Fri Oct 22nd, 2021
Special to the Drum
Tags: Alric Hudson, Bobcats, Cruz Martinez, end zone, Gabe Tuscon, Ignacio Bobcats, Ignacio Football, ignacio high school, Ignacio Sports, IHS, Jace Carmenoros, Jeremy Roderick, Monte Vista, MVHS, Pirates, Shawn Campell, Tyler Barnes, Wade Dunbar-Burger
What with sophomore lineman Cruz Martinez having during the week joined Ignacio’s injury list, an ailing right rotator cuff benching him alongside seniors Tyler Barnes (left leg) and Alric Hudson (right knee), plus sophomore Wade Dunbar-Burger (left arm), the Bobcats could ill afford to lose any more personnel entering the 2021 season’s toughest contests.
Especially any who’d already been sidelined.
But when senior Shawn Campbell limped off IHS Field during the first half Saturday morning, Oct. 16, against Monte Vista – favoring his previously-injured left knee – the Bobcats’ chances against the powerful Pirates practically disappeared, with MVHS recognizing junior John Riepel as the only remaining offensive threat.
Quite literally adding something of an insult to injury, Campbell’s day became even longer when senior quarterback Gabe Tucson gunned a third-down incompletion in the direction of the trainer’s table, the football only slightly skimming the synthetic surface as it caromed upwards and straight into a seated Campbell’s janky joint.
Still with about 3:30 remaining in the second quarter, Tucson was forced into assuming Campbell’s duties as punter and kicked the ball away the very next play, with – as fate would have it – Riepel tweaking his right ankle during the tackle.
“Kind of sucks that we don’t have as many players as other teams we’re playing,” freshman Charlie Pargin lamented afterwards, “but it gives us [underclassmen] more playing time. I feel we could have done a little better … but we gave it our all.”
And, with 9:36 left in a 1A Southern Peaks Conference clash long since reduced to running-clock rules, Ignacio’s persistence at last paid off, with the resilient Riepel capping a 7-play, 43-yard drive leaping between two Pirates and clutching an 8-yard Tucson touchdown toss. Tucson’s subsequent two-point conversion carry failed, but the ’Cats had accomplished about the only possible objective remaining in a 42-6 loss: Deny Monte Vista a shutout.
“We held our blocks just long enough for him to get it off,” senior lineman Jeremy Roderick said.
“It felt good, you know?” said fellow lineman Pargin, who ended the game alertly smothering teammate Keaton McCoy’s fumble at the Bobcat 29-yard line, just three snaps after McCoy had recovered a Pirate fumble – one of his two, and Ignacio’s three (Roderick the other) in the game – at the 32. “It was a tough game and it’s hard to take an ‘L’ but we’ll come back … hopefully.”
Right from the opening kickoff it was evident Ignacio (5-2, 0-2 SPC) would need to quickly find solutions; sophomore return specialist Devante Montoya was simultaneously sandwiched by at least four white jerseys and fumbled the ball, with MVHS junior Andrew Chavez recovering at IHS’ 14 only eight seconds in.
Two plays later, junior Khegan Gunter blasted through the line for an 8-yard score with 11:10 left in the first quarter. MVHS’ two-point carry was successful, and the 8-0 lead would only grow. Montoya returned his next chance for 16 yards out to the Bobcat 47, but on second down Tucson was intercepted by senior Keyshawn Martinez.
Set up at their own 49 with 10:19 left, the Pirates (5-2, 2-0) needed just three plays to again find the end zone, with senior quarterback Colton Mellott finding Gunter for a 40-yard score with 9:15 left. Mellott’s conversion throw failed, but after IHS’ ensuing series ended with a Campbell punt on its sixth play, Gunter took a first-down handoff 45 yards for Monte Vista’s third TD.
Again, the Bobcats managed to prevent the conversion, but after falling behind 20-0 managed very little during the quarter’s last 6:44. Meanwhile, the Pirates would add three more TDs – a 21-yard Hunter Pacheco run with 4:50 left, a 34-yard Mellott-Gunter connection with 3:27 left, and a 20-yard Mellott-to-Dusty Duran pass with 1:18 left – plus two two-pointers in constructing an incredible 42-0 advantage.
“I think our line could have done a little better in getting there faster,” said Pargin, “but they had some big ol’ guys out there; that made it a little difficult.”
“You know, right now everybody’s hurt,” Campbell had said, following IHS’ 32-13 home loss the previous Friday to unsung Center. “I don’t know how we’re going to pan out … but hopefully the attitude will be positive in a moving-forward way.”
Tucson unofficially finished with 90 yards passing on 9-of-23 accuracy, with Riepel catching five passes for 52 yards and Montoya four for 38. On the ground, however, junior Anthony Toledo netted but four yards on ten carries, Riepel minus-4 on one and Tucson minus-8 on four, but junior lineman Jace Carmenoros gained ten in a late, two-carry backfield cameo.
Mellott finished 3-for-3 passing for 94 yards, while Gunter rushed three times for 55 and Pacheco two for 27.
Monday morning, Oct. 18, Ignacio Athletic Director Leo Garand emailed media that the Bobcats will unfortunately be forfeiting – certainly due to player-safety concerns resulting from low personnel numbers – their slated Oct. 22 home game against Southern Peaks frontrunners Centauri.
Ranked No. 2 in the CHSAANow.com Class 1A poll behind only Limon, the fully loaded Falcons will improve to 2-0 in the SPC and 7-0 overall, after previously routing non-conference Northfield 41-12 Sat., Oct. 16, up in Denver. The 2A Flatirons-leading Nighthawks, originally slated to face Federal Heights-based The Pinnacle that day inside All City Stadium, had won four straight – including a 42-0 shutout of Arvada Faith Christian – coming in.