ALAMOSA — Friday night will be a big home weekend for valley teams. Seven spots around the valley will be hosting football games this weekend. Del Norte’s home game will be multi-faceted, Del Norte will be playing on a newly completed field for homecoming against league rival Dove Creek. The Bulldogs present a challenge to Del Norte for their home game on Friday.
The two schools have had an annual contest ever since Del Norte moved down from 1A in 2014. In that span, Dove Creek owns the series 4-1 by a combined score of 163- 46. The Bulldogs also took the most recent meeting by a 62-26 margin last year.
On paper, the contest reads as an uphill battle for the host Tigers. Del Norte (2-2) currently holds the No. 18 spot by Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), 6 spots back from the Bulldogs (4-1). Dove Creek also earned a placing on the coaches’ poll picking up 4 points and finishing outside the top ten in Sept. 30’s rankings Del Norte has been absent from the coaches’ poll since Sept. 9th.
When Dove Creek has the ball on Friday the Dogs typically stick to the ground game running at an 80 percent clip. Out of the backfield, the majority of rushes are split by quarterback Chorbin Cressler and running back Gage Bailey. Both young men combine for 968 yards and 16 touchdowns. Though when Cressler and Bailey aren’t carrying the ball their spell backs are equally dangerous. Gauge Thompson and Cade Hankins both put up over 10 yards per carry and have tallied five touchdowns in their own right.
Using his arm Cressler has gone 19 of 44 for 355 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception. Being that no Bulldog receivers have a recorded a catch longer than 50 yards the passing game figures to be a threat as the field shrinks.
Defensively, Del Norte is something of a fish out of water in the 8 Man class. Despite residing in a majority run happy class, the Tigers key in on the pass. Of 11 recorded touchdowns against Del Norte, all have been on the ground. The ability to ground opponents has come from a productive pass rush, three Tigers rushers Isiah Lujan, Diego Heredia and Preston Terrell all combine for 10 sacks.
Offensively the Tigers prescribe to the run-first mentality of the class handing the ball off on 93 percent of recorded plays. Del Norte’s main rushing threat coming from senior Marcos Romero. Romero has collected 290 yards for 5 touchdowns and averages 9.1 yards per carry.
Defensively Dove Creek has been pretty dominant in their wins allowing an average of 15 points. They also average 42-points per game as their margin of victory. Del Norte hosts Dove Creek on Friday at 6 p.m.
Also home for Friday night are Monte Vista, Alamosa, Sanford and Center. Sargent would be hosting but were the beneficiary of a forfeit from Norwood earlier this week so they are back on track for a winning season at 3-2.
In Alamosa, the Moose (3-1) will look to find their way back after suffering the first loss of the season after allowing a staggering 28 points to Lamar in the first quarter, ultimately falling by a score of 48-25. This week Alamosa takes on Bayfield (1-3). In a flip from the usual, Alamosa has the upper hand. Since the Mean Moose dropped down to 2A in 2010 Bayfield has owned the series with a perfect 7-0 record. With the Wolverines off to their worst start in that time, Alamosa will be looking to capitalize and buck the last decade of history. Alamosa hosts Bayfield Friday at 7 p.m.
Monte Vista (0-4) will set out in search of their first win of the season. And they will get a good chance to do just that as visiting the Pirates on Friday will be Dolores (0-4). By RPI the Bears are the third-worst team in the state. Kickoff against Dolores is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday. It’s a mixed bag for the Pirates looking forward – next weekend the Pirates will be on the road against Centauri (4-1) and the following weekend they’ll visit Ignacio (0-4), who ranks last in the state.
To the south, Sanford (4-0) will host Custer County (2-3). Despite having some wins, the Bobcats register in the bottom 15 of the class by RPI and Friday figures to deliver Sanford their 5th win of the year. It will be important to focus on the Bobcats rather than looking forward to next week’s opponent, undefeated No. 3 Mancos (4-0). Sanford hosts Custer County Friday at 6 p.m.
Also home Friday night will be Center (3-1). The Vikings enjoy a winning record, the lone loss coming to Olathe in a 27-0 shutout. This weekend presents a test in No. 5 Centauri (3-1). The Falcon’s took last year’s meeting in Centauri by a 55-19 margin. Center and Centauri do battle Friday at 7 p.m.