FARMINGTON — Once the final whistle is blown in Friday’s tilt between Bloomfield and Kirtland Central, one team will come away clinging to 5A playoff hopes, while the other will almost certainly go into its season finale with only pride on the line.
The Bobcats have had an up-and-down season, their first in District 1-5A. They fell into an 0-2 hole before rattling off three straight wins, only to lose two heartbreaking games at home.
Last week, Bloomfield (4-4, 1-2 District 1-5A) grounded Gallup 53-0, but is still on the outside looking in at the playoff picture — MaxPreps.com has the Bobcats ranked 13th in the class out of 24 teams. Only 12 earn playoff spots.
Kirtland Central (4-4, 0-3), the host on Friday, currently sits at 14th in those Max Preps playoff predictions, but the best the Broncos can do is snag two wins against 1-5A opponents, which would still leave them toward the bottom of the division after the regular season wraps up on Nov. 4.
Postseason implications aside, the Bobcats and Broncos have been rivals for years, so both have plenty of incentive to win. Since 2010, the record between the two former 1-4A foes is 3-3.
Bloomfield got the best of KC at Bobcat Stadium last year 48-13 to slam the door on KC's playoff aspirations.
Aztec at Gallup
The Aztec football team picked up a key win in its quest for a district title last week, edging Farmington 31-28 at Hutchison Stadium in Farmington. Now the Tigers (5-3, 3-0) will be back at their own Fred Cook Memorial Stadium to host a struggling Gallup team Friday night.
Gallup (2-6, 0-3) has dropped six straight games and hasn’t scored more than 14 points in a game since its win over Thoreau back in the second week of the season.
The Tigers' explosive offense, which has scored 30 or more points during the team’s current four-game winning streak, could be in store for a gargantuan night against a porous Gallup defense, which has given up 50-plus points in its last three games and four of the last five.
Farmington at Miyamura
The Farmington football team hasn’t caught many breaks this year, and the Scorps (2-5-1, 2-1) will be tasked with another daunting test when they travel to Gallup to take on Miyamura Friday night.
Miyamura (7-1, 3-0) fields one of the more balanced offenses in the state. Through their eight games this season, the Patriots have run the ball 284 times compared to 261 pass attempts.
Leading the team in both categories is junior quarterback Matt Chavez, who has thrown for 1,605 yards and run for a team-high 675 yards while appearing in seven games this season.
Penalties and turnovers have been the biggest cause of Farmington’s struggles, keeping the Scorps on the losing side of close games. In three games decided by a touchdown or less, Farmington is 0-2-1.
Volcano Vista at Piedra Vista
After a great start to the season, the Piedra Vista football team has succumbed to injuries and a loaded District 1-6A in recent weeks.
With three straight losses, the last two coming by way of shutouts, the Panthers (5-3, 0-2 District 1-6A) will get a much-needed return home to Hutchison Stadium to host Volcano Vista Friday night.
The Hawks (6-2, 1-1) have done most of their damage on the ground. Senior running back Chris Streetz has been one of the top runners in the state this year, averaging 8.9 yards per carry and 126 yards per game.
VV also boasts a formidable passing game with senior quarterback Dillon Gassoway averaging 190 yards per game with a 106.4 QB rating.
Shiprock at Thoreau
Since suffering a 50-0 shellacking at KC's hands on Sept. 23, Shiprock has dominated every team on its schedule.
The Chieftains (5-3, 1-0 District 1-4A) have outscored opponents 134-26 over three straight wins, and look to make it four straight at the expense of Thoreau (1-8, 0-1) Friday night on the road.
Steve Lara has been a force on the ground for Shiprock, punching in 14 touchdowns this season in just eight games. He scored three times during his team's 50-0 blowout win over Wingate last week.
The Hawks are struggling mightily right now and have not picked up a win since August, when they edged 3A's Tohatchi 20-12 in their season opener.
Wingate at Navajo Prep
If Navajo Prep hopes to set itself up for a potential district title-deciding showdown at Shiprock on Nov. 4, the Eagles (3-5, 1-0) have to take care of Wingate at home first on Friday night.
Prep has been anything but consistent this season. After edging lowly Thoreau by just six points last week, the Bears (3-5, 0-1) could present a slightly tougher match-up.
During coach Victor Crawford's first season, the Eagles have been held to 12 points or fewer on four occasions, but have won back-to-back games on the road, signaling a strong finish to the season could be imminent.
The last time the teams squared off was in 2013, when Prep beat Wingate 50-0. The Eagles were members of Class 2A at that time.
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.