The Dolores Bears ended their 2015 season with a 34-0 win over Ignacio on Friday, finishing with a 3-6 record.
“The guys came out right from the get-go and were fired up,” said head coach Chris Trusler. “And we scored frequently.”
The Bears went into halftime with a 20-0 lead, and tacked on 14 more points in the fourth quarter, finishing with 506 yards of total offense.
Senior Jalen Balderrama completed 16-of-25 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushed for 141 yards and two scores.
He finished the season as the leading passer in the Southern Peaks league with 1,021 yards.
Tristen Medina was on the receiving end on many of Balderrama’s passes, finishing the game with four catches for 67 yards and a touchdown, and ending the season as the Southern Peaks league’s leading receiver with 437 yards.
There was a void in the Bears’ backfield for most of the year, after senior running back Branden Donaldson went down with a broken collar bone in the first game.
“Losing Donaldson in game one was a huge loss to the team,” Trusler said. “It affected the whole team: Our players, our play-calling and our schemes every week. He was one of the big leaders on the team and a huge threat offensively we were without.”
Senior Josh McCoy filled in as the lead back in Donaldson’s absence, finishing the year with 525 yards.
But on Friday, Donaldson was able to return for his final game in a Dolores uniform.
The senior had 11 carries for 91 yards rushing and caught three passes for 27 yards.
Highlighting the Bears’ defense for the season was freshman Forrest Pejsa.
Pejsa ended the year with a league-leading 119 total tackles, good for third overall in Class 1A.
The Bears will lose eight seniors to graduation in Donaldson, Balderrama, McCoy, Andrew Davis, Kyle Biery, Tristan Boren, Trevor Robinson and Tommy Nelligan.
But they will return a handful of experienced players.
“We’re going to return seven or eight starters on both sides of the ball next year,” Trusler said. “And these younger kids that came in and played this year are going to have a lot of game experience going into next year.”