Broncos run over Pirates; Scorpions dominate Del Norte in high school football

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times
Kirtland Central's Zakk Thomas gets away from a group of Grants defenders as he heads to the end zone for the first of five touchdowns during a game on Friday, Sept. 24 at Bill Cawood Field.

KIRTLAND — Zakk Thomas and the Kirtland Central Broncos lit up the scoreboard at Bill Cawood Field Friday night, scoring six touchdowns in the first half on their way to a runaway win in their final non-district game this season.

Meantime, the Farmington Scorpions remain unbeaten after thrashing Del Norte, Bloomfield sees their unbeaten season come to an end on the road at Valencia and Navajo Prep rebounded from a tough loss last week with a resounding win over Cuba.

High school football: New Mexico High School Football Statewide Scoreboard

Here's a look back on a busy Friday night in local and regional high school football.

KIRTLAND CENTRAL 63, Grants 14

It took less than two minutes into the first quarter for the Kirtland Central football team to get on the scoreboard. 

And then, less than a minute later, the Broncos were well on their way to a convincing 63-14 win Friday night over Grants at Bill Cawood Field at Kirtland Central High School.

Five touchdowns by running back/linebacker Zakk Thomas, and two touchdown passes from new starting quarterback Tyler Beach gave the Broncos exactly what they needed as they prepare for the upcoming district season.

High school football: Final week of non-district season provides plenty of storylines

Thomas led the attack for the Broncos, rushing for more than 150 yards on the night and scoring both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

High school football: Blog: Kirtland Central Broncos vs. Grants Pirates 

On their opening drive, the Pirates committed the first of several key mistakes in the game. After a botched snap on fourth down and a tackle on their punter put Kirtland deep in Grants territory, Thomas scored two plays later on a 10-yard scoring run off the right corner.

Kirtland Central's Zakk Thomas gets away from a group of Grants defenders as he heads to the end zone for the first of five touchdowns during a game on Friday, Sept. 24 at Bill Cawood Field.

On their ensuing drive, the Broncos capitalized on another Pirates mistake. 

Jeremy Barber recovered a Manuel Gonzalez fumble after a pass reception, spotting the Broncos with another short field. Two plays later, Beach connected with receiver Troy King for a 25-yard TD pass and a very quick 14-0 lead.

"It was important for us to get off to a good start," said coach Jeff Schaum after the game. "Learn to play with a lead and minimize the mistakes."

Grants did get on the board on their next drive, getting a long scoring run from William Archuleta to close the gap to 14-7 midway through the first quarter, but that was as close as the Pirates would find themselves the rest of the night.

The Broncos would take advantage of another Pirates turnover later in the first quarter, as Thomas picked off an errant throw from quarterback Tyler Everhart and ran it back 37 yards for his second touchdown of the game.

High school football Player of the Week: Kyler Clitso big part of Navajo Prep's high-powered offense

Later in the first quarter, after a sloppy possession forced Grants to punt the ball away on 4th down and 30, the Broncos needed only one play from their own 26-yard line for Beach to connect with Kragen Cadman, who broke several tackles on his way to a 74-yard TD pass.

Beach was making his first start at the quarterback position for the Broncos, replacing Cadman, who returned to his familiar spot as a receiver after five games as their starting quarterback. Beach threw for more 160 yards on the night with two touchdowns.  

"(Beach) played phenomenal," Schaum said. "He was so nervous all day leading up to the game, but he made the right decisions down the field and gave our receivers time to make plays down the field."

Kirtland Central linebacker Jeremy Barber (9) falls on a fumble turned over by Grants running back Manuel Gonzalez (11) during the first quarter of a football game on Friday, Sept. 24 at Bill Cawood Field.

The Broncos took a 42-7 lead into the locker room at halftime, then immediately scored to start the second half when Randon Matthews took the opening kickoff and returned it for a score.

Nick Cambridge scored a rushing touchdown as well in the second half to add to the bevy of scorers on the night for the Broncos (2-4), who snap a 2-game losing streak and should have plenty of momentum ahead of their district opener Friday, Oct. 1 at home against winless Gallup (0-6), coming off a 54-0 beatdown Friday night at the hands of Pojoaque Valley.

"We worked on alignment, assignment and execution all week before this game," Schaum said. "The kids responded very well to the message we were giving them. Now they understand what we're doing and now we have to polish it moving forward."

FARMINGTON 50, Del Norte 0

The Farmington Scorpions remained unbeaten this season, thrashing Del Norte at home by a final of 50-0 in a shortened homecoming game that saw the top-ranked Class 5A team score touchdowns offensively, defensively and on special teams.

