Chieftains corral first district title since 2010
FARMINGTON — The Shiprock football team extended its shutout streak to three games in winning the District 1-4A championship tonight at Chieftain Stadium.
The Chieftains (7-3, 3-0 District 1-4A) have been overwhelming opponents for over a month now, and tonight was no different, as Shiprock hurdled Navajo Prep for the 47-0 win.
Shiprock, which hasn't allowed a single point since its Oct. 7 victory over Crownpoint, collected its first district title since 2010.
"I think, No. 1, it's a great thing for our community, our alumni and our school," Shiprock coach Eric Stovall said. "And also, it's a credit to the kids and the hard work the last two years. And, obviously, the other thing that's important, is the assistant coaches, and the dedication and time they've put in. This win is because of our parents, our players and our assistant coaches."
Navajo Prep (4-6, 2-1) came in with a mind to run the ball, but the Eagles weren't able to win the battle of the trenches. They picked up a handful of first downs on the ground early in the game, but were mostly stuffed once Shiprock made adjustments.
On the other side of the ball, it was Steve Lara leading Shiprock's offense once again. The senior running back racked up more than 100 yards rushing, as did quarterback Rhakeem Anagale.
Stovall said his offensive line has been a major reason why Shiprock ended the regular season with six wins in its final seven games.
"By opening up those holes, the offensive line did a tremendous job up front," Stovall said. "The kids played hard, they played together and were able to establish the run game so we could open up the passing lanes."
The Chieftains played one of the lighter schedules of a top-20 team in class 4A, according to MaxPreps.com, which had Shiprock pegged as the 16th-best team in the class before tonight's blowout victory. But Stovall is hopeful that his team's strong ending to the season will not only earn Shiprock a playoff spot, but a home game when the postseason kicks off next week.
"I'd be really happy if we established an eighth seed," Stovall said. "That's what we're hoping for, and I think we deserved it. Especially with our defense and the way we've played."
Eagles coach Victor Crawford could not be reached for comment after the game.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.