Coby Baer took the opening kickoff back 75 yards for a touchdown to jump-start the Jaguars Thursday night.
Cortez Middle School put on a show at Panther Stadium and clawed the Pagosa Springs Pirates, 20-8.
The Jaguars A-team ran to a prefect regular season record of 5-0.
We try to start off strong, Baer said. Whoever gets the first touchdown, the momentum swings that way and the whole game goes with that team.
Being out here winning, its the best feeling, Baer added.
All three facets were covered by CMS. It started with a special teams touchdown and the defense forced a three-and-out on the Pirates first possession.
The Jaguars had a short field at the Pagosa Springs Middle School 35. On second-and-9 at the 34, Baer padded his statistics and the scoreboard. The quarterback faked a handoff to Elisha Vaquera and sprinted down the right side untouched for six more to make the score 12-0.
Baer and the Jaguars kept their foot on the gas. Baer, an eighth-grader, took it himself again up the middle for a speedy 39-yard touchdown on the next drive. On the 2-point conversion, Baer gave it to lineman Elijah Singer and the gridiron titan bowled his way through the Pirates defensive line and into the end zone. CMS had a commanding 20-0 lead after one quarter.
Weve actually ran that a few times this year. The team goes nuts, the crowd goes nuts. Elijahs getting the ball and were going up the middle, said CMS head coach Kirby Case about the successful 2-point conversion.
Case further praised Singer for his strong play on both sides of the line.
He is a very gifted person for being one of the big boys up front. He is a team leader out here, the coach said.
In the second quarter, the Pirates seized momentum. PSMS went on a time consuming drive. On third-and-long, Pirates quarterback Isaiah Greigo heaved a perfect touchdown pass to the left corner of the end zone to Keaton Laverty from 26 yards out. Greigo found Colton Reid in the flat for the 2-point conversion to get the Pirates back in it at 20-8.
Each defense held the rest of the second and the score remained a 12-point margin at halftime.
To open the third quarter, the Jaguars got defensive. A dropped snap resulted in a CMS fumble recovery by Vaquera at his own 40-yard line.
Vaquera reeled off a long run two plays later to get the Jags deep in Pirates territory.
However, penalties pushed CMS backward and the Jags eventually turned the ball over on downs.
The CMS defensive line continued its stout play behind Singer, Cecil Eggers, Orion Rainer and Aaron Galyon. The Jags stuffed the PSMS rushing attack and continued to force the ball over on downs after the Pirates would invade the CMS side of the field. One Pagosa drive extended into the fourth quarter. But again, the Pirates drove into a CMS brick wall and gave the ball back on downs.
The Jags spread offense tried to get back in the end zone in the fourth. But they didnt need it, as the clock ran out for their 12-point win and an undefeated regular season.
Its a good feeling. These boys have worked hard, Case said. These boys are tough. I mean, theyre tough. Having these boys learning to pick up their blocks, is big. These boys are devastating when they do the right thing. Pound for pound, we match up with anybody this year. Im proud of them.
Perhaps these bright and talented Jaguars could be future Montezuma-Cortez High School Panthers in the making.
Were running the Panthers offense. Its been devastating for a lot of these teams on what we do, Case said. I credit a lot to my coaches. Coach (Adam) Zara, coach (Dylan) Ferguson. Those guys work super hard.
CMS will host a playoff game as the top seed on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Panther Stadium. The Jags will play the winner of the No. 4/No. 5 game between Escalante Middle School and PSMS set for next Thursday.
The entire league consists of Cortez, Pagosa Springs, Bayfield, and Durango middle schools Escalante and Miller.