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The Pagosa Springs Pirates played their first football game of the season last Saturday afternoon in La Jara against the Centauri Falcons, and the 40-0 loss was reminiscent of last year’s season opener, a blowout from which the boys spent the rest of the year trying to recover.
“This last game was tough,” Coach Scott Spoede said. “You feel that the boys have been working hard and taking steps forward, and then you get beat pretty good.”
Senior Dean Scott returned this year as quarterback, completing four out of 15 pass attempts for a total of 59 yards. His .267 completion rate for an average of 14.75 yards per throw was offset by two interceptions.
“We did have two interceptions during the game,” the coach explained. “The last one came during the last seconds of the game when we were putting together a decent drive. Even though it ended in an interception, I was proud of the boys for playing to the end. They wanted to walk off the field with pride by not giving up, and I think they did that.”
Scott’s longest completion was 23 yards to Aaron Yazzie, while David McRee caught two passes for 23 yards and JC Parsons caught one for 13 yards.
The ground game held some promise, with Keenan Early gaining 55 yards on 13 carries and Scott handling the ball himself five times for a gain of 20 yards. Early was named as the overall player of the game.
The Falcons, however, were ready for Jeremiah Miller — one of the Pirates’ leading rushers from last year — holding him to only four yards worth of forward progress on nine carries, an average of .44 yards per carry. Chase Patane carried the ball six times but was credited for 0 yards.
“On offense, we did not put a consistent series of plays together on one drive,” Spoede continued. “We would do some good things, and then we would let one thing throw us off. We have to be able to shake off our mistakes and get going with the next play.”
On the other side of the ball, Early led the defense with 10 tackles including four assists, followed by McRee with eight, including one assist, and Alonso Hernandez with two solo tackles and four assists. In addition, Miller and Hernandez each recovered fumbles and Connor Brown grabbed an interception, giving the Pirates three turnovers.
“On defense, we failed to make tackles,” the coach said. “There were numerous times we held them to a third and long and even a fourth and long, just to have them break a huge play.”
On Friday, the Pirates will host the Alamosa Mean Moose at 7 p.m. at Golden Peaks Stadium. The Mean Moose come off a narrow 39-34 loss to the Buena Vista Demons last Friday.
“We have watched the Alamosa film,” Spoede concluded, “and they lost a tough fight to Buena Vista on the very last play of the game. Our boys know that they are coming to our field with a bad taste in their mouth from last week and they are hungry for a win. To be successful I will need all eleven guys playing every down with one-hundred percent effort on Friday.”