FARMINGTON — District football gets underway Friday with Aztec and Kirtland Central renewing their longtime rivalry in a District 1-5A tilt at Fred Cook Memorial Stadium.
The Tigers and Broncos have played each other every year since 1968 and competed in the same district from 1974 through 2013. And after spending the past two seasons in the 4A classification, KC was bumped up to 5A this season to rejoin Aztec.
Both teams have had plenty of time to prepare for the game after having a bye week last week.
The two programs took different approaches to scheduling their nondistrict opponents.
Aztec (2-3) enters district play with the toughest strength of schedule in 5A while the Broncos (4-1) rank 22nd of 24 in 5A strength of schedule.
Although KC hasn’t faced the level of competition the Tigers have, the Broncos have been dominant against lesser teams. In its four wins, KC has outscored its opponents 123-33. KC’s only loss came on Sept. 2 to Snowflake, Ariz., falling 37-0. In their last contest, the Broncos crushed Shiprock 50-0.
While KC has been rolling, Aztec has been grinding.
After dropping three of their first four games, the Tiger offense exploded in a 62-31 rout of Cobre two weeks ago. Aztec's offensive success was due in part to its newly implemented speed option running attack to complement their potent passing game.
Farmington at Gallup
The Farmington football team has been on the verge of a breakthrough the past few weeks, but hasn’t been able to capture its first victory of the season yet.
That could change Friday night when the Scorps (0-4-1) travel to Gallup to take on the Bengals (2-3) in their District 1-5A opener.
After winning its first two games, Gallup has dropped three in a row, most recently falling 36-6 to Bernalillo last week.
Farmington’s offense could get going against a struggling Gallup defense, which has allowed 115 points during its losing streak.
Cibola at Piedra Vista
After tasting defeat for the first time last week with a 41-7 road loss to Manzano, the Piedra Vista football team returns to Hutchison Stadium to host Cibola in the Panthers’ District 1-6A opener.
The Cougars (2-4) come into the game with a two-game winning streak, most recently beating Albuquerque High 31-13 last week.
The only common opponent for the Panthers (5-1) and Cougars was Manzano, which beat Cibola 27-0 on Sept. 9.
PV will hold its Back the Blue fundraiser during the game and will police, fire and emergency medical technician first responders.
Miyamura at Bloomfield
A surging Bloomfield team looks to make it four wins in a row when it opens its district schedule against Miyamura (4-1) Friday at Bobcat Stadium.
Bloomfield (3-2) is fresh off a thrilling 26-24 come-from-behind victory over Valencia last week in the Bobcats' homecoming game.
In a do-or-die situation late in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-7 play, Bloomfield running back Diego O'Neill took a handoff and gained 28 yards on a sweep. On the next play, Drew Smith sealed the deal by scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run with only 50 seconds left.
The Patriots enter the district tilt with a better record than the hosts, but the only team with a winning record that Miyamura has beaten was Grants (4-2) in the season opener. Last week, 5-1 St. Pius X whipped the Pats 69-38.
The Bobcats have put a total of 80 points on the board in their last three wins, compared to just six combined points over their first two losses. Coach Bob Allcorn's team has done it on the ground, utilizing a committee backfield of O'Neill, Smith, Rudy Vigil and Adam Aguirre to keep defenses off balance.
Crownpoint at Shiprock
Shiprock looks to surpass the .500 mark for the first time this season when it welcomes class 3A Crownpoint into town Friday in a battle of 3-3 teams.
It's been a seesaw season for the Chieftains, who have yet to win consecutive games. Last week, running back Steve Lara scored two touchdowns and amassed more than 100 yards as Shiprock mowed down Cuba, 40-12.
Shiprock and Crownpoint have not played since 2011, when the Chieftains clipped the Eagles 43-12.
Shiprock High School will celebrate the Chieftain Brotherhood Pals program with Nizhoni Elementary School during halftime. Chieftain players have mentored and academically tutored the students at Nizhoni this year, according to Shiprock coach Eric Stovall, and the schools will collaboratively recognize that Friday night.
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.