Eagles prepare for homecoming night showdown with Tohatchi

Navajo Prep, winners of three straight games, have outscored their opponents by a nearly 45-14 margin this season.

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Prep football team returns to action Thursday at 7 p.m. for a homecoming clash against district rival Tohatchi.

Both teams are coming into the contest off a short week, and both teams are also coming off victories. The 6-2 Eagles opened the District 1-3A season last Friday night with an emphatic road victory over Zuni, while Tohatchi also opened the district season last Friday with a 56-6 romp on the road over Newcomb.

"We've been readjusting our practice schedule this week for the short return," said Eagles coach Roderick Denetso. "That, plus all the things that go into a homecoming night will hopefully not provide too much a distraction."

Navajo Prep's Kyun Tate runs away from Zuni defenders on his way for a touchdown on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021.

The Eagles will be led by quarterback Dontrelle Denetso, who completed eight of 11 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for more than 140 yards and three scores in Navajo Prep's most recent victory.

The Eagles, currently ranked ninth in Class 3A by MaxPreps, also boast a dual-threat at running back, with Kyun Tate (11 carries, 134 yards and 4 touchdowns last weekend) and Kyler Clitso (100 combined rushing and receiving yards) providing much of the offensive firepower for Navajo Prep.

Tohatchi (5-3 overall, 1-0 district) got back in the win column last weekend with the romp over Newcomb. Prior to that, the 13th ranked Cougars had their four-game win streak snapped on Oct. 1 when they lost to Thoreau 26-14.

Running back Blane Long and quarterback DeAngelo Hunch have both been significant players in the Cougars offense. Long scored four touchdowns in two games for Tohatchi earlier this month, while Hunch threw for a pair of scores and returned a punt for a touchdown in a win earlier this month over Crownpoint.

The Eagles are winners of three straight games and have outscored their opponents by an average margin of nearly 45-14 this season.

Tohatchi has scored a total of 100 points in their last three games, and Denetso doesn't want the Eagles to get complacent or overwhelmed with the quick turnaround and the hype that generally comes with a homecoming game.

"They've got some good weapons on that team," Denetso said of Tohatchi. "We have to be careful not to get off to a slow start on them, because they can score quickly."

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