PV, Bloomfield try to advance in state playoffs

Karl Schneider, and Jake Newby
Farmington Daily Times
Piedra Vista's Alex Shay breaks a tackle against Farmington on Oct. 9 at Hutchison Stadium in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – The Piedra Vista football team will get a shot at redeeming one of its two losses this season when the Panthers host Roswell at 1 p.m. today.

PV (8-2) and Roswell (8-4) met on Oct. 3, with the Coyotes winning 19-10 in Roswell. Turnovers and penalties plagued the Panthers during that meeting, as PV threw interceptions on back-to-back possessions in the first quarter, which Roswell converted into a pair of touchdowns to build a lead the Panthers couldn’t eclipse.

PV head coach Jared Howell said the chance for redemption isn’t a major source of inspiration for the Panthers.

“At this point, when you get this far into the tournament, it doesn’t matter that much," he said. "Everyone is fired up to still be playing. I don’t think it would matter who we were playing, the kids would be just as excited and ready to go.”

The No. 6 Coyotes beat No. 11 Aztec 52-14 last week in Roswell to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Panthers received a bye into the quarters with the No. 3 seed.

PV and Roswell have similar offensive philosophies. They both like to keep the ball on the ground and wear down opponents. They’re so similar that Howell compared it to the Panthers playing themselves.

“We are really, really similar, even down to our athletes. We have similar quarterbacks, similar speed and similar offenses. It’s kind of strange to look across the line of scrimmage and be looking at yourself,” Howell said. “In games like that, it comes down to who executes the best and makes the fewest mistakes.”

PV has had three weeks off — taking its regular-season bye in week 10, then receiving the first-round bye in the playoffs — and hasn’t played since Oct. 30, when the Panthers mauled Gallup 45-3.

“It’s an inexact science. It’s a crapshoot. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and so do we,” Howell said of dealing with the long layoff. “It was a long road going all 10 games without a bye, and we were beat up. So we were focused on getting everyone healthy and playing with speed to keep everyone ready to go.”

Bloomfield at Robertson

It will be a lot like looking in a mirror for the visiting Bobcats when they step on the field to play Robertson at 1:30 p.m. today in Las Vegas, N.M., in a 4A state quarterfinal game.

Bloomfield's Brendon Charley runs with the ball on Sept. 11 during a game against Socorro at Bobcat Stadium in Bloomfield.

Bloomfield (10-1) has a similar identity to Robertson (8-2), which earned a bye into this round, while the Bobcats reached the quarters by thrashing Taos 41-7 last week.

Both teams love to run the ball and play a physical brand of defense.

As a team, Bloomfield rushed 382 times for a 7.3 yards per carry average. Robertson rushed 370 times at a 7.3 YPC clip. The Bobcats only attempted 119 passes, while the Cardinals threw it just 112 times.

Bloomfield coach Bob Allcorn said one difference he sees between the teams is the Bobcats’ ability to use multiple backs effectively during a game. JD Robinson, Chauncey White and Brendan Ramsey have all played at a high level for Bloomfield and have netted a combined 2,142 rushing yards.

Robertson relies heavily on junior Joseph Paul Griego and for good reason — he averaged 9.2 YPC this season and scored 12 touchdowns in 10 games.

“We’re a little more diverse in the amount of running backs we use,” Allcorn said. “We want to try and get (Griego) stopped as best as we can and force them to pass the ball.”

The Cardinals have a size advantage over Bloomfield in the trenches, but that’s nothing the Bobcats haven’t dealt with before.

“Their O-line is pretty beefy. We have to stay low and use good technique,” he said. “Hopefully we can out-quick them. We’ve gone against bigger teams in most of our games.”

Turnover wise, something has to give when the Bobcats are on offense. Robertson has forced 30 turnovers in 10 games this season, while the Bobcats have only turned it over four times all year. Quarterback Brendon Charley has taken excellent care of the ball with just one interception this season.

Allcorn said this Robertson matchup reminds him of the Cobre team that defeated Bloomfield 34-23 in last year’s state quarterfinals.

“We’re pretty evenly matched, just like we were with Cobre at this time last year,” Allcorn said. “It’s going to come down to who can slow down the other team’s offense more often, and I think special teams will have a huge role, as well.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.