Thu Oct 10th, 2019
Special to the Drum
Non-conference slate ends with loss to No. 6 Lions
Before the 2019 season commenced, Ignacio head coach Alfonso ‘Ponch’ Garcia spoke of the Bobcats’ strength of schedule, particularly in regards to the team’s non-conference opponents.
“There’s some that are bigger than us,” he said. “We’re building our squad to compete with the schools our size. You go to Colorado Springs, you know, and they’re huge. We’re probably one of the smallest teams in our conference—not because of numbers, but size-wise, you know?”
“Right now it’s really hard to find a kid like Peyton [junior lineman Baker] who’s 250, 260, so it would be nice to…produce five or six of those kids! But we don’t have that luxury.”
And Saturday afternoon, Oct. 5, Colorado Springs Christian School wasted little time exposing such a dearth. So quick defensively, to an extent where it seemed the Lions either had the Bobcats’ snap counts memorized, or were just fortunate not to be called offsides given their burst off the ball, CSCS spent much of the game in IHS’ backfield—allowing their own offense to frequently take charge deep in Ignacio territory—en route to a 42-0 win similar to last season’s 49-0 conquest.
“We’re actually trying to be more balanced, both ways,” said longtime Lion leader Jay Kersey. “Throw the ball, and run the ball effectively. Because, you know, there was teams last year in the playoffs that loaded up the box on us, blitzed their ’backers quite a bit, so we have to have an answer for that.”
A major part of that solution will be junior Caleb Stockton, who put sixth-ranked [CHSAANow.com Class 1A poll, 9/30] CSCS on IHS Field’s scoreboard the very first time the guests touched the ball, other than senior Sean Capps’ opening kickoff. Following a three-and-out series started at their own 26-yard line, Bobcat Alvaro Ros Ortiz punted from the 30 and Stockton rapidly returned the offering 66 yards for a 6-0 lead.
With 9:25 left in the first quarter, the left-footed Capps’ point-after kick was good, and the Lions’ 7-0 advantage would quickly grow. C.S. Christian sophomore Jackson Tyler then smothered what was essentially an onside kick at the IHS 32 when no red jerseys converged quickly enough, and the Lions then finished a seven-play push with a 10-yard Peyton Brones carry.
Capps’ PAT was again successful, putting CSCS (4-1 overall) up 14-0 with 6:07 left.
Nearly prolonged by penalties, Ignacio’s ensuing possession ended up another three-and-out, and Stockton appeared to have returned Ros Ortiz’s punt for a 72-yard score before a denying infraction resituated the ball at the Bobcats’ 38.
“Returning punts, he’s so good at it; he’s electric, so fluid in his motions, and he has a really good knack for finding a hole and just hitting it,” Kersey said. “I’ve just got to try to make sure he gets out of bounds…doesn’t get hit, because he’s also our quarterback!”
Having completed his first two throws for a quiet nine yards, Stockton’s true pocket ability showed when, after a high snap resulted in him taking a 17-yard loss back to the 40, he heaved a perfect pass over IHS junior Lawrence Toledo into junior Joe Dunn’s hands, and Dunn’s legs did the rest.
Capps again split the uprights with the extra point, increasing CSCS’ lead to 21-0 with 2:17 still remaining.
“His throwing…. Even if you stayed with the receivers, he just threw over you,” said Bobcat junior Dylan Labarthe, over whom Stockton would connect with Dunn for a 49-yard score—the Lions’ last, as it turned out—with 1:36 left before halftime. “He was a really good passer, and I definitely think he was the biggest part of their team.”
After Christian’s Elijah Smith ended, for all practical purposes, Ignacio’s last first-quarter drive with a five-yard sack of Gabe Tucson on the second stanza’s first play, CSCS went back to work at their own 44 with 9:35 left before intermission and promptly covered the required 56 yards in just 2 minutes, 6 seconds, with junior Andrew Knedler pulling down a Stockton jump-ball between Toledo and senior Colten Jackson and then dashing into the end zone for a 26-yard score.
Senior Kenyon Watties then recovered a Toledo fumble five plays into IHS’ ensuing series, and after the Lions were set up at the Bobcat 37 with 4:58 left, CSCS junior Rian Chavez plowed in from two yards out with 2:55 remaining.
Working against a mercy-rule running clock during the second half, Ignacio (1-4 overall) had just one last possession, which unfortunately ended via a turnover-on-downs at the C.S. Christian 17 with 9:49 left in the fourth quarter, following a desperate 16-yard Tucson-to-Jackson lob.
All told, Tucson unofficially finished 5-of-9 passing for 71 yards, but IHS’ rushing attack was stymied to an unofficial minus-2 yards on 19 carries, with Toledo’s 6-for-26 figures leading the way. He also caught two throws for 19 yards.
“We’ve just got to see the best we can about it,” said Labarthe, who snagged two catches for 36 yards. “Overcome it and see the good we can get out of everything.”
Stockton unofficially finished 7-of-8 for 136 yards with three TD passes, while Brones unofficially led the Lions’ ground gainers with 50 yards on seven carries. Dunn booked 40 on five, and also totaled 89 yards receiving in helping C.S. Christian dominate their final game before beginning Tri-Peaks Conference work.
“We start…with Buena Vista, and they’re always going to be tough,” said Kersey. “They’re going to be prepared well, so we’ve got a hard week ahead of us…to be ready to come out and play.”
The Bobcats, meanwhile, will begin Southern Peaks play at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at Center (3-2, 0-1 SPC).
“We’re just going to work hard, put this behind us,” said Labarthe. “Now we start (conference) and stuff, so it’s like a whole-new mentality for us.”
After visiting the Vikings, Ignacio will end Homecoming Week 2019 hosting Monte Vista on the 18th at 7 p.m.