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The Pagosa Springs Pirates football team put up a good fight against Alamosa last Saturday evening in Golden Peaks Stadium, but in the last few minutes of the game the Mean Moose regained the lead to make the final score 29-26.
“The main difference from last week to this,” Coach Scott Spoede explained, “was the boys played some intense football. There weren’t any new plays. It was pure execution of our assignments and being the more physical team that we needed to be.”
The Aug. 31 season opener, when the Pirates suffered a fairly solid 40-0 defeat at the hands of the Centauri Falcons, had to be fresh in the team’s mind as the players took the field against Alamosa on Saturday.
“Alamosa was a good opponent,” Spoede continued. “We came out opening drive on defense and stopped them right away and turned around and scored on our third offensive play of the game. Coming out of the gate we looked really good.”
The Pirates jumped to an early 6-0 lead in the game, but by the end of the first quarter the Mean Moose had pushed ahead, 9-6.
“The second and third quarter I can sum up by saying, we made too many mistakes,” the coach admitted. “We let them convert on a fake punt and we lost the ball, but we were still playing hard.”
The Pirates remained scoreless through the second and third quarter while allowing the Mean Moose to score 14 fourteen more points.
“The fourth, things began to click,” Spoede said. “We had a few big passes, some big runs and a great showing on defense. We were able to take back the lead at one point. I was proud of our boys. We were down by three scores at one point in the third quarter, and we fought back for the lead. They believed in themselves and what they are capable of.”
The Pirates scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, making it 26-23, but the Mean Moose came back and scored six more points, retaking the lead at the end of the game.
“We reverted back to making simple errors that cost us from scoring and allowed Alamosa to gain back the lead,” the coach said. However, he summed up the game on a positive note: “Even though the scoreboard didn’t say what we wanted it to say, as a team we gained something that we badly needed — confidence.”
Running back Jeremiah Miller, who was named the offensive player of the game, scored two touchdowns and gained 135 yards out of the 17 times he got the ball, for an average of nearly eight yards per carry, with a 37-yard run as his best play of the game.
Keenan Early scored the other two touchdowns and got credit for 83 yards total on 20 carries. Chase Patane ran the ball once for a gain of four. Quarterback Dean Scott rounded out the running game by taking the option four times and gaining 34 yards.
The air game still needs some work, with Scott completing two out of 11 passes for 62 yards. JC Parsons caught one pass for a gain of 40 yards and David McRee caught the other for 22 yards. Scott was sacked five times for a total loss of 27 yards, fumbled the ball once, and threw one interception. Miller also gave up one fumble.
On the other side of the ball, McRee was named the defensive player of the game, making 10 solo tackles and assisting on five others, while Creede Wylie managed eight tackles and two assists, and Alonso Hernandez had five tackles, four assists, and came down with one interception. Patane and Miller each recovered fumbles, while Early got credit for one sack against the Alamosa quarterback.
Carter Walsh acted as the Pirate kicker, totaling 141 yards with six kickoffs, while Marcos Quezada played his role on the other side of the special teams, returning three kickoffs for a total of 59 yards. Miller also received one kickoff and returned it for 25 yards.
“This week we start league play against Aspen,” Spoede said. “I have watched both of their games this season and can simply say that they play as a team. You have eleven individuals working on the field as one.”
The Pirates will face the Skiers tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Golden Peaks Stadium. Aspen beat Ignacio 39-12 for their first game of the season, but come to Pagosa off a 20-17 loss to Roaring Fork last weekend.
“The key for us this week,” the coach finished, “is to come out with the same level of intensity that we showed against Alamosa, while cutting back on our mistakes. We must be a more disciplined football team.”