FARMINGTON — No longer competing in the same district, Kirtland Central and Shiprock tangle on Friday at Chieftain Stadium in what should be a passionate game between two longtime rivals.
However, that rivalry — when it comes to football, at least — has been very one sided this decade.
In the three meetings between Kirtland Central and Shiprock since 2010, the Broncos have trounced the Chieftains by an average of 52 points per win. Last year, when they were both in District 1-4A, KC won 58-8.
Thanks largely to their defense, the Broncos (3-1) have been on a roll since getting rocked by Snowflake, Ariz., on Sept. 2. KC has allowed only 20 total points in its last two outings, with one of those touchdowns coming during garbage time last week in a win over Los Alamos.
Opposing defenses have had a rough time keeping both Zach Van Duren and Cadan Flack from making dents in the box score. The two multi-position players have accounted for 381 of the Broncos’ 481 total receiving yards this season and all seven of their receiving TDs. Van Duren and Flack have also managed five of the team’s nine rushing scores.
Shiprock (2-2) fell behind Gallup last week but kept the Tigers off the scoreboard after halftime and is bringing some momentum into the nondistrict battle, where the Chieftains will be underdogs, despite playing at home.
Chiefs coach Eric Stovall said the Broncos are well coached and have some great athletes, but he believes his team will give them a good fight on Friday.
“We’re going to give it 110 percent and play to win,” Stovall. “I think our kids have grown these last two weeks, and we’re ready for the challenge.”
Shiprock running back Steve Lara comes into the tilt red hot, having rumbled his way to 125 rushing yards or more in each of the Chieftains' last two games.
West Mesa at Piedra Vista
Piedra Vista will get its first action against a 6A opponent when the Panthers host West Mesa for PV’s Homecoming Friday night at Hutchison Stadium.
The Mustangs (1-3) have lost three straight games after winning their season opener against Del Norte on Aug. 26. Since the 35-14 win over the Knights, West Mesa has been outscored 125-28 in losses to St. Pius X, Volcano Vista and La Cueva.
Like the Panthers (4-0), the Mustangs prefer to keep the action on the ground, carrying the ball 135 times compared to 74 pass attempts.
PV is coming off of a 42-7 win over Aztec, and three of its wins have come by double digits.
Socorro at Navajo Prep
Navajo Prep notched its first win of the year last week, and now the Eagles will go for two in a row when they host Socorro Friday night at Eagle Stadium.
After struggling through the first two weeks of the season, when the Eagles (1-3) gave up a combined 113 points, Prep has settled in on defense and held opponents to 14 points in its last two games. And the defense won’t be allowed any mistakes against the Warriors, who have averaged better than 30 points per game this season.
The two sides have shared one common opponent in Laguna Acoma. Prep fell to the Hawks 14-6 two weeks ago at Eagle Stadium while Socorro (4-0) rolled 27-8 last week in New Laguna.
Bloomfield at Hope Christian
The Bobcats stopped the bleeding from a dreadful first two weeks of the season by blanking Class 4A’s Bernalillo 26-0 last week.
Now Bloomfield will try to make it two straight wins when the school visits another 4A opponent in Hope Christian on Saturday.
Bloomfield (1-2) did what third-year coach Bob Allcorn loves to do in the win over the Spartans, which is run the ball a lot and run it effectively — the Bobcats tallied 50 rushing attempts and only threw it nine times.
Rudy Vigil exploded in the win with 123 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Adam Aguirre and Kyrle Burkholder both rushed for more than 70 yards and also found the end zone, scoring one TD apiece.
The Huskies (2-2) are coming off back-to-back losses. When the teams met last season, Hope Christian won at Bobcat Stadium, marking Bloomfield’s only regular-season loss.
Kickoff in Albuquerque is at 1 p.m.
Cobre at Aztec
After back-to-back losses on the road to Bayfield, Colo., and Piedra Vista, Aztec returns to Fred Cook Memorial Stadium for a Saturday afternoon game against Cobre.
Cobre (1-3) has struggled to get its offense on track this season, averaging just 222 yards per game.
Aztec (1-3) hasn’t had much trouble piling up yards this season, eclipsing 1,100 passing yards on the year. But the Tigers have struggled on the other side of the ball, allowing 35 points per game.
While the Tigers like to throw the ball a lot, that plays into the strength of Cobre’s defense, which has picked off opposing quarterbacks five times this season.
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.