Notebook: Here are some notable takeaways from the 2019 football season in San Juan County

Matt Hollinshead,

Mixed feelings on Bloomfield’s second straight 4A finals appearance

As much as the Bobcats deserve immense praise for getting back to the state championship game, they had a giant bite at the apple to win it all for the first time in 53 years. And again, they couldn’t get it done.

The core group on defense was intact for 2019, and the offense scored a prolific 48.5 points per game entering the final stage.

Facing Portales, whose defense went on a tear during the 4A playoffs, Bloomfield’s offense more or less dealt with an encore of the 2018 state finals at Taos, struggling to do serious damage approaching or driving past opposing territory.

Portales kept attacking the pocket and kept chasing after Bloomfield quarterback Vince Marquez, resulting in multiple passes that either hit the ground or were deflected.

Bloomfield’s defense kept things manageable during the first half, but it could only do so much to minimize the bleeding as the offense was shut out for the first time since November 2017.

Bloomfield was unbeaten entering the state finals and had home-field advantage against Portales. The Bobcats were built to win the blue trophy in 2019.

Of the all-time best New Mexico football teams that did not win a state title, the 2019 Bloomfield Bobcats should be included on that list.

The ball goes over the head of Bloomfield's Ethan Beevers and is intercepted by Kellan Hightower of Portales (3) during Saturday's 4A state football championship game at Bobcat Stadium in Bloomfield.

Farmington’s offense full of quick learners

Despite having little to no varsity experience coming in, the Scorpions’ personnel did plenty of damage by scoring 41.9 points per game in 2019.

Caleb Carrillo had a masterful season making smart, accurate throws. Wide receivers Chance Carrillo, Macen Alley, Peyton Halliburton, Max Montoya and Ethan Thomas also made strides as 2019 progressed.

All six of those players will be back for 2020.

Chance Carrillo proved to be a dependable downfield target early on, while Alley and Halliburton helped the cause on quick slants. Montoya became a go-target on corner routes because of his taller frame.

Although he had very few touches, Thomas had some big downfield catches around the midway point of the season, including a 44-yard touchdown reception against Rio Grande.

The offense will be in great shape next fall, but the group must take the next step and go deeper in the playoffs.

Key home stretch gets Kirtland back in playoffs

The Broncos had plenty of weapons back in their passing game for 2019, including Troy White-David, Brock Dowdy, Dallin Mangelson and Ty Jenks.

Kirtland was talented enough to get back to the playoffs in 2019, and a rough start nearly cost them that opportunity.

The Broncos dropped three of their first four games, so they had to turn things around quickly.

And they did just that, during the most crucial point in the season.

Kirtland strung together three straight home wins against Grants, Moriarty and Aztec, all of which were quality wins.

Grants and Aztec eyed top-four playoff seeds at the time, while Moriarty was scrapping to get one of the final playoff spots.

Kirtland’s offense was playing its best football, averaging 38.3 points a game during that three-game span.

That three-game stretch not only secured KC a playoff berth, but it also led to a home playoff opener. Kirtland beat Moriarty to reach the 4A quarterfinals.

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