Kirtland Central, Shiprock square off

Jake Newby, and Karl Schneider
Farmington Daily Times
Members of the Shiprock High School football team's senior class prepare to recognize their parents before their Oct. 23 game at Chieftain Stadium in Shiprock.

FARMINGTON — Homecoming night for the Kirtland Central football team will feature playoff implications in District 1-4A, as rivals Shiprock and KC square off Friday at Bronco Stadium.

The Broncos (4-4, 3-0) have rolled through their district schedule, crushing Zuni, Thoreau and Wingate by 50 points each in consecutive weeks.

But the Broncos will face stiffer competition when the Chieftains (4-4, 2-1) come into town, as Shiprock also has taken down Thoreau and Zuni this year. Last week, Shiprock smoked the Thunderbirds 61-8.

The Chieftains need to beat the hosts handily if they hope to sneak into the top 12 in 4A and make the playoffs, which is something the school hasn’t done since 2010.

Because of its difficult schedule, KC has a good shot at making the postseason for the second straight year with a win. A competitive game against Bloomfield in next week’s season finale will only help KC’s cause.

Broncos coach Greg Jenks believes his defense is finally picking up on his system and thinks the unit has improved immensely since the beginning of the season.

Shiprock’s top offensive weapons — Steve Lara and Quaid Shorty — teamed up to score six touchdowns last week, and the two will have to stay hot if the Chieftains hope to come out on top.

The schools have been battling on and off for decades. They have met six times in the past 10 years, with Kirtland Central coming away victorious all six times. Last year, KC went on the road to beat the Chieftains 61-6.

Bloomfield at Zuni

Bloomfield has had its way with District 1-4A to this point in the season, and that’s unlikely to change on Friday, when the Bobcats visit Zuni.

Like Kirtland Central, the Bobcats (7-1, 3-0) have beaten the teams they’re supposed to beat, and they’ve beaten them badly. Bloomfield has bested Wingate, Shiprock and Thoreau, each by 50 points, over the past three weeks. The Bobcats haven’t allowed a single point in any of those games.

Zuni (3-5, 1-2) has won only one game in its last six and doesn’t appear to have the size to threaten Bloomfield’s flawless district record.

The running game has been the Bobcats’ forte all season, and now their passing game has made weekly strides to become a threat, as well. Junior quarterback Brendon Charley has been very efficient this year, accumulating 15 touchdown passes to only 1 interception. Brendan Ramsey, Charley’s favorite target, has been on the receiving end of eight of those passing scores.

Piedra Vista at Gallup

Piedra Vista can lock up the District 1-5A title with a win over at Gallup Friday night.

If PV can pick up the win, it will be the first time the Panthers have finished their district schedule undefeated since the 2006 season, when they reached the state semifinals.

The Panthers (7-2, 3-0) have dominated district opponents so far, outscoring the opposition 119-34 in their three games.

Gallup (3-5, 1-1) is coming off of last week’s 17-7 upset win over crosstown rival Miyamura.

PV’s philosophy has been to use its plethora of running backs to control the tempo of the game and wear down its opponents.

Last season, the Panthers crushed the Bengals 60-7 in Farmington.

Miyamura at Farmington

After a rough start to the district schedule, Farmington is looking for its first win in District 1-5A as the Scorps host Miyamura Friday night at Hutchison Stadium.

Farmington (5-3, 0-2) is coming off a bye last week, allowing the team two weeks to prepare for the Patriots (3-5, 0-2).

Last week, Miyamura fell to Gallup 17-7, making it four straight losses for the Patriots.

The two defenses stack up evenly on paper, with both giving up fewer than 27 points per game.

But the Farmington offense appears to be the difference. The Scorps’ spread attack is averaging 36 points per game, while Miyamura’s run-heavy attack is putting up 24 points per game.

Farmington will have to slow down Miyamura’s ground game — led by Alias Starkovich, who has rushed for 878 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games — to keep the Patriots from controlling the clock.

Navajo Prep at Newcomb

Navajo Prep is on the road for the second week in a row, travelling to Newcomb to take on the Skyhawks Friday night.

Prep (3-4, 1-0 District 1-3A) picked up a 48-29 win at Tohatchi last week.

Against Tohatchi, the Eagles found success through the air with quarterback Dakota Halliburton completing 30 of 43 pass attempts for 441 yards and six touchdowns. The bulk of Halliburton’s passes went to Jake Rogers, who pulled in 13 receptions for 248 yards and four scores.

Newcomb (3-5, 0-1) enters the game after suffering a 32-6 loss to Crownpoint.

Last year, the Eagles shut out the Skyhawks 46-0. If Prep can get the win, it will be its fourth straight over Newcomb.

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.