Kirtland Central clobbers Shiprock 50-0
- Kirtland Central scored four touchdowns in four minutes near the end of the second quarter.
- The Kirtland Central defense didn't allow Shiprock to pick up a single first down.
- Shiprock committed three turnovers and an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone for a safety.
- Bryson Dowdy threw for two touchdowns, rushed for one and picked up another on an interception return.
SHIPROCK — Kirtland Central had beaten Shiprock by 50 points or more in each of the schools' previous three meetings this decade, and tonight, the guests kept up that pace.
The Broncos put up 41 points in the second quarter, and that helped them annihilate Shiprock 50-0 at Chieftain Stadium.
The game was out of hand by the middle of the second quarter, but KC (4-1) somehow switched to another gear in collecting an onside kick, forcing turnovers in the early part of three straight Shiprock drives and cashing in with four touchdowns in a matter of four minutes.
The sudden outburst triggered the mercy rule at halftime.
"That was awesome," Broncos coach Greg Jenks said. "They've been getting better each week. And that's been our focus — us getting better each week."
KC's Achilles heel since Jenks took over as head coach before the 2015 season has been coming out flat to open games. Unfortunately for Jenks and his coaching staff, that was the case once again tonight.
KC's blunder-filled first drive featured a drop on a wide-open deep ball, a pair of 10-yard penalties and three fumbles on hand-off exchanges, the third of which was recovered by Shiprock (2-3).
If there's anything Jenks can harp on after the lopsided domination, it's his team's bad habit of consistently starting slowly.
"Being ready to go in the first quarter is a problem. We were very stagnant in that first quarter," Jenks said. "So we have to be ready to go when that kickoff occurs."
The Broncos' first points of the evening came when their defensive line forced Shiprock QB Rhakeem Anagale to commit an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone for a safety.
KC turned the ball over on downs on its ensuing possession, but the Broncos found the end zone on their next six drives.
The Broncos manhandled Shiprock in the trenches. Sophomore tailback Jacob Franco constantly ran free into Shiprock's secondary. He carried the ball 12 times for 139 yards and a touchdown.
KC's dangerous duo of Cadan Flack and Zach Van Duren proved again to be a nightmare for opposing defenses, with three touchdowns between them. Flack has now scored six touchdowns in his last six quarters and 10 through Kirtland Central's first five games.
While the Bronco skill players did what they pleased on offense, Anagale, Steve Lara and Shiprock's offense had a disaster of an evening. The Chieftains turned it over three times and failed to secure a single first down in the loss.
Chiefs coach Eric Stovall took responsibility, saying he failed to properly prepare his team for the nondistrict battle.
"We didn't practice well this week. That's on me," Stovall said. "We were not prepared, and that's a reflection of me. Kirtland beat us, they played well, they deserved to win. It's over now. We move on and get ready to play Cuba next week."
Anagale went 0 for 6 through the air with a lost fumble and an interception that was returned for a TD. He was helped to the sideline by a trainer after taking a hit in the second quarter, but only missed a couple plays before returning to the game.
But after Anagale's interception — which Bryson Dowdy took 20 yards back to the house — he was taken out of the game for good.
"I was trying to get (Darnell Chee) some work, that way he can get some confidence," Stovall said. "Obviously, we want to make sure (Anagale) stays healthy as we approach the district contests."
The Broncos' offensive flurry began when they were ahead by a comparatively modest 16 points.
Following a crafty 34-yard touchdown connection between Dowdy and Flack on a broken play, KC attempted and recovered an onside kick, something Jenks has had his team practice a lot lately.
"We feel like it's a weapon," Jenks said. "There was actually an HBO special on a coach from the South who never punts, and he always onside kicks. And so we've been kind of adopting that philosophy, and we feel like we've got a kicker who can get the right bounces."
The scores came rapidly after that. Colby Mitchell caught a 20-yard TD pass, Franco rushed one in from 29 yards out and Dowdy used his legs to score on defense and then on a 42-yard scramble play. KC blasted Shiprock for all four of those scoring plays in just over four minutes.
Dowdy's long run came with 29 seconds left in the second period to effectively end the game.
KC heads into a bye week before opening district play at Aztec on Oct. 7.
Shiprock will lick its wounds this week and try to get ready for Friday's game at Cuba.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.