Football previews: Panthers, Rockets square off

Karl Schneider, and Jake Newby
Farmington Daily Times
  • Farmington, Aztec and Bloomfield all looking for first win with home games this week.
  • Kirtland Central welcomes Arizona's Snowflake Lobos.
  • Shiprock and Navajo Prep hit the road searching for their first wins.

FARMINGTON — A year ago, the Piedra Vista football team earned a season-defining 34-16 win over Goddard at Hutchison Stadium. Now the Panthers will try to make it two straight over the Rockets when the two teams meet Friday night at the Wool Bowl in Roswell.

Piedra Vista's Elijah Gamboa tries to shake off a tackle by Farmington's Sol Rascon during their game on Aug. 26 at Hutchison Stadium.

At the time, PV coach Jared Howell said the victory might have been the biggest win for the program during his tenure. In the seven meetings between the two squads, the Rockets are 5-2 while outscoring the Panthers 237-86. The only other victory for PV came in the 2000 playoffs when the Panthers earned a 19-6 win.

Both teams looked good in their season opener last week. PV (1-0) shut out rival Farmington 20-0 while the Rockets (1-0) torched Capital 61-7 in Santa Fe.

The Panthers did suffer a major blow in the win. Dylan Weaver, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound senior lineman who has committed to play next year at Texas Tech, tore his ACL during the game and will be out for the rest of the season.

Del Norte at Farmington

Farmington welcomes Del Norte to Hutchison Stadium Friday night, and the Scorps are primed for a big win after dropping last week’s season opener against Piedra Vista 20-0.

The Farmington offense moved the ball well last week, but penalties played a big role in its inability to cross the goal line. If they can clean up the mistakes, the Scorps (0-1) could score a lot of points in a hurry against a Knights defense that gave up 35 points in their opening week loss to West Mesa, falling 35-14.

West Mesa did most of its damage against the Knights (0-1) on the ground, running for 201 yards in the win while only throwing for 72 yards.

With the ability to run and pass, Farmington will present a different challenge for Del Norte’s defense, which could find itself playing on its heels and trying to keep up with Farmington’s speed.

Durango, Colo., at Aztec

Fans can expect a lot of passing when Aztec hosts Colorado’s Durango High Friday night at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium.

Aztec's Cody Smith is tackled by Los Lunas' Trevor Brohard, left, and Tyler Gonzales on Aug. 26 at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium in Aztec.

In last week’s season openers, the Tigers (0-1) and Demons (1-0) combined for 70 passing attempts and 655 passing yards. Granted, Aztec was forced to throw, playing from behind the entire game in a 64-20 loss to Los Lunas.

Aztec will need to be cautious with the air attack after Durango came away with three interceptions in last week’s 21-20 win over Delta, Colo.

In their season openers, the two teams were limited in the running game. The Demons ran the ball 21 times for just 43 yards last week. Aztec kept the ball on the ground 19 times for only 14 yards.

Bayfield, Colo., at Bloomfield

Belen tamed the Bobcats 42-6 in an opening-week loss that Bloomfield coach Bob Allcorn described as embarrassing. Last year's District 1-4A champions kicked off their tenure in 5A on the wrong foot by failing to capitalize on first-half offensive opportunities and letting the score get out of hand after halftime.

Bloomfield's next battle looks to be another struggle as Bayfield, Colo. — last year's 2A state champion — enters Bobcat Stadium to play the Bobcats (0-1) in their home opener.

The Wolverines (0-1) won't be in a good mood after dropping their first game 19-0 to San Juan, Colo.

Bayfield did graduate its starting quarterback, starting running back and top four receivers from last year's squad, which could explain their offensive hardships from a week ago.

Bloomfield will be without starting middle linebacker Angelo Atencio, last year's second-leading tackler. The sophomore dislocated his elbow in last week's loss.

Snowflake Ariz., at Kirtland Central

Kirtland Central (1-0) has a fair chance of going 2-0 and keeping its momentum rolling in its second straight home game to start the season.

Kirtland Central's Derek Curley runs the ball against Navajo Prep on Aug. 26 at Bronco Stadium.

After destroying Navajo Prep 61-13 last week, the Broncos welcome Snowflake, Ariz., which went 11-2 last season while competing in Arizona's Division IV.

The Lobos (2-0) have been a force in that division in recent years, making it to the state quarterfinals last year and finishing as the runner-up in 2014.

KC let the Eagles hang around early in last week's game, holding only a 13-7 lead before slamming Prep with five straight touchdowns before the half.

Shiprock at Newcomb

Shiprock is still looking for its first points of the season after being blanked 42-0 at Socorro last week.

Still playing away from Chieftain Stadium, Shiprock hopes to be 1-1 by the time it leaves Newcomb, which lost 28-6 last week to Red Mesa, Ariz.

The Chieftains (0-1) actually defeated Newcomb (0-1) last year but had to forfeit the game the following week for activating an academically ineligible player.

Second-year Shiprock coach Eric Stovall said the team has made it a priority to work on blocking and tackling during practice this week.

Navajo Prep at Montezuma-Cortez, Colo.

Navajo Prep will have its second straight road game in the young 2016 season when the Eagles head to Cortez, Colo., to meet the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers Friday night.

The Eagles (0-1) had a rough start to the season, losing 61-13 to Kirtland Central last week. The Eagles were able to find holes in KC’s defense, but dropped a lot of passes that would have kept drives alive.

The Panthers (0-1) fell 30-14 on the road to Grand County out of Moab, Utah. The Panthers kept up with Grand County’s offense, but threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles.

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 505-564-4577.