With a commanding 50-14 victory over the Demons in Buena Vista last Friday night and with Bayfield’s 17-6 loss to Salida (whom the Pirates pounded 46-18 the previous week), Pagosa not only moved into first place in the Mountain Conference but showed the championship caliber they’ve promised all season long.
With Bayfield’s loss to Salida, the Wolverines dropped to 2-1 in the 2A Mountain conference while Pagosa stands at 3-0 in the league with Friday night’s win. Both Bayfield and Pagosa are 6-1 for the season.
The win in Buena Vista should have served notice to the rest of the conference — and the state’s 2A teams — that the Pirates are a force to be reckoned with. Just two minutes and 15 seconds into the first quarter, the Pirates fired the opening salvo with a 5-yard rush for a touchdown by Tyler Sharp. With a short pass from quarterback Taylor Shaffer to Tyson Ross on the conversion, the Pirates started their onslaught with an 8-0 lead.
A little over two minutes later, Dakota Miller pushed the lead to 14-0 with a 1-yard rush for another Pirate TD.
The Demons briefly looked poised to poke back during the first quarter. Buena Vista scored a touchdown and extra point with 5:44 left in the period. However, with 3:31 left, a 33-yard Shaffer pass to Jordan Caler reclaimed the Pirate’s momentum, giving them a 20-7 lead.
After taking a penalty on the kick, the Pirates managed to pin the Demons aat their own goal line. Moments later, Austin Jones sacked the Demon quarterback in the end zone, adding another two points to Pagosa’s lead with a safety. The Pirates capped the quarter with a 10-yard Shaffer touchdown pass to Zach Lucero with 1:13 left, giving Pagosa a 29-7 lead.
The Demons made one last stab at staying in the game with a touchdown midway through the second quarter. Undaunted, Shaffer threw a 23-yard strike to Ross with 5:30 left, allowing the Pirates to end the first half with a powerful 36-14 lead.
Despite giving up 14 points in the first half, the Pirates were determined to shut the Demons down. “In the start of the third quarter, we had a nice drive and our guys got their composure back,” said Coach Sean O’Donnell.
Indeed, even with the Pirate JV in for most of the half, the Demons were shut down. Capitalizing on a blocked Demon punt, the Pirates scored again on a short pass connecting again to Caler for a touchdown, pushing the lead to 43-14. Another touchdown late in the third quarter sealed the Demon’s fate, with a short pass to Ross completing Pagosa’s 50-14 victory.
Dominant on both offense and defense, the Pirates held Buena Vista to just 20 passing yards, while snatching up 276 yards of their own, with 136 of those yards tallied by Caler (who also had two TD receptions). “He’s one of those weapons that’s just been blooming all season,” O’Donnell said of Caler’s performance.
The Pirates get a bye week this week and O’Donnell said, “The guys are going to do a community service project on Wednesday; that will be our practice.”
On Oct. 23, the Pirates take to the road to meet the 3A Delta Panthers. Although Delta is just 4-2 for the season, O’Donnell is cautious regarding his team’s chances. “I know they’re pretty tough,” he said, “and probably the toughest team we’ve faced all season.”
However, considering the Pirates have outscored their opponents an average of 29 points in each of their wins, it might be the Panthers who are suiting up for the season’s toughest game.