The Pagosa Springs Pirates and the Bayfield Wolverines compete in Pagosa Friday in a game that could decide the Mountain Conference title.
Both teams have a 3-1 conference record, as does Buena Vista, which takes on Salida that same night. Two of these teams will move on the following week to the state playoffs. The seeds from the league will be determined in a meeting this Sunday.
The upcoming, critical game was set up by the Pirates’ win in Pagosa last Friday, 27-0, over the Centauri Falcons.
Neither team scored in the first half, but the Pirates moved ahead in the third quarter.
In their first series of the third quarter, the Pirates gained several first downs to move to the Falcon 20 yard line. With the team moving deep in the red zone, senior Mike Smith then ran from the 1 yard line into the end zone. An attempt to kick the extra point failed and the Pirates held the 6-0 lead.
Later in the third quarter, Stephen Melendy recovered a Falcon fumble at the Centauri 37 yard line. Two first downs later, the Pirates were at the Falcon 7 yard line and Taylor Shaffer ran for the touchdown. This made it Pirates 12, Falcons 0.
Shaffer connected with Paul Hoffman on a pass for two points on the PAT and the Pirates led 14-0.
Still in the third quarter, Tyson Ross returned a Falcon punt 57 yards to score a third Pirate touchdown. Mike Smith had a successful point-after-touchdown kick to give Pagosa a 21-0 lead.
In the final quarter, Shaffer ran to the right 11 yards to score the fourth Pagosa touchdown. The point-after-touchdown kick failed and there were no further scores by either team.
Overall, Shaffer completed six of 12 pass attempts for 59 yards. Shaffer also ran the ball eight times for 46 yards. Mike Smith ran 14 times for 57 yards.
Tyson Ross punted five times for the Pirates, averaging 36 yards per kick.
On defense for the Pirates, Sackett Ross led the way with 10 tackles. Joe DuCharme and Mike Smith each had nine tackles, while Melendy had seven.
Overall, the Falcons managed 11 first downs and the Pirates had 10, but the Falcons were unable to score points against a staunch Pirate defense. Both the Pirates and Falcons incurred four penalties during the game.
Pirate Paul Hoffman suffered an injury in the final period and was taken away by ambulance. Pirate Athletic Director Jim Shaffer reported Tuesday that x-rays and a CT scan revealed the Pirate suffered no serious injuries. Hoffman was released following examination and was reported sore from the experience. DuCharme, who injured an ankle a week earlier, was not injured further in the game against the Falcons. Cody Bowdridge, injured earlier this season, did not play against Centauri, but is expected to play against Bayfield.
Looking ahead to the Bayfield game, Coach Sean O’Donnell said, “We are more mature now than we were in the earlier game against Bayfield, but Bayfield is much better, too.” Pagosa and Bayfield met in August at the Wolverine stadium. Bayfield won the contest, but the outcome did not count as a conference game.
“The Wolverines have their strengths, as do we,” said O’Donnell. “The team that executes the best will be the winner.”
The clash begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Golden Peaks Stadium.