Farmington, KC, Bloomfield all in big need of a win

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FARMINGTON — With the second half of football season approaching, two games on Friday night symbolize a fork in the road for local teams: a new beginning, or the beginning of the end.

Farmington, Kirtland Central and Bloomfield are all in that scenario entering Week 6, with their playoffs hopes hanging in the balance.

After getting off to a 3-0 start, the Bobcats have dropped back-to-back games at 5A’s Los Alamos and at 3A title contender Hope Christian. Bloomfield returns home Friday to face 5A’s Valencia on homecoming night, a contest that will go a long way toward determining how its season plays out.

The Bobcats still need a signature win for their playoff résumé. Their win over 2A football heavyweight Escalante in Week 2 helps, but not enough to draw attention from the rest of the state.

A homecoming win over Valencia would help Bloomfield’s case for a playoff appearance, as teams are judged by the overall quality of their opponent and how they fare against them.

And it’ll be the first big test for Bloomfield’s speedy defensive front, as the Jaguars (3-2) have scored 36 points or more in their three victories. It’s critical for the Bobcats to attack the pocket and rattle Valencia quarterback Andres Lucero into scrambling.

If the Bloomfield pass rush struggles to neutralize Lucero, however, it could be a long night for the secondary, which hasn’t had to get too involved simply because of all the havoc the defensive line has caused so far.

The Scorpions and Broncos will duke it out Friday at Hutchison Stadium, and there are multiple layers as to why it’s a must-win for both sides.

Both teams are 2-3 and opened the season with consecutive losses before picking up their first wins.

Kirtland enters Friday with back-to-back victories over Piedra Vista and Thoreau, while Farmington was shut out at Durango last weekend following back-to-back victories over Del Norte and Aztec.

Both sides have endured roller-coaster seasons, and a win on Friday would show a positive trajectory on paper leading into last stretch. The Broncos eye three straight wins, while the Scorpions seek their third win in their last four contests.

The pressure to register late-season victories and outside help will decrease dramatically for the winner. The loser will be in a rough situation, trying to bolster their case for a playoff spot with only a month of regular-season football remaining.

The harder part of the schedule will also be over for both teams, as a number of their key games transpired during the first half of 2018. Kirtland faced the likes of St. Pius and PV, while Farmington took on foes like Belen.

Farmington, KC and Bloomfield are all at that point where it’s now or never to right the ship on what’s left of 2018.

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

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