Quarterback Brandon Furbee ran for a score, while Kayden Gonzalez returned a kickoff for a touchdown and the Scorpions defense recovered a fumble in the end zone, all before the end of the first half in a game that was halted midway through the third quarter.

Patrick Shay and Chance Carrillo also added touchdown runs to their resumé as Del Norte had little answer for a quick striking offense and an opportunistic defense that continues to dominate their opposition.

The Scorpions have allowed only 36 points to be scored against them this season, an average of only six points per game.

The Scorpions (6-0) will most likely retain their spot atop the rankings (NMOT Coaches Poll) in Class 5A. In addition to the Farmington victory, second-ranked Goddard lost for the first time this season as well, falling Friday night 17-14 at Los Lunas.

The Scorpions will begin district play on Friday, Oct. 1 when they visit Los Alamos (3-3), coming off a 72-34 loss Thursday night against West Las Vegas.

DURANGO 48, Piedra Vista 7

The Durango Demons got back on the right track, dominating Piedra Vista and beating the Panthers 48-7 Friday night at Durango High School.

The Panthers fell behind early, thanks to an efficient Demons running game and effective pass scheme that scored six times and went into the half with a 42-0 lead.

"We got punched in the mouth and didn't respond well," said Panthers head coach Jared Howell. "They're big and physical and it really spotlighted the things we were doing wrong." 

The Panthers finish the non-district portion of their season with a record of 3-3, including back-to-back losses before they head on the road, Friday, Oct. 1 to face Miyamura.

The Demons (3-2), the defending Class 3A state champions in Colorado, snapped a 2-game losing streak and got solid performances from running backs Nate Messier and Zach Haber.

"I think (Durango) opened our eyes a little bit as to what we need to be better at doing," said Howell. "They did a lot of things that we weren't prepared for, but I think we learned a big lesson about where we're going and what we need to do going forward."

NAVAJO PREP 36, Cuba 12

Playing without running back Kyler Clitso, the Navajo Prep Eagles utilized the talents of Kyun Tate and quarterback Dontrelle Denetso for a 36-12 win on the road Friday night over Cuba.

Tate scored a touchdown and ran the ball well, though the Eagles got off to a slow start offensively due to miscues and turnovers.

"We felt all week coming into the game that it was a bit of a trap game," said Eagles head coach Roderick Denetso. "So I think we got in our own heads a bit. We made some good adjustments as the game went on and turned things around."

Dontrelle Denetso ran for more than 200 yards and threw for more than 150 yards on the night as the Eagles improve to 4-2 on the season.

Clitso, who was sidelined for the game with a knee injury, is expected to be back when Navajo Prep opens the district portion of their schedule, Friday, Oct. 8 at home against winless Espanola Valley.

"We're fortunate to have the bye week coming up for us," said coach Denetso. "It'll give us some time to heal up and have us ready for the district schedule. 

VALENCIA 34, Bloomfield 21

The unbeaten season for the Bloomfield Bobcats came to an end Friday night at Valencia as the Jaguars outscored Bloomfield 34-21.

Playing without quarterback Ryan Sharpe as well as running back/linebacker Jesse Seitzinger, both recovering from injuries suffered last week in their victory over Miyamura, the Bobcats fell behind early in the second quarter and never recovered.

"The injury bug finally caught up to us, and we just didn't recover like we should," said Bloomfield coach Mike Kovacs. "We made some good plays in the middle of the field but just couldn't capitalize when we needed to."

Filling in for Sharpe at quarterback was freshman Blake Spencer, who was effective for the most part, but also made some key errors that resulted in turnovers and missed opportunities, according to Kovacs.

"It's one of those things where the moment gets away from you as a quarterback," Kovacs said of Spencer's performance. "He knew where to go with the ball, but it was either overthrown or underthrown."  

The loss ends the 5-game unbeaten streak for the Bobcats (5-1) this season. They'll have a bye week before opening district play Friday, Oct. 8 at Shiprock. 

"The bye week will definitely help those kids who are fighting off some injuries," Kovacs said. "It's going to be a good district battle."

NEWCOMB 42, Shiprock 0

The Newcomb Skyhawks earned their first win of the football season, blanking Shiprock 42-0.

Newcomb (1-4) kept the Chieftains out of the end zone, meaning Shiprock still hasn't scored this season through five games while getting outscored by an average margin of 43-0 this season.

The Chieftains will open district play Friday, Oct. 1 when they host Aztec. 

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