Sun Nov 3rd, 2013
Special to the Drum
Tags: Adam Herrera, Adison Jones, Alex Lopez, Antonio Torres, blaine mickey, Centauri, Chris Trusler, Dalton Madden, Deano Valdez, Del Norte, Ethan Upton, Jalen Balderrama, Mikeal Ford, Monte Vista, Nick Herrera, Southern Peaks Conference, Tristan Medina, Wray, wyatt hayes
Despite 50-0 win, backdoor to playoffs closed on IHS
Just when it appeared Dolores had nothing left to lose other than the football which, on Friday, Oct. 25, they’d already given away five times – they found something: their quarterback.
The fact that, after a few seconds prone on DHS Coliseum’s muddied field, freshman Tristan Medina was able to wobble back to the home sideline on his own feet was worth the wave of applause Ignacio defensive lineman Alex Lopez’s flattening had initially generated.
“It’s a great feeling right there,” said the big junior, of his third-quarter pop just three snaps after a 70-yard Adison Jones-to-Adam Herrera connection enacted the running-clock “mercy rule” scenario against the Bears.
Three plays later, Bobcat sophomore Wyatt Hayes booked the visitors’ sixth takeaway with an interception of unprepared Jalen Balderrama, and the resulting eight-play drive – carrying over into the fourth quarter – yielded a 1-yard TD run by junior Blaine Mickey. Jones’ 2-point toss to sophomore Nick Herrera then gave the Cats their targeted total of 50 as they sought to sneak into the Class 1A Playoffs.
“We knew coming in here we should have a good chance at dominating,” Jones said. “But once we got that first touchdown, it just started rolling. Points piled up. Everything went right.”
But when it appeared IHS had nothing to lose, except maybe a postseason spot, it was nearly lost.
Junior Dalton Madden, coach Chris Trusler’s fourth player used under center, heaved a 26-yard jump-ball to the front corner of the end zone, and big senior Ethan Upton was awarded the shutout-breaking touchdown after having a more convincing hold on the ball than the much-smaller Hayes.
Not until after the official’s arms shot up to signal the score (with 0:00 on the clock) did any Dolores head swivel backwards to see a yellow flag – an obvious holding infraction – in the backfield, permanently keeping the 50-0 margin intact.
Unfortunately it still ended up not being enough; Selection Sunday came and went two days later without CHSAA awarding IHS (6-3, 3-2 Southern Peaks Conference) a berth into the 16-team bracket.
“For me it’s kind of a disappointment, because it’s my last year,” Adam Herrera said. “I’m going to miss playing with all these guys, especially my brother [Joseph Herrera]. But it was good; I had fun!”
Centauri (8-1, 5-0) received the 3-seed and will face No. 14 Wray (5-4 overall), and Monte Vista (7-2, 4-1) got the No. 5 and a first-round test with 12-seed defending state champions Cedaredge (6-3).
“We knew we had to get the score up on them, to even have a chance [at playoffs],” Jones said. “Our run game … we were trying to get that going early. But the conditions … everyone just slipping … we just went to our pass game and that worked for us.”
Still stoked by their Homecoming Week’s 55-0 flogging of Del Norte, Ignacio went right to work after Nick Herrera recovered a DHS fumble on the opening kickoff. Starting at the enemy’s 10-yard line, Mickey crashed in from two on the game’s third run/play, and Jones then hit Nick Herrera for the 8-0 lead.
Behind Upton, classmate Rusher Ammon and junior Mikeal Ford, the Bears (1-7, 1-4) countered with what would be their finest work of the SPC clash, but Medina’s first pass attempt of the night went incomplete and killed the 12-play, 66-yard march at the IHS 24.
Jones, however, lost his grip on the ball back at the 17 on first down. But after gaining eight yards on the ensuing first down, DHS’s Deano Valdez also couldn’t keep control through contact and Nick Herrera (again) recovered at the 9 with 4:05 still left in the first quarter.
Jones’ first pass gained eight yards to Hayes, but a penalty then resituated the ball back at the 7. After an incompletion Jones then threw mid-range to Adam Herrera, whose speed then did the rest – stretching the play out for 93 yards and six points. The conversion toss failed, but the 14-0 lead was solid.
“Kind of a good thing,” laughed the senior, “because I lost footing on a toss [on Ignacio’s first second-quarter play] and missed the ball! It was hard, everyone slipping. … We’re all filthy now!”
With 6:10 remaining before halftime Ignacio re-found the end zone, with Jefferson taking a run-of-the-mill Jones throw and turning on his own jets for a 59-yard TD. Jones’ conversion run was stopped, but he put up the two on his next attempt – after a four-yard touchdown to Hayes with 1:51 left.
The Cats then went 52 yards in four quick plays, using just over a minute, starting the second half with Hayes hauling in a 20-yard score. The conversion run again failed, but so did Dolores’ reply – a seven-play (all runs), 35-yard surge down to Ignacio’s 25 – when Mickey pounced upon a Medina fumble.
Jones then promptly found Adam Herrera on a short pass that rapidly became a 67-yard TD. Wiped out by a spot penalty, leaving the play officially standing as a two-yard gain out to the IHS 35, Jones went back to the well once again after a false-start penalty backed the offense up another five yards.
“We came prepared and ready to go! … Went in and scored right off the bat,” Herrera said. “And our team did good; defense did everything we needed to do, offense as well, and special teams came along too.”
All told, Jones finished with an awesome 407 yards on 21-of-33 accuracy with no interceptions against five touchdowns. Herrera caught five passes for 193 yards (and gained 26 yards on five carries), Jefferson snagged four for 74, Hayes six for 76, and Nick Herrera six for 64.
Able to move the chains through the muck, the Bears mustered 192 yards rushing, led by Ford’s 71 on 10 carries and Upton’s 49 on eight. Medina finished 3-of-5 passing for just nine yards, and Ford’s lone aerial attempt was intercepted by IHS senior Antonio Torres with 1:06 left in the second.
“It’s good,” Jefferson said of Bobcat Football’s resurgence in 2013. “Turnaround this season and … some revenge on some of the teams that have beaten us.”