Bloomfield and KC clash for district title
FARMINGTON – The District 1-4A title will be on the line Friday night when the Bloomfield football team hosts Kirtland Central at Bobcat Stadium in a battle of teams with undefeated district records.
The rivals come into Friday’s showdown having just spent the past month decimating their district foes.
Bloomfield (8-1, 4-0) has been close to unstoppable in 2015. Its only loss of the season came at the hands of Hope Christian on Sept. 25, which was also the last time the Bobcats allowed an opponent to score. They have won by 50 points or more a staggering five times, and probably would have done it six times had Zuni not forfeited last week’s game against them.
The Broncos (5-4, 4-0) have put a bad start to the season firmly behind them, having won four straight games via the 50-point mercy rule. Senior running back Keishaun Aspaas has thrived during that stretch with 10 rushing touchdowns since district play began.
KC and Bloomfield have developed similar styles of play as the season has worn on. They are both run-first teams, and they both have improving defenses.
Their young quarterbacks have also gotten better as the season has progressed.
Bobcats junior Brendon Charley has 15 touchdowns and only one interception this year, and has been passing the ball more since the start of district play.
Bryson Dowdy, a KC sophomore, is fresh off a five-touchdown performance in Kirtland’s 58-8 drubbing of Shiprock last week.
The two teams' path to this winner-take-all matchup looks similar to last year’s contest. The Bobcats came into the season finale riding an eight-game win streak, while Kirtland had won four straight. The game played out to be a low-scoring dogfight, which Bloomfield took 6-2 on the road.
Shiprock at Wingate
The Chieftains have made progress since hiring Eric Stovall to be their head coach before this season, and they have a chance to finish 2015 with a .500 record.
Shiprock (4-5, 2-2 District 1-4A) will close out the season on the road against Wingate (1-9, 0-4) Friday night.
The Chieftains went 3-7 last season, but Stovall’s motto of “Chieftain Brotherhood” has seemed to resonate with the players and spur a culture change.
They have played hard for their first-year coach this season, but have lacked consistency — they haven’t won more than two games in a row at any point this year.
Wingate shouldn’t give the visitors too much trouble, as the Bears’ only win of the season came in their Aug. 28 opener against Crownpoint.
Crownpoint at Navajo Prep
Navajo Prep can claim another District 1-3A title with a win over Crownpoint Friday night.
Prep (4-4, 2-0 district) spent the last two weeks on the road and will close out the regular season at Eagle Stadium.
Last week, the Eagles blasted Newcomb 47-6.
Crownpoint (4-5, 1-1) enters its final regular-season game after being blown out by Tohatchi 54-14 last week in Crownpoint.
A Prep win would make it four straight district titles for the Eagles. It would also be the fourth year in a row that the team has finished district play unbeaten.
Prep has shut out Crownpoint in each of the teams’ last two meetings, winning 36-0 last year and 53-0 in 2013.
Miyamura at Aztec
After a rough start to the season, Aztec could lock up a second-place finish in District 1-5A with a win against Miyamura Friday night.
The Tigers (3-6, 2-1) started the season 1-5 but have picked up narrow wins over Farmington and Gallup in district play.
Aztec enters the regular-season finale coming off a bye, which not only gave the Tigers extra time to prepare for the Patriots, but allowed them to recover from nagging injuries.
Miyamura (3-6, 0-3) enters the game after seeing Farmington score 10 touchdowns last week during a 67-34 loss on the road.
While Aztec appears to be on the outside looking in for the 5A playoffs, a dominant win could be enough to sway the selection committee and overshadow the team’s slow start this season.
Gallup at Farmington
Farmington’s offense exploded for 67 points last week, and the Scorps could frequent the end zone regularly against Gallup Friday night at Hutchison Stadium.
Gallup (3-6, 1-2) is coming off of a 45-3 loss to Piedra Vista.
The Scorps (6-3, 1-2) have won seven straight over Gallup, outscoring the Bengals 313-72 during that span. And since 1953, Farmington and Gallup have met every season — with the exception of the 1957 and 1958 campaigns — with Farmington dominating the rivalry with a 44-15 record.
Currently ranked sixth in the state, Farmington appears to be a lock for reaching the 5A playoffs. A win would likely secure a home game in the first round of the playoffs, which will take place Nov. 13-14, while a loss to the Bengals could bounce the Scorps out of the top eight.
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.