It’s crunch time for the Pirates.
Pirate football coach Sean O’Donnell has made it clear his team needs to win its final three regular season games to give it the best chance to reach the Class 2A state playoffs.
That includes games against Class 3A Delta High School Friday, conference opponent Centauri the following Friday and Bayfield’s Wolverines, yet another Mountain Conference foe, on Oct. 31.
The advantage, if there is one: all three games will be played on the Pirates’ home field at Golden Peaks Stadium.
Last week the Pirates had a bye, and Delta lost to Eagle Valley, 27-23. Delta now has a 2-5 record.
Pagosa has an overall record of 3-4. Pirate non-league losses have come in road games at Cortez, Alamosa and Bayfield,
The Pirate record in the Mountain Conference is 2-1, with wins over Buena Vista and Monte Vista. Pagosa’s only conference loss was to Salida, on the road.
Last Friday, Buena Vista defeated Centauri and Monte Vista beat Salida.
Centauri and Salida are the only league teams with two conference losses. The other four teams in the league have only one loss: Pagosa, Bayfield, Monte Vista and Buena Vista.
Two conference wins puts Pagosa near the driver’s seat. The game against Delta is crucial should the overall record be used as a tie-breaker.
With the week off, the Pirates are healthy on both sides of the ball, with a good combination of veteran and young talent.
Pirate defensive starters include safety Tyson Ross, linebackers Joe DuCharme, Sackett Ross and Mike Smith; plus cornerbacks Paul Hoffman, Zach Lucero and Jordan Caler. They are joined by down linemen Dakota Ross, Wes Royston, Steven Melendy and Andy Abresch.
Pirate starters on offense during the stretch run will be quarterback Taylor Shaffer, running back Mike Smith, running back Joe DuCharme and receivers Paul Hoffman, Tyson Ross, Jordan Caler and Zach Lucero.
Other starters on offense will be left tackle Andrew Rice, left guard Myron Voorhis, center Wes Royston, right guard Dakota Ross and right tackle Sackett Ross.
“We need to continue to improve in practice each week if we are to reach the playoffs,” said O’Donnell.
The game against Delta Friday is set to start at 7 p.m.