By STEPHEN JIRON
Courier Sports Editor
BLANCA — Sierra Grande got a chance to put the past behind them on Friday afternoon when they hosted La Veta. The visitors on Saturday held a winning streak against Sierra Grande that dated back to 2005. Sierra Grande put the streak to rest with a 42-14 win to take their home opener. “It was nice to get a win especially at home, they’re a good team a lot of talent on that side,” said Sierra Grande Head Coach Luis Corona “we just came out and set the tone early and it just propelled (us) through the whole game.”
Sierra Grande got things going on Friday through the air when AJ Ojeda connected with Isiah Chairez from 23 yards out to go up 6-0. The hits just kept coming for the Panthers, Lennie Valdez picked off an errant throw on the home ten-yard line. On the second play of the ensuing drive, the Ojeda-Chairez connection would strike again, this time going the distance for a 70-yard score to make it 12-0 early. Sierra Grande would cash in on two more touchdowns before the half, one a rush by junior Caleb Scharsch the other Ojeda and Chairez’s third of the day to create a solid 24-0 lead going to the locker rooms.
Back from the half, the Panther defense stood tall forcing a turnover on downs. The offense sputtered at first, moving two yards in the wrong direction. That was when Sierra Grande’s Ojeda would dial long-distance finding Scharsch on a 52-yard score to go up 30-0 with five minutes remaining in the third quarter. La Veta would get on the board returning the ensuing kick-off for a touchdown. The visiting team’s touchdown was quickly buried as Ojeda would add two more touchdowns to his impressive tally totaling 6 touchdowns passing on the day to press the Panther advantage to 42-6. Midway through the fourth and La Veta’s Zamir Holguin broke loose getting La Veta’s second touchdown of the day, the two-point attempt was good finalizing the score at 42-14 giving Sierra Grande a season-opening win.
Ojeda’s main two targets were hard at work. Chairez finished his day with 3 touchdowns receiving, while Scharsch caught 3 touchdowns of his own and added a fourth to his total on the ground. Scharsch was a known weapon entering the game, but Isiah Chairez stepped out showing his potential and will get an opportunity to improve on last year’s numbers. Chairez led Sierra Grande in receiving yards in 2018 with 276 yards in just 4 games. “I think now we have a two-headed monster, we don’t depend on one person,” said Coach Corona of his sophomore receiver’s place in the offense “and we got a few others that are going to be coming along.”
Sierra Grande will welcome Briggsdale (0-1) to the mountain on September 6th, next weekend’s meeting will have a noon start time.