’Cats choose to forego season finale

Ignacio Football head coach ‘Ponch’ Garcia discusses matters with an official prior to the Bobcats’ home game versus Center earlier this season. He regretted to inform the media that IHS’ Oct. 19 win over Dolores will be the team’s last game; Ignacio will be forfeiting the scheduled Oct. 26 season finale to Centauri.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

One wouldn’t have to ask Centauri junior running back/linebacker Taj Cornum how disgusting a taste remained in his mouth after a double-overtime field goal denied the Falcons the 2017 Class 1A State Championship.

On their own field, no less.

That was unacceptable, so Cornum and team leaders Bennie (senior offensive/defensive tackle) and Adam (junior tight end/offensive lineman/linebacker) Chacon took it upon themselves to step their game up even before summertime, weighing their attributes against others from four states at Blue-Grey Football’s mid-April Colorado Regional Combine held in Denver.

“They were … Number Two,” Ignacio head coach Alfonso ‘Ponch’ Garcia said, alluding to CHS’ finish, “for a reason.”

Cornum was reportedly chosen to return to Foothills Sports Arena for the July 7-8 Rocky Mountain Super Regional showcase where more than 100 standouts, representing 19 states (only 2A La Junta senior OL/DL Jacob Tafoya also repped a small-school Colorado program), would be present.

Now collectively eager to take out their frustration on opponents in ’18, CHS – ranked #4 in the CHSAANow.com 1A poll released Oct. 15 – actually lost a tense 12-7 non-conference clash at #10 Florence on the 19th, which would have primed the Southern Peaks Conference powerhouse even more to punish their final regular-season foe: IHS.

But despite drubbing Dolores 31-0 on the 19th, Garcia and others thought it safest not to put an undermanned, underclassman-dominated roster on the field Oct. 26 against Centauri, and elected to forfeit (as DHS had done on Oct. 12), the Bobcats’ slated finale in advance.

“I apologize to everybody for that.  That was my call,” said Garcia, acknowledging the decision may not be popular. “I have thirteen kids, they’ve got … I don’t know how many, and … I don’t want to see my kids hurt to end the season.”

“They’ve worked their asses off,” he stressed, “and I want them to be healthy for the next sport they’re going to play.”

CHS had began SPC work with a 55-19 rout of Center on Sept. 28, then mangled Monte Vista 45-8 – in Monte Vista (which then hosted, and defeated Ignacio 62-8) – on Oct. 5, before they were to welcome Dolores (which had already lost 52-0 to MVHS). IHS’ forfeit will boost the postseason-bound Falcons to 7-2 overall and a first-place 4-0 in conference.

The Bobcats will finish 2018 standing 3-6 overall and 1-3 in the SoPeaks (the Bobcats’ final placing in which will be determined by the Oct. 26 Center-at-Dolores contest).

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