FARMINGTON — Decimated by injuries, the Piedra Vista football team couldn't get anything going during its district-opening loss to Cibola tonight.
PV was without starting quarterback Elijah Gamboa, starting wide receiver/cornerback Brandon Montoya and eight other opening-week starters, and the many backups didn't fare well in losing 21-0 to the Cougars (3-4, 1-0 District 1-6A) at Hutchison Stadium in Farmington.
Panthers coach Jared Howell created a simplified playbook for QB Hunter Roquemore, but PV (5-2, 0-1) still struggled in a variety of ways on offense.
"Hunter's not the runner Elijah is. He found some success in the passing game, but every time he did, it seemed like penalties killed us," Howell said. "A lot of drive-killing penalties kept us off track pretty much the whole night."
Cibola scored on a running play just before halftime and added two long passing touchdowns after the break. On the second of those aerial TDs, a PV defender looked to have a good read on a hitch-and-go play by the Cougars, but Cibola's receiver beat him for the ball in the air and ran off for the score.
Howell said it's been a major struggle to play with so many injuries.
"We're basically playing with a second-string team right now, and there's only so far you can go with that," Howell said. "We've got some guys coming back, some guys who will be out longer, so we'll have to just sort through that as we find out more information."
A bye next week will do PV some good. After that, the Panthers hit the road to play Cleveland (6-1, 0-1) on Oct. 21.
Shiprock 44, Crownpoint 14
For the first time all season, Shiprock scored back-to-back wins when the Chieftains cut down Crownpoint 44-14 at Chieftain Stadium tonight.
Adrian Gibson of Shiprock (4-3) picked off a Crownpoint (3-4) pass and returned it for a touchdown for the Chieftains' first points, and Steve Lara rushed the ball into the end zone on Shiprock's next possession for an early 12-0 lead.
Lara ran for more than 100 yards for the fourth time in the last five games, as Shiprock controlled the trenches, like it did during last week's lopsided win over Cuba.
"Once again, we did a really good job up front," Shiprock coach Eric Stovall said. "The veteran group of guys has done a good job schematically, and is working hard in the trenches."
Tirus Newton caught a touchdown for the Chieftains in the win, and the defense held its opponent to less than 15 points for the second straight week.
"Defensively, we did a really good job, I'm proud of the coaches for getting those guys prepared," Stovall said. "We had a lot of young kids step up in different spots. I was really impressed."
Shiprock gets a bye next week before opening District 1-4A play against Wingate (2-3) on Oct. 21.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.