering the half and the Bears extended that lead to 24-6 on a five-yard scoring run by Donaldson with 6:45 left in the third quarter.
Wallace then added to the Bears total with a highlight-reel play, catching a short pass from Medina and breaking several tackles in route to a 22-yard score.
"All these guys joke that I don't have hands, but I guess I get lucky every now and then," said Wallace discussing the play. "It was a good catch and run I guess."
The Bears capped their scoring on a five-yard quarterback sneak by Medina, which put the Bears ahead 38-6 with 4:58 left in the fourth quarter.
As members of the Dolores team exited the field with smiles soon after the victory, sophomore defensive lineman Devin Reed discussed the big win.
"We've been practicing all summer," said Reed. "We put a lot of time in and when you put in time, you get a lot of results."
"It was a great way to start the year off," added Bears head coach Chris Trusler. "We're preaching to the guys, lets be good at all the little things this year and big things will happen."
With their record now at 1-0 on the year, the Bears will begin preparations for a road matchup against Coal Ridge at 1 p.m. on Aug. 30. The game will be broadcast live on the radio at 93.3 FM.
"(Coal Ridge) is going to be a much tougher game for us," said Trusler. "They had a year like we did last year, but they're a 2A school."