ALAMOSA — A windy day blew over into a rather mild evening. A perfect setting for the aerial offense that Del Norte’s Tigers (1-5-0) run on the gridiron. Against Norwood (4-3-0) however the offense couldn’t find traction and the result was a 36-6 defeat to their league opponents.
Del Norte opened the season with two straight losses. After a close shave earned the Tigers a home win over Dolores Huerta the Tigers tried their hand against undefeated Mancos, battling all the way to the final gun in a 24-21 contest. The Tigers went from forcing a close game that week to watching Dove Creek blow past them 62-26 the next.
This week it was anyone’s guess which Del Norte team would show up. Dr. Jekyll that played Mancos to one possession, or Mr. Hyde that took one on the chin from Dove Creek.
It was an inauspicious start for the Tigers on Thursday night from Rex Field at Adams State. Norwood showed flashes of the passing game that keeps defense honest on the opening drive. A 38-yard pass from Will Gabriel to Austin Overholt set up a 1-yard touchdown run from Gabriel four plays later. The Mavericks tried to capitalize on their opening momentum with an on side kick but Del Norte covered it at midfield.
Norwood wasn’t hurt by the decision as the Tigers first play was a fumble and a turnover. Norwood’s drive covered 28 yards before a fumble would up in Del Norte junior Anthony Balderas’ hands to give the Tigers another chance. Unfortunately Del Norte couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and were forced to punt. The rush forced a keeper and subsequently a turnover on downs on the home team’s nine-yard line. The result was another touchdown to give the Mavericks a 14-0 lead.
On Del Norte’s fourth drive of the first half Keegan Medina found Izeah Peterson for 12 yards to their own 32-yard line. Two fouls and two incompletions later Medina put one in the breadbasket for Kaleb Batzer who took it for a 64 yard gain to the two-yard line. The drive was brought to an abrupt end by a fumbled snap. Three plays later the Mavericks fumbled the ball back and sophomore Isaac Peerman recovered for the Tigers at the two-yard line.
On second and goal, Izeah Peterson got the call in the flat and Del Norte cut the lead to 14-6. With Norwood’s next drive came the answer, a 25- yard run from Gabriel the two-pointer making it 22-6.
Three unproductive drives later and that was the score going to the locker rooms. In the second half the two teams had a beat on one another. With Norwoord being a run first team Del Norte seemed to do a better job sealing the edge and keeping runs contained. On the flip side of that coin the Mavericks keyed in on Del Norte’s success, grounding the typically aerial Tigers with more aggressive blitzes. Turnovers continued to play a role in the game down the stretch with two in addition to the first half’s five.
Despite making some successful adjustments Del Norte was unable to reach the endzone for the remainder of the contest. Norwood drove a final coffin nail in the form of a 9 yard touchdown run by Gabriel, his third of the night with under ten to play.
Del Norte will continue with their league schedule when they go on the road to Sanford next Friday at 7 p.m.