BLOOMFIELD — On a cold night in Bloomfield, Bobcat quarterback Bobby Lyon was on fire.
Lyon competed 15-22 passes for 346 yards and five touchdowns as No. 5 Bloomfield cruised to the District 1-3A title, defeating No. 15 Shiprock 55-0 Friday night.
“It’s big for the playoffs,” Lyon said about the win. “We hope to keep this momentum going.”
The Bloomfield junior quarterback has matured throughout the season and has been a large reason for the Bobcats’ run through the district season.
“They stacked the box, and we tried to run a little bit, but they just kept daring him to throw,” said Bloomfield head coach Bruce Hatch. “He’s really come a long way since the first game this season and has done a tremendous job.”
Shiprock head coach Don Story thought his Chieftains were simply outgunned by the deep Bobcats’ squad.
“We’re missing a three kids tonight, but it wouldn’t have made much difference. They’re better than us right now,” Story said. “We’re going to have to step it up to compete with them. I hope they do well in the playoffs. They have a good shot.”
The Bobcats (6-4, 3-0 District 1-3A) opened the scoring with just over four minutes left in the first quarter when Lyon hit wide receiver Sheldon Begaii on a screen pass that Begaii took 48 yards for a touchdown.
Bloomfield’s offense was bogged down by a few penalties in the first quarter, but the Bobcats opened the flood gates on the first play of the second quarter.
Senior running back Josh Archibeque pushed the Bloomfield lead to 14-0 when he scored from 14 yards out.
Archibeque finished the game with 169 yards receiving, 71 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Following a Shiprock fumble, Lyon struck for a second time, hitting Tytis Nez on a 16-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the endzone.
Archibeque made his presence known on the defensive side of the ball, forcing a Hiram Gleason fumble in the Shiprock (5-5, 2-1) backfield, giving the Bobcats good field position on the Chieftain side of the field.
Lyon took advantage, finding Begaii for a second time in the half, this time from 18 yards out for a Bobcat score.
Begaii caught four passes for 94 yards in the win.
Shiprock finally gained some momentum on offense, driving the ball to the Bobcat 21 late in the second quarter, but the drive was snuffed out as Bloomfield’s Adrian Vigil intercepted Shiprock quarterback Adam Begaye.
It took the Bobcats just 41 seconds to capitalize off the Shiprock turnover as Lyon threw a deep ball that was hauled in by Archibeque for a 50-yard touchdown as the Bobcats took a 34-0 lead into the halftime break.
Bloomfield didn’t miss a beat to start the second half.
After recovering an onside kick, the Bobcats scored 57 seconds into the half on an 11-yard touchdown run from Anthony Whisenhunt. Adrian Vigil ran in the two-point conversion to push the lead to 42-0.
The Bobcats’ extend the lead on the next drive.
Following an Archibeque interception of Begaye, Lyon tossed a screen pass to Archibeque that he took 68 yards for a score.
Vigil scored a touchdown from 14 yards out with 2:39 to play in the third quarter to end the game via the mercy rule.
Bloomfield knows they’ll have to take their game to another level in order to make a deep run in the playoffs.
“I don’t think we played our best tonight. We looked better in practice,” Archibeque said. “I think those easy games got to us, and we thought this one would be easy because it’s Shiprock. It woke us up a bit. A lot of guys got bruises.”
The Bobcat defense shut out its district opposition, winning the three games by a combined score of 160-0. They haven’t allowed a point since an Oct. 12 loss to Farmington.
“It started against Kirtland, and we just got on roll,” Hatch said. “Nobody has scored on us and we’ve put up a ton of points. It’s a whole other ball game, though, when it gets to the playoffs and it’s win or go home.”
Bloomfield outgained Shiprock 475-67 in total yards and forced six Chieftain turnovers.
“The defense has been unstoppable. They are a brick wall,” Lyon said.
The Bobcats will await their playoff fate, expecting to either land a bye as the four seed, or open at home as the five seed.
“I want the week off and then to play one more time in front of my home town,” Archibeque said.
The Shiprock season is likely over with the loss, and Story has few regrets going into the offseason.
“We lost a couple in the middle of the season that I thought we could have won,” he said. “But overall, with the injuries we’ve had, these kids kept fighting and showed a lot of heart.”