Eagles have turned things around in a hurry

Matt Hollinshead, mhollinshead@daily-times.com
Navajo Prep coach Rod Donetso discusses defending against single-wing formations up front during Monday's practice. The Eagles have won back-to-back games, outscoring foes 104-8 the last two games.

FARMINGTON — Navajo Prep reached a critical juncture following its Week 2 game against Bernalillo, the second of back-to-back shutout losses.

The offense wasn’t moving the chains, and the defense could only bandage so many wounds from there.

Some of the freshmen contemplated throwing in the towel for good, and upperclassmen grew increasingly frustrated with how the season was panning out.

“I think some of them were at their breaking point,” quarterback Justin Cly said.

Something had to change, and it began with moving pieces around to jump-start the ground game.

Dontrell Donetso took the reins at quarterback, and Cly moved to wide receiver to give the Eagles extra muscle at that position. Kasey James moved over from wide receiver to running back.

Since then, Prep’s backfield has more firepower and is getting more sizable gains. And as a result, there’s less strain on the spread-read passing attack to move downfield.

After scoring zero points in both Weeks 1 and 2, the Eagles (2-2) have scored a combined 104 points in its last two games.

“We needed a spark and (to) get everything moving again,” Cly said. “Our blocking schemes got better, and everyone’s been able to keep moving their legs and keep pushing forward.”

The defense is also finally healthy enough to where the Eagles can go full-steam attacking the pocket with its 4-3 front, and they’re forcing more turnovers, 11 of which came last Friday at Crownpoint.

“We have our corners staying in zones. We have our linebackers attacking the ball,” outside linebacker Jeremy Kindness said. “This turnaround’s been great. We got our stuff together, and now we’re scoring and winning games. It’s the push we needed.”

The last two games represent a much-needed new beginning for the Eagles, who look to prolong such momentum Friday against Española Valley.

“Everybody’s starting to communicate more. We trust each other now,” right guard Jeremiah Slim said. “(The freshman are) starting to pick things up quickly, and they’re starting to trust themselves more.”

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.