Back in the 4A state finals, Bobcats look to exorcise demons of 2018 finals appearance

Matt Hollinshead,
Bloomfield's Tomas Gonzales cuts forward on a kick return during Monday's practice at Bobcat Stadium in Bloomfield.

BLOOMFIELD – For months on end, the Bloomfield Bobcats had plenty of pent-up anger and frustration over how last year’s 4A state football finals in Taos unfolded.

The defense lifted the team to that final stage, which was quickly sabotaged by a rough day on offense and special teams.

“Everybody carried that burden of losing (in the finals) last year,” defensive end Brodie Utley said.

Much of the core group on defense returned for 2019, carrying that burning will to hoist the blue trophy. Also accompanied by an explosive offense, Bloomfield (12-0) has another shot to exorcise those demons taking on Portales in this Saturday’s 4A state championship game.

Only this time, the Bobcats will have home-field advantage.

“Now that we’re here, it’s like all those emotions from last year really bring everything back,” Utley said. “It’s been a long journey, but we’re finally here. We’ve got to be good on all aspects of the ball, offense, defense, special teams.”

Bloomfield's Raymundo Alcantar applies quick feet in tackling drills during Monday's practice at Bobcat Stadium in Bloomfield.

Bloomfield’s offense is averaging 48.5 points a game. Despite surrendering 41 points against Grants in the 4A state semifinals, the defense is only giving up 15.5 points per game.

Whenever one side may struggle to get things rolling, the other can shoulder the load and take command.

The Bobcats are well-equipped to win it all right now, which heightens the urgency and desire to see it through.

“It’d just mean a lot if we could go get it done,” kick/punt returner Tomas Gonzales said. “As long as we just don’t make any stupid mistakes, those (big plays) will help us. We know what we can do, what we’re capable of.”

And being in front of the Bobcat faithful adds on to the urgency to bring home Bloomfield’s first state title since 1966.

“It kind of gives us more fuel for the fire,” tight end Noah Gurule said. “It’s awesome seeing the community be with us since last year. Now (being) in the state (title) game again, it’s going to be crazy.”

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.