Attacking No. 7 St. Pius X won’t be easy for the youthful Scorpions, but head coach Gary Bradley is ready to see show some midseason maturation tonight.
“We are trying to form an identity. This is the time of year where guys have to start making big plays,” Bradley said. “It is time for the whole team to grow up a bit and we are looking forward to that this week and the rest of the year. It is about the team coming together and accepting responsibility for everything we do.”
No. 12 Farmington (3-2) used their familiar balanced ground attack to wear down Valencia in the second half as the Scorps overcame a 3-0 halftime deficit to win a week ago.
Brian Farley and Essiel Carrasco combined for over 130 yards and two touchdowns, and Kyle Reynolds ran a punt back for a touchdown in the second half for the Scorpions.
“Guys like Carrasco, Farley, Reynolds and Jacob Lucas have shown the ability to go make big plays, but those big plays don’t happen without the other guys on the field,” Bradley said. “We need to see everyone step up and do their jobs.”
Farmington will need more big plays like Reynolds’ to upset the No. 7 Sartans.
“St. Pius is very aggressive on both sides of the ball.
They have great athletes who get after it,” Bradley said.
The Sartans (3-2) have had mixed results this season, either winning or losing in blowout fashion.
The three wins for St. Pius over Albuquerque, Los Alamos and Bernalillo came by a combined score of 138-13.
Their two losses, however, were by a combined score of 69-18, including last week’s 41-6 loss to No. 3 Los Lunas.
“St. Pius runs the ball mostly. They use two quarterbacks. I am not sure what their philosophy is with that, but one passes a little better and they both can run,” Bradley said.
Farmington’s losses have been a result of 16 turnovers, but they corrected that issue against Valencia, fumbling just once.
If the Scorps can maintain possession and control the clock with their running game, then they could pull out the upset over the higher ranked Sartans.
“They are a good school and down the road there will be big playoff implications here,” Bradley said. “It would really benefit us to go in there and show the big guys we can play football up here. Almost the whole rest of our district is playing these guys, and we want to get after them first.”
No. 21 Bernalillo at No. 4 Piedra Vista
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Hutchison Stadium
What to watch: Piedra Vista’s homecoming game should be a breeze against Bernalillo tonight.
The No. 4 Panthers (5-0) are coming off a huge 49-0 win against No. 10 Moriarty and there is no evidence the train will quit rolling against the No. 21 Spartans (0-5).
PV’s running game should have no problem finding holes to run through against a Bernalillo defense that has allowed 155 points in five games so far this season.
Bernalillo has had some success on offense against lesser competition this year, but was held to just seven points by No. 7 St. Pius two weeks ago.
Expect PV’s defenders to force more turnovers this week and the offense to capitalize.
If junior quarterback Isaiah Valdez continues his trend of starting hot while securing the ball, Bernalillo will be playing catch up pretty quickly.
No. 13 Del Norte at No. 6 Aztec
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Fred Cook Memorial Stadium
What to watch: Aztec’s tough first four games of the 2012 season are now in the rear view mirror and the Tigers can put all of their attention toward finishing the non-district season with a .500 record.
No. 6 Aztec (1-3) plays host to No. 13 Del Norte (2-3) tonight as the Tigers hope to establish some momentum on their home turf of Fred Cook Memorial Stadium.
Aztec gets two home games in a row for the first time this season beginning with the Knights and continuing next week against No. 7 St. Pius X.
It will be the only back-to-back home games for Aztec this season.
After losing to 5A Manzano a week ago, the Tigers should have plenty of confidence facing a weaker 4A team in Del Norte.
The Knights are a run-centered offense that rarely if ever passes the ball. Aztec can feel free to load the box and try to limit the two-headed rushing attack of Daryl Wiggins and Tyrelle Jackson.
Del Norte has scored just 39 points all season in five games and have been blown out by Belen and Los Lunas this season.
Expect senior quarterback Adam Lucero, who has passed for an average of 253.8 yards per game, to slice up the Knights defense.
