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Pirates drop 69-47 pointfest to Kirtland Central

Playing what coach Sean O’Donnell called, “offensive scoring fest,” the Pagosa Springs Pirates were unable to muster the physicality required to stop a bigger and faster Kirtland, N.M. team, falling 69-47 against the Broncos last Friday night.

“We didn’t play good defense at all,” O’Donnell said. “We weren’t physical at all, we weren’t good on tackling.”

O’Donnell’s assessment was borne out by the numbers, with 17 touchdowns scored during the game, and all 10 Bronco touchdowns scored on the ground. Conversely, the Pirates threw for an astounding total of 338 yards during the game.

The first three quarters appeared to show two evenly matched teams, with the Broncos holding a slight edge until the fourth quarter. After Kirtland took a 14-7 lead in the first quarter, the Pirates held their ground during the next two quarters but were, unfortunately, unable to gain ground.

Playing to a 14-14 tie in the second quarter and mirroring that in the third, the Pirates had one more period to make up for the single touchdown deficit from the first quarter. With quick, potent offensive drives from both teams, there was little to see from either defensive squad.

“They couldn’t stop us from throwing the ball and we couldn’t stop them from running it,” O’Donnell said.

Unfortunately, the Pirate’s defense crumbled in the fourth as the Broncos capitalized on three one-play touchdowns, taking Pirate kicks to a first down, then scoring on the very next play. Outscored 27-12 in the final period, the Pirates took a long bus ride home with a 69-47 loss, the team’s first of the season, producing a 2-1 record.

The Pirates play their second of four straight road games tomorrow night against the 1A Dolores Bears (1-1) in what should be a less intense game.

However, in light of the need for more physical play by the Pirates, O’Donnell said “We’re doing some soul-searching as a club, looking for the physicality we need if we want to be a post-season team.

“If we don’t figure out a way to play a little more physically,” he added, “in both areas, defense and in running the ball, it has the potential for a very long season for us.”

jim@pagosasun.com