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Last Friday night’s victory over Coal Ridge provided a perfect ending to homecoming week at Pagosa Springs High School.
It also made two wins in a row for the Pirate football team, and while the boys’ overall record for the season is 2-3, in league action the scales have tipped to 2-1.
“I hate talking playoffs already,” Coach Scott Spoede said, “but there is still a very good chance for us.”
The Pirates dominated the first half, outscoring the Titans 7-0 in the first quarter and 18-7 in the second quarter, ending the first half 25-7. However, The Titans began to rally in the third quarter, scoring two touchdowns while the Pirates scored one (with a two-point conversion play afterwards). In the fourth quarter, the Pirates shut down the Titan rally, outscoring them, 14-0, for a final score of 47-21.
“This was one of our most complete games,” the coach said. “You could tell in practice that these boys were the most focused we’ve seen them yet.”
Quarterback Dean Scott completed five of 11 pass attempts with an average of over 29 yards per play and carried the ball 15 times for a total of 61 yards, including one touchdown run. Of particular note was the lack of interceptions on Scott’s part.
Keenan Early was named the player of the game on offense for his total gain of 248 yards and six touchdowns on 31 carries, for an average of 8 yards per play. His longest run was 54 yards.
“We were able to produce over 570 yards on offense and seven touchdowns,” Spoede said.
Jeremiah Miller carried the ball 22 times for 91 yards and Chase Patane had it four times for 30 yards. In the air, Connor Brown had three receptions for 98 yards, including one for 52 yards. Tate Drane had one for 32 yards while JC Parsons also caught a screen pass and ran it for 16 yards.
“Our last two drives we stayed in the Power I,” the coach explained, “and kept the ball between the tackles. We were trying to run the clock out, but ended up scoring on both drives.”
As far as special team action, Drane got credit for 56 yards on kickoff returns while Miller picked up 13, and Marcos Quezada chalked up 22 yards on punt returns. David McRee had one punt that took a good bounce and rolled for a total of 41 yards, while Carter Walsh completed six kickoffs for a total of 156 yards. Marcos Quezada had one kickoff for 23 yards and got credit for three points worth of field goals.
“I decided to go back to our extra point team to give some more game-type situation reps,” Spoede said. “I didn’t want to air it up anymore at that point.”
On the other side of the ball, Quezada was named defensive player of the game due to his four interceptions and two tackles, while McRee had six solo tackles, including one sack of the quarterback, and two assists.
Fourteen other Pirates got credit for tackles, including Creede Wylie (four), Tyler Cowen (five), Alonzo Hernandez (four), Tyler Manzanares (two), Martin Rodriguez (one), Ryan McInnis (four), Gustavo Palma (two), and Caden Henderson (four).
On a side note, in the official stats for the previous game against Basalt, number 44 (in reality, Henderson) was mistakenly listed as freshman Robert Roberson, so last week’s story should be corrected to give proper credit for 11 tackles to Henderson instead of Roberson.
“The third quarter is the only place our defense took a little dip,” the coach admitted. “There was a little confusion about what coverage we were supposed to be in, but we cleared it up and finished out the game. I was proud of the boys coming back and scoring after our defense got scored on. Coal Ridge is a big play team, so when we did make mistakes they were able to make big plays.”
Tomorrow night, the Pirates hit the road, travelling to Parachute to take on Grand Valley. The Cardinals come off a 22-15 defeat at the hands of the Bayfield Wolverines, and have yet to win a game this season, with an overall record of 0-5, 0-3 in league action.
“We will go up to Grand Valley this weekend,” Spoede said. “They haven’t won a game yet, but have been in some close ones. We can’t come in over confident and expect the win to be handed to us.”
After this week, only three games remain in regular season action: Olathe on Oct. 11 (away), Gunnison on Oct. 18 (here), and Bayfield on Oct. 25 (away).
“We have to take care of the next four weeks and not leave it up to this or that scenario,” the coach explained. “The boys are aware that we are in control of our own destiny and, like I’ve said before, we have a hungry, focused bunch of leaders.
“I think as we go into these final four games, the intensity and level of excellence we will be playing against will only get better. Obviously, Bayfield will always be a big game and I think it’s great to end the regular season with this rivalry.”