It will also be a good chance for Aztec to get the running game going.
If the Tigers can play with the lead, expect to see Ryneal Lewis-Adams and Cody Rinerson get a fair share of work in the backfield.
Aztec beat Del Norte 68-13 on the road a year ago, and a similar result can be expected at home tonight.
No. 18 Gallup at No. 19 Kirtland Central
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Bronco Stadium
What to watch : After opening with four consecutive road games, the Broncos finally kickoff their home schedule Friday night with a contest against No. 18 Gallup.
Kirtland is coming off their first victory of the season, defeating Española Valley in blowout fashion 41-0 as the Broncos moved their record to 1-3.
Gallup (2-3) struggled to start the season, losing the first two games to Farmington and Atrisco by a combined score of 101-0. Since those losses, the Bengals have won their last two games, including a 31-27 win over Bernalillo last Friday.
Gallup struggled to defend the run against Farmington earlier this season, so expect Kirtland to pound the ball on the ground just as they did in win against the Sun Devils.
Alex Kamae, Bryceson Arthur and Jacob Belin combined for over 300 yards on the ground in the Broncos’ win last week and will hope to put up a similar performance against the Bengals.
The Kirtland defense will also be fired up after shutting out Española in four quarters last week.
Expect the Broncos to be fired up to play in front of their home crowd, giving the Broncos an emotional edge in what should be a competitive contest.
“The players, coaches, cheerleaders and band members are all excited for us to finally have a home game,” said Kirtland assistant coach John Zecca.
No. 5 Bloomfield at Miyamura
When: 7 p.m.
What to watch : A big win on homecoming night moved Bloomfield up the 3A rankings, but the going will be tough tonight in Gallup as Bloomfield faces a tough 4A Miyamura Patriots team.
The Bobcats’ offense came alive last Saturday in a 37-7 win against No. 11 Hope Christian. The defense also did its part, and now a fired up Bloomfield (2-2) team heads back out on the road.
Establishing momentum from week to week has been difficult for Bloomfield and head coach Bruce Hatch. Each win has been followed by a tough road test against 4A competition.
Facing 4A’s No. 11-ranked team Miyamura will be yet another tough challenge.
Miyamura has also had two weeks to prepare for Bloomfield after a 42-20 road loss at Aztec.
Expect the Patriots, led by savvy quarterback Zach Shank to find an offensive rhythm that will be up to the Bobcats’ defense to stop.
It will be vital for Bloomfield to force a few turnovers and put pressure on Shank while he drops back to pass while not allowing Shank to get outside of the pocket to break big runs.
Bloomfield junior quarterback Bobby Lyon has shown poise at home so far this year, but will need to eliminate turnovers and costly mistakes on the road, especially when Bloomfield gets inside the Patriots’ red zone.
Expect Josh Archibeque to get plenty of touches for Bloomfield out of the backfield or split out wide at receiver.
If Bloomfield can stay in the game for its entirety, the Bobcats will once again have a chance to show the rest of 3A that they can be a force in the playoffs.
No. 20 Navajo Prep at No. 17 Ramah
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Leslie Clawson Stadium, Ramah
What to watch : Coming off a disappointing loss on the road to Santa Fe Indian School, the Navajo Prep Eagles look to solve their road woes this week in Ramah.
Navajo Prep (2-3) has lost both road contest so far in 2012 and have scored just 20 points in those road games compared to 122 in three home games.
Ramah (2-1) has had no problem scoring this season, taking convincing wins against Thoreau (62-14) and Newcomb (36-0).
The Fighting Eagles beat the same Thoreau team 54-12.
Those numbers tell us this should be a close contest, though Ramah may be favored at home.
Navajo Prep needs to find a way to get big plays out of the passing game as it did in the early weeks of the season.
The Fighting Eagles need every game to make an argument for the post season, though the Fighting Eagles’ only chance at the playoffs will come via winning the District 1-2A season, which begins against Newcomb in two weeks.