Playing in its home opener, the Mancos High School football team overcame a slow start to defeat Del Norte, 20-12, on Friday.
Keying the Bluejays victory were defensive after Del Norte scored touchdowns in its first two possessions for a 12-0 lead. The first came off an 81-yard touchdown pass from Keegan Medina to Carlos Parra, and the second came on a 70-yard pass from Medina to Izeah Peterson.
“(Del Norte) had some really good receivers, and they scored on their very first offensive play,” said Mancos coach Adam Priestley. They did it again three or four plays later, but after that, our defense really came together.”
Trailing 12-0 midway through the second quarter, Mancos got on the board thanks to a touchdown run by senior Peyton Suazo. A 2-point conversion by Mancos cut Del Norte’s lead to 12-8, and the 4-point spread remained until halftime.
Kicking off the third quarter, Mancos pulled ahead 14-12 with a touchdown run by junior Chance Morgan-Garcia.
The Mancos offense then resorted to trickery when senior quarterback Kaleb Hargraves tossed a pass to Christian Cordova, who lateraled to Garcia. After a few nifty moves, the Bluejays junior found himself in the end zone for the second time.
“Our third touchdown came on the old hook and lateral play,” Priestley said. “Hargraves threw a nice pass to Cordova, and everything worked out from there.”
During a back-and-forth fourth-quarter that saw several turnovers on both sides and plenty of nervous moments from home fans, several Mancos defenders stepped up big, including defensive linemen Cameron Fury, Casey Orange, and Roan Russell.
“Our defensive linemen really worked hard,” Priestley said. “All three of our linemen made a huge difference.”
Now 2-1 and 1-0 in the Southwest League, the Bluejays return to practice in anticipation of a game at Sangre de Cristo on Sept. 23 at 1 p.m.
“We’ll have our work cut out for us,” said Priestley. “We’ll have to go in and be able to take care of their size. Ball control has to be our main focus.”