Bobcats’ slate features champs’ visit

Equipment awaits use before Ignacio's 2013 season. 2014 officially gets underway with practice on August 11.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Non-conference to test IHS in 2014


As it stands at present, Ignacio’s itinerary for the rapidly-approaching 2014 football season has plenty of it – and Bobcat fans will be getting a first-hand view of the USDA-prime ‘

That is to say, with defending Class 1A champions Paonia (on Sept. 5th) and runners-up Centauri (Oct. 10th) each making a lengthy trip to the Pine River Valley, IHS will have a pair of shining opportunities to show that, perhaps, they were more State Playoffs-worthy—finishing 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the Southern Peaks Conference – last fall than thought by the CHSAA selectors in Aurora.

According to the Activities Calendar on Ignacio High’s website, practices officially begin August 11, with a team mini-camp running in the evenings from the 4th through 9th. So knowing that, here’s an early overview of the hard-hitting road (as it’s currently been paved) ahead:

August 22, IHS at Hotchkiss … A stout test in Zero Week, the Bulldogs went 7-3 overall in 2013, 4-1 in the 1A Western Slope Conference (second place, behind PHS), and made the postseason but lost at home to Burlington in the first round. Not exactly the sort of dire circumstances urgently warranting a change at the top, but that’s still what happened at HHS.

The ’Dogs will have to adjust to the new coaching philosophies of a face recently made more familiar to Ignacio – former 2A Aspen boss Mike Sirko, as Zac Lemon left to man the helm at 2A Eaton, replacing the recently-retired Bill Mondt (once the head coach at the University of New Mexico from 1974-79; 19 of his former Lobos were either NFL Draft picks or later entries into the league).

September 5th, Paonia at IHS … Surely the Eagles graduated more than a few essential gears in 2013’s 12-1 machine, but that won’t stop the highest of expectations from resting on the minds of Brent McRae, his staff and his returning players this season.

Five-for-five in the WSC, en route to winning the State Championship at home over CHS, three of Paonia’s four games (also including a first-round win over Colorado Springs Christian and a second-round win over Monte Vista) in the State Playoffs were held in town. A semifinals win over Buena Vista, however, did prove the Eagles had a knack to attack (and take over) enemy turf.

Sept. 12th, Pagosa Springs at IHS … Skipper Scott Spoede’s Pirates sailed some treacherous waters last fall, and finished 3-6 overall—their three victories (and four of their defeats) all coming in 2A Western Conference action, and one of those by forfeit when Parachute Grand Valley had to relinquish an apparent 39-21 win.

Sept. 19th, IHS at Montezuma-Cortez … Casey Coulter’s Panthers weren’t much better – if at all – than PSHS last fall. Finishing 3-7, M-CHS’ wins (and five of their losses) also all came at the expense of their conference-mates – the 3A Western Slope, in this case.

One defeat, unfortunately in their season opener, came at the expense of 1A Cedaredge – hinting that 2013 would, like so many seasons past, be an uphill climb. Dropping down into the newly-formed 2A Southwestern Conference won’t exactly improve the odds of success; Montezuma-Cortez completes a circuit already including former 2A Western-ers Alamosa, Bayfield, PSHS, Olathe and Gunnison.

Sept. 26th, IHS at John Mall … Another week, another road trip, another set of Panthers.

Wrapping up the season’s first full month with their SPC opener, Ignacio will make the easterly haul out to Huerfano County’s seat of Walsenburg to face a JMHS squad that finished 1-8 overall – and 0-7 in the eight-team 1A Tri-Peaks – last fall under Davey Crockett, since replaced by Mike Vigil.

Themselves new to the SoPeaks in ’14, John Mall’s lone triumph last year came in a season-opening, 56-0 shellacking of SPC members Del Norte. But only two other contests were actually such, decided by a touchdown or less; SPC’ers Center set in motion JMHS’ downward spiral when the Panthers fell by 15 in the San Luis Valley.

October 3rd, IHS at Monte Vista … The Pirates, coming off an 8-3 season including a first-round Playoffs win, will again serve as a major measuring stick for the ’Cats to gauge themselves against.

Oct. 10th, Centauri at IHS … Kyle Forster’s Falcons went 11-2 overall, and a first-place 5-0 in the SPC – locked up by a narrow 14-0 home win over MVHS – before reeling off Playoffs victories over Wray, Burlington and Limon prior to meeting Paonia. Fans that missed last year’s aerial show at Falcon Field will enjoy the quarterbacking matchup between Ignacio’s Adison Jones and CHS’ K.C. Jarvies.

Oct. 17th, Center at IHS … Always an entertaining clash, the emerging Vikings matched the Bobcats’ overall win-loss record last season, but finished a game back in the conference standings as Ignacio prevailed 38-26 last year. Lee Flood’s blue-and-white crew, however, were hit solidly by graduation and will be without standouts Luis Mariscal and Gustavo Nungaray.

Oct. 24th, Dolores at IHS … Visuals of last season’s cold and muddy – Ignacio had the pleasure of wearing their white uniforms, and a good many supporters had the displeasure of washing them – melee at the DHS Coliseum won’t be forgotten by die-hard IHS fans.

The Bears, trying to rebuild after a 1-7, 1-4 campaign, will hope to forget the 50-0 score and prepare for their SPC rivals knowing that several ’Cats responsible [including receivers Clayton Jefferson and Adam Herrera] for the one-sided shutout have since concluded their student-athlete days at IHS.

Only problem is, many more have not, including Jones targets Wyatt Hayes and Nick Herrera.

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