Football: Farmington, Bloomfield look to stay on top; Navajo Prep faces unbeaten Ignacio

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times
Farmington quarterback Brandon Furbee looks downfield before attempting a pass in the first quarter of the Scorpions 53-13 win over Belen, Friday, Aug. 27 at Hutchison Stadium

FARMINGTON — Week five of the high school football season is upon us, and with it comes some final opportunities for teams to find their identity before district play begins in a few weeks.

Piedra Vista finally got a chance to play a full game last weekend after being forced to shut their last couple down early due to weather. The Panthers knocked off Kirtland Central, improving to 3-1 on the season.

Meantime, the Broncos, sitting at 1-3 still need to address myriad defensive struggles which have seen them surrender an average of more than 34 points per game.

High school football: Farmington's defensive dynamo: Scorpion senior linebacker Aaron Hewey leading by example

Navajo Prep bounced back in a big way last weekend, defeating Crownpoint and improving to 2-1 on the season, while Aztec gets to step away from a brutal 2-game stretch in which they were beaten by a combined margin of 108-0.

Bloomfield and Farmington, both of whom come into this weekend unbeaten and among the highest ranked teams in the state, will look to keep their perfect seasons intact.

Here's a look at Friday night's football matchups.

Scorpions' attention not focused on polls ahead of clash with Durango

Durango (2-1) at Farmington (4-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

It will be a battle of defending champions, as the visiting Demons hope to make a successful run towards repeating last year's Class 3A state championship in Colorado, while Farmington, coming off a perfect season last spring during an abbreviated campaign which ended with a bowl victory over Mayfield last April, face their toughest opponent to date.

High school football: Farmington's defensive dynamo: Scorpion senior linebacker Aaron Hewey leading by example

The Daily Times will feature that home field Friday night showdown in our Game of the Week live blog, updating events as they unfold at www.daily-times.com. Game time is 7 p.m. at Hutchison Stadium and our blog goes live around 6:30 p.m.

The Scorpions haven't lost a game since Nov. 16, 2019, when they were knocked out of the Class 5A playoffs by Deming. 

Farmington's defense has been stingy to say the least, and their offense has been explosive both on the ground and through the air, which could be a big advantage for the Scorpions Friday night. 

Farmington's defensive dynamo: Scorpion senior linebacker Aaron Hewey leading by example

"It's an advantage and it's not," Scorpion head coach Jeff Dalton said earlier this week. "(Quarterback Brandon) Furbee is still learning the system and I don't think we as coaches have even come close to seeing what he's capable of doing."

For Durango, coming off their first loss of the season last weekend at Montrose, coach Todd Casebier is hoping the team will have learned from the experience ahead of an important non-district game.

High school football: Piedra Vista High running back Jacob Ramsted ready to take Panthers to next level

"We saw a lot of things we were not sound in during the last game," Casebier said. "Some things where we weren't physical so we made some mistakes and now we have to correct those things because we know Farmington will exploit them." 

Bloomfield edges clear late to hand Albuquerque Academy first loss of football season

Bloomfield (4-0) at Miyamura (2-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Coming off their most challenging win of the season last weekend at home over Albuquerque Academy, the Bloomfield Bobcats face a Miyamura squad coming off a tough home loss to Belen.

"We needed a wake-up call," Bobcats coach Mike Kovacs said of the 35-21 win over Albuquerque Academy last weekend. "It showed me how resilient we are and that we can make adjustments on the fly."

Led by head coach Sean Reeves, Miyamura will likely try and feature running back Isaiah Martinez who has been a big factor in the Patriots offense this season.

Bayfield (1-1) at Aztec (1-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

It may be wise to take with a grain of salt the two most recent results for the Tigers, outscored in back-to-back games by Farmington and Durango by equal 54-0 margins.

Being back home, against a Class 2A opponent from Colorado and playing in front of an enthusiastic homecoming night crowd, may be just the recipe to get back on track, according to Eric Stovall.

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"We went back and looked at what we did in those last two games and where we fell short," Stovall said. "We've been working on those things and had a good week of practice and we're ready to get back to playing our brand of football."

The Wolverines picked up their first win on the season earlier this month, knocking off Englewood 26-13. Led by head coach Gary Heide, Bayfield will once again look to senior quarterback Isaac Ross, who has a pair of solid playmakers and downfield threats like receivers William Sullivan and Caden Wood, each of who have collected 13 catches this season.

Piedra Vista quarterback Logan Howell throws a pass to running back Jacob Ramsted during a game against Atrisco Heritage Academy on Friday, September 3, at Hutchison Stadium.

Piedra Vista (3-1) at Belen (1-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Panthers head coach Jared Howell feels as if the corrections that needed to be made are getting addressed as the team comes off a strong victory last weekend over Kirtland Central.

Piedra Vista High running back Jacob Ramsted ready to take Panthers to next level

"I felt like we did a pretty good job all things considered," Howell said earlier this week. "We had to tighten things up defensively and I thought we were in a position to make plays."

Belen opened the season with back-to-back losses before getting a much-needed 23-7 win last weekend against Miyamura. Coached by Andrew McCraw, the Eagles will look to playmakers like Sam Tibbs and Aiden Padilla to keep Piedra Vista off balance.

Kirtland Central (1-3) at Pagosa Springs (0-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

The Kirtland Central offense was held to only one score last weekend when losing to Piedra Vista. Prior to that, the Broncos were averaging nearly 40 points per game, mostly due to the efforts of running back Zakk Thomas, who leads the team in every statistical category this season.

Thomas provided the only real offensive highlight for the Broncos last weekend, scoring on a 50-yard touchdown run in the second half. Head coach Jeff Schaum will be hoping to get more productivity from his star running back against the Pirates.

The Broncos defense, giving up an average of 34 points per game this season, is still an area of concern for Schaum.

"We need to make adjustments and we need to in a timely fashion," Schaum said. 

Pagosa Springs has been outscored 149-13 in their three games this season, most recently losing 45-13 to Centauri. Coached by Nathan Morales, the Pirates will be looking for junior receiver Kevon Belk to make plays downfield.

Navajo Prep (3-1) at Ignacio (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

The Eagles will look for their second straight win going on the road to face unbeaten Ignacio. The Eagles cruised at home over Crownpoint last weekend and, according to coach Rod Denetso, appear to be finding their confidence each week.

"The game is really starting to slow down for them," Denetso said. "The kids are starting to feel confident and comfortable in the rhythm of our offense again."

Denetso will be looking for more productivity from the passing game to help balance their offensive attack. Quarterback Dontrelle Denetso has been a big threat both through the air and through using his legs, which has created opportunities as well for running back Kyler Clitso, who scored a pair of touchdowns in the team's most recent win.

Ignacio has outscored their opponents 142-26 in their first three games this season. Playing in Colorado's Class 1A Southern Peaks District, the Bobcats are coached by Alfonso Garcia and are coming off a 40-6 rout over Trinidad last weekend.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.