Pirates fall prey to Panthers, battle Olathe tomorrow

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After a victory over Alamosa the previous week, the Pagosa Springs Pirate football team fell prey to the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers this last weekend by a score of 41-6.

“Last week was a hard one,” coach Scott Spoede said. “We played nowhere near what we are capable of.”

The Pirates remained scoreless throughout the first three quarters, waiting until the final quarter to get into the end zone, but then not coming through with the extra point conversion.

In the meantime, the Pirates allowed the Panthers to score seven in the first quarter and seven in the second, and things only got worse after halftime, with the Panthers scoring 14 in the third quarter and 13 in the fourth.

“At halftime we were only down by fourteen points,” the coach said, “but we failed to find a way to rise above the adversity. As the head coach, I would have to say that the blame falls on me. As a coaching staff we have to go back and look through the tape and find a way to teach our boys how to adjust to what Cortez did and what other teams could do against us.”

Starting quarterback Marcos Quezada only completed four out of 17 passes for 47 yards (the longest was for 30 yards), but he also threw four interceptions.

Backup quarterback Clay Aucoin only completed two out of eight passes for 42 yards, with the longest being for a gain of 37 yards. Aucoin, however, was also plagued by turnovers, throwing three interceptions.

“Marcos did start the game,” the coach clarified, “but since nothing was happening offensively, I decided to throw Clay Aucoin in to see if that would spark our offense. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find anything to get us going.”

Aucoin also caught two passes for 35 yards, while Tate Drane, Abree Candelaria and J. C. Parsons each caught one for 17, 15 and 2 yards, respectively, giving the team a total of only 89 yards in the air.

The ground game, with a total of 108 yards, didn’t fare much better. Parsons carried the ball 13 times for a total of 57 yards, while Caden Henderson went 3 yards on three carries and Tyler Cowan went 4 yards on two carries. Each quarterback also got credit for holding onto the ball during the option plays — Aucoin gained 37 yards on 10 carries and Quezada gained 7 yards on four carries.

On defense, Alonso Hernandez and Tyler Manzanares each got credit for a fumble recovery, while Connor Brown pulled down one interception and ran it back for 10 yards.

David McRee executed 11 tackles, seven solo and four assists, while Quezada had 10 total tackles, six solo and four assists. Since the team is so small, many Pirates put in time on more than one squad (offense, defense and special teams).

Other top defenders with credit for tackles include Hernandez and Manzanares (nine each), Parsons and Ryan McInnis (eight each), Ty Kimsey (seven), L. J. Smith (five), and Mason Brown (four).

“Our special teams did much better this week,” Spoede said. “They did not give up any big plays and gave us a turnover at the end of the game off of a punt that led to our one score.”

McRee kept busy as the team’s punter, kicking the ball six times for a total of 190 yards, while Quezada had one kickoff for 25 yards.

On the receiving end, Quezada returned two punts for 36 yards, while Parsons, Kimsey, Zach DeVooght and Drane each returned one kickoff for 30, 15, 12 and 10 yards, respectively.

Golden Peaks Stadium will be the scene of a Pirates versus Pirates battle tomorrow night at 7 p.m. as the Pagosa Springs Pirates hosts the Olathe Pirates, who have a win-loss record of 3-3 overall and 0-2 in league action.

“Looking at Olathe,” the coach concluded, “we definitely cannot play like we did this last week. We have to come out firing on all cylinders. They run a similar defense that Cortez did last week. On the other side of the ball, they like to run. If our front seven commit to their assignments, we should be able to stop them.”

The Olathe Pirates come to the game after two losses — one to Alamosa this week (28-14) and one to Bayfield (48-22) the previous week.