Scorpion football team seeks second win of season hosting Cibola

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − There will be a few potential distractions facing the Farmington High School football team when they play host to Cibola on Saturday afternoon at Hutchison Stadium.

Meantime, the Navajo Prep football team will be in search of their first win of the season when they hit the road to face Crownpoint.

Here's a glance at the prep football games coming up Saturday.

Cibola (3-0) at Farmington (1-2), Saturday, 1 p.m.

Homecoming festivities can wreak havoc on a high school football team. Farmington High School head coach Jeff Dalton hopes his team can avoid some of those potential distractions when they play host to unbeaten Cibola in a rare Saturday afternoon game at Hutchison Stadium.

"I think they all know that homecoming means a lot, but I think they're also really focused on winning," Dalton said as his team prepared for a tough matchup under what should be warm conditions on the field, with mid-afternoon temperatures expected to be in the upper 80's.

"The last day game we played was last November, down in Artesia," Dalton said, recalling the Class 5A playoff game in which the Scorpions season came to an end. "We don't get too many of them around here."

Farmington quarterback Trel Griego looks downