FARMINGTON — Fans can expect a heavy dose of running Friday night when the Miyamura football team meets Piedra Vista at Hutchison Stadium.
The Panthers (5-2, 1-0 District 1-5A) and Patriots (3-3, 0-0) have relied heavily on their running game throughout the season, and that’s not likely to change this week.
Using a read option with running back-turned-quarterback Elijah Montoya, PV ran the ball up and down the field en route to a 38-20 victory over rival Farmington last week.
Miyamura enters the contest coming off of a bye and has had two weeks to prepare for PV’s ground attack.
The Patriots are averaging close to 250 yards per game on the ground with senior running back Alias Starkovich leading the way. Starkovich, who earned first team all-state honors last season, has rushed for 774 yards so far this season, averaging 7.1 yards per carry, and has scored 12 touchdowns.
When the two teams met last season, Miyamura picked up a 21-14 victory in Gallup.
Farmington at Aztec
Farmington and Aztec are coming off two very different outcomes as the teams head into Friday’s game at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium.
Farmington is looking to shake off last week’s 38-20 loss to crosstown rival Piedra Vista, while the Tigers are trying to build some momentum after escaping with a 28-27 win in Gallup.
The Scorps (5-2, 0-1 District 1-5A) were forced to play catch-up last week after struggling to slow down PV’s rushing attack.
The Tigers (2-5, 1-0) battled back and forth with Gallup throughout the game and picked up the narrow victory after the Bengals missed an extra point attempt that would have sent the game to overtime.
Despite battling numerous injuries all season, Aztec’s offense has performed well, averaging 234 passing yards and 139 rushing yards per game. But the team has struggled on the defensive side of the ball, giving up more than 42 points per game.
The Aztec defense could see the Scorps in the end zone constantly, as Farmington is averaging 39.7 points per game this season.
Shiprock at Bloomfield
An improved Shiprock team will face its stiffest test in more than a month Friday when it visits 5A rival Bloomfield at Bobcat Stadium.
Shiprock (3-3) already has as many wins as it did all of last season. The Chieftains have beaten their opponent for four straight weeks, but they had one of those four wins revoked due to playing an academically ineligible player on Oct. 2 against Newcomb.
Shiprock rides into Bloomfield having knocked off Thoreau 24-20 last week, but the score shouldn’t have been that close. Thoreau battled back from a 24-6 halftime deficit before Shiprock’s defense made a clutch last stand to save the game in the final two minutes.
Bloomfield (5-1) routed Wingate 50-0 last week at home. It was a priority for head coach Bob Allcorn to get the team's passing game into a rhythm, which the Bobcats did in the easy win.
Bloomfield quarterback Brendon Charley threw for 135 yards and four touchdowns against Wingate. Two of them went to Brendan Ramsey, and the other two to Adriano Stevenson.
Kirtland Central at Thoreau
Kirtland Central will try to string back-to-back wins together for the first time this season when it pays Thoreau a visit on Friday night.
KC (2-4) had no trouble with Zuni last week, crushing the Thunderbirds 50-0, but this week’s matchup with Thoreau (3-3) will be a bit more challenging.
Yet to win a game on the road, KC will hope to see continued improvements on the defensive side of the ball. The Broncos defensive unit has had a hard time acclimating to first-year coach Greg Jenks’ new system, but he said he saw some positive signs last week.
Offensively, Keishaun Aspaas comes into this game fresh off his best statistical performance of the season. The senior rushed for three touchdowns against Zuni, which gives KC some hope that its offense can be more balanced going forward.
KC trounced Thoreau 48-0 last season at home.
Dexter at Navajo Prep
Navajo Prep seems to have its offense on track after winning two of its last three games, but the Eagles will need to be playing at their best when they host Dexter Saturday afternoon.
Former Kirtland Central head coach Kevin Graham has Dexter’s offense beating up opponents with its running game. The No. 2 Demons (4-2) are averaging 199.5 yards per game on the ground with junior running back Gabino Rodriguez leading the way. Rodriguez is averaging 10.2 yards per carry and 111.7 yards per game this season.
The Eagles (2-3), who have relied heavily on their spread passing attack, have been putting more emphasis on the running game in recent games to help open up passing lanes for quarterback Dakota Halliburton. The change has proved successful so far, with Prep averaging 120 yards per game on the ground to go with an average of 251 yards through the air.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.