Aztec, Piedra Vista clash in district action

Karl Schneider, and Jake Newby
Farmington Daily Times
Aztec's Cody Smith looks to pass during a game against Kirtland Central on Sept. 11 at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium in Aztec.

FARMINGTON – Two weeks into the District 1-5A football schedule, two teams — Aztec and Piedra Vista — remain undefeated. And the two rivals will meet under the lights at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium in Aztec Friday night.

In district play, a win is a win, and no one knows that better than the Tigers.

Aztec has won its first two games in District 1-5A by a combined four points, squeaking past Gallup 28-27 two weeks ago, then upsetting Farmington 29-26 last week.

While the Tigers (3-5, 2-0) have picked up close wins to start the district schedule, Piedra Vista (6-2, 2-0) has been dominant.

The Panthers opened district play against crosstown rival Farmington and ran over the Scorps for a 38-20 victory. Last week, PV was even more impressive, recording its first shutout of the season with a 38-0 beating of Miyamura.

Both wins came at home for the Panthers, and now PV will leave the friendly confines of Hutchison Stadium and go back on the road, which has been anything but friendly to the Panthers this season. PV’s two losses have come on the road, with the Panthers averaging a mere 6.5 points per game in the losses.

Bloomfield at Thoreau

Bloomfield has won its last two games by a combined score of 102-0. That type of hot streak doesn’t bode well for Thoreau (3-4, 0-2 District 1-4A), which Bloomfield will visit Friday night.

The Bobcats (6-1, 2-0) have simply been taking care of business since beginning district play two weeks ago. After falling 21-6 at home to Hope Christian on Sept. 25, Bloomfield went into its bye week determined not to take anyone lightly for the rest of the season.

The early results say the Bobcats have made good on that vow. They have beaten Wingate (50-0) and Shiprock (52-0) in back-to-back home games.

The running game is Bloomfield’s bread and butter, but the team’s aerial attack has been making strides of late. Junior quarterback Brendon Charley has totaled 336 yards passing to go along with seven touchdowns in the last two weeks.

Last season, Bloomfield beat Thoreau 55-0, and that was a Hawks team that finished 8-2.

Wingate at Kirtland Central

Kirtland Central was all set to make the two-hour bus ride to Fort Wingate on Friday, but was informed earlier this week that the game will be played instead at Bronco Stadium.

So the Broncos (3-4, 2-0) won’t have to worry about traveling when they try and make it three district wins in a row. On the opposing side of the field will be a Bears team that has lost six of its last seven games.

With consecutive 50-point blowout wins under their belts, the Broncos have been gaining confidence since their sluggish 1-4 start.

Kirtland’s defense ignited last week’s 56-6 win over Thoreau by scoring a pair of second-quarter touchdowns when the game was still close.

Senior running back Keishaun Aspaas has been on a tear lately with six rushing touchdowns in the last two wins.

When the teams met last year in Kirtland, the Broncos came away with a 60-0 win over Wingate (2-6, 0-2).

Zuni at Shiprock

It’s homecoming for Shiprock High School this weekend as the Chieftains (3-4, 1-1) host Zuni (3-4, 1-1) at Chieftain Stadium on Friday night.

Shiprock was rocked 52-0 last week by Bloomfield, so coach Eric Stovall’s bunch will be anxious to get on the field and make some corrections.

Quarterback Arjay Miller was erratic, throwing two interceptions against the Bobcats last week, but he should be able to put up some points against a Zuni team that has allowed at least 26 points in its last six outings.

The Shiprock defense has shown the ability to come up clutch a handful of times this season, including game-sealing defensive stops against Navajo Prep and Thoreau when a touchdown in either game would have resulted in a Chieftains loss.

The contest will be Shiprock’s last home game of the 2015 season, as a road game with 4A rival Kirtland Central looms next week.

The Chieftains have not lost to Zuni since 2011.

Navajo Prep at Tohatchi

Navajo Prep opens play in District 1-3A on the road Friday, facing yet another run-first offense in Tohatchi.

The Cougars (5-2) are averaging 245 rushing yards per game this season, led by senior duo Tarringtino Begay and Eric Becenti.

While Tohatchi does most of its damage on the ground, senior receiver Karlex Capitan is a dangerous weapon on the outside. Capitan has caught just 12 passes this season, but has racked up 523 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

Prep (2-4) enters Friday night’s contest looking to extend an 11-game winning streak in district play. The last time the Eagles lost a district game was during the 2011 season.

Last year, Prep blanked the Cougars 50-0.

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.