On the eve of its homecoming game against Igancio, which is scheduled to take place on Friday at 7 p.m., the Dolores High School football team is riding a three-game winning streak and brimming with confidence.
The Bears’ offense is clicking, and the team’s defense, which allowed 66 points during its first two games of the season, has not allowed a touchdown in 10 straight quarters.
Senior quarterback Justin Purkat has anchored the Bears offense with 783 passing yards and 10 touchdowns, while fellow senior Austin Hackney flown around the field on the defensive side of the ball en route to a team-high 67 tackles.
Dolores’ latest victory came over John Mall on Sept. 29 when the Bears utilized a punishing rushing attack and stout defense to walk away with a 19-0 road victory. Five Dolores players combined to rush for 374 yards, and the team’s defense did not yield a touchdown for the second straight game.
“Our offensive line is really working well, and they are understanding the different blocking schemes,” Dolores head coach Chris Trusler said. “Each week, our rushing attack is getting better and better, and getting a shutout for a second week in a row was a big boost for the kids.”
Among the Bears most productive players on the offensive side of the ball was Hackney, who rushed 17 times for 183 yards and one touchdown. Talon Zwicker ran the ball six times for 89 yards, Forest Pejsa rushed 12 times for 65 yards, and Purkat scored a rushing touchdown.
Asked about his team’s diverse rushing attack, Trusler lauded the effort of his team’s offensive line and running backs before focusing in on Hackney’s special performance.
“It’s exciting to see each of our guys coming into their own,” Trusler said. “(Hackney) was just a man on a mission.”
In addition to his contributions on the offensive side of the ball, Hackney registered a team-high 20 tackles from his linebacker position. Especially impressive were Hackney’s 10 tackles for a loss, which included two sacks.
Adding a third sack to the Bears’ team total was senior Beck Anderson, who now has a team-leading five sacks on the season.
“Defensively, we have 52 tackles for a loss over five games,” Trusler said. “Our linebackers are just wrecking house this year.”
With their record now at 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the Southern Peaks League, the Bears have turned their attention to their homecoming matchup against Ignacio, which will enter the contest with a 1-4 record.
The Bobcats’ lone win of the season came over Crownpoint on Sept. 1, and the Bobcats offense has struggled, averaging just seven points per game. Trusler emphasized that Ignacio cannot be overlooked, however, pointing to the Bears’ 49-6 loss to the Bobcats last season.
“(Ignacio) has some speedy receivers, and we’re going to see the occasional deep pass thrown,” Trusler said. “We’ve got to keep our defensive guys in the right position and if we do, we’ll come out with the win.”