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Loss to Bayfield ends Pirate football season

Allowing a promising season to slip away into the pages of scrapbooks throughout the county, the Pirates gave up their final game of the season to the last team they would have wanted to lose to — their Bayfield league rivals. Sending Bayfield home with a 42-13 victory and a much-vaunted wild card spot for the playoffs, the Pirate season ended with a 7-3 record while the Wolverines finished 8-1.

“I think our league knew they were the team to beat this season,” said Coach Sean O’Donnell, “and they really showed that on Friday night. They have really good personnel and are well coached.”

From the beginning, Bayfield patiently set up their offensive attack behind quarterback Colt Walker and fullback Seth Posey; Walker scored three times with 135 yards total on 19 carries while Walker ran for two touchdowns, with 209 yards on 22 carries.

The Wolverines took their time on their first drive after gaining the ball from the Pirate’s initial possession. Moving the ball for short yardage and several first downs, Bayfield earned the first score with eight minutes, seven seconds left in the quarter, taking an early 7-0 lead.

Capitalizing on numerous Pagosa mistakes and penalties (two consecutive first downs earned on back-to-back Pirate penalties), the Wolverines widened their lead on a fourth-and-goal situation from the three, hitting the PAT from 28 yards after an unsportsmanlike conduct call (the flag thrown after the touchdown), closing out the quarter ahead 14-0.

After shutting down the Pirate offense and forcing a Pagosa punt from within the Pirates’ end zone, Bayfield struck again early in the second quarter when Posey passed the goal line at the 10:43 mark, expanding the Wolverine’s lead to 21-0.

The Pirates finally managed to get some points on the board with 8:21 left in the half when, behind an interception by Tyson Ross and a run back to the 3-yard line, Dakota Miller rushed for the score. With Ross good on the extra point, the Pirates narrowed their deficit to 21-7.

Failing on the onside kick, the Pirates left the Wolverines with good field position. A quick drive behind the Walker/Posey one-two punch led to another Bayfield touchdown at 6:22 and a hefty 28-7 lead.

The Wolverines held much of the advantage throughout the second half. With the defense on both sides making it difficult for either team to break out for a score, the Wolverines finally capitalized on a bobbled Pirate punt reception, with Walker rushing 4 yards with 1:15 left in the quarter, pushing Bayfield to a 35-7 advantage.

Walker cinched the game with 8:16 left in the game, rushing 26 yards for a first-and-gaol situation then finishing it up with a run into the end zone, giving the Wolverines a 42-7 lead.

Although the Pirates managed another score with 5:15 left in the game — a 7-yard Ross pass to Zach Lucero, with Lucero finishing the last 6 yards for the touchdown, it was too little too late and Pirates ended their season with a 42-13 loss to Bayfield.

Despite the season-ending loss, O’Donnell said, “I’m proud of our kids and I feel we came a long way this season.”

With several key players set to return next year, the Pirates could be in a good position to claim next season’s league title. Furthermore, with several freshman and sophomores having logged ample field time this season, as well as making some key plays, the Pirates should be in very good shape for next year.

jim@pagosasun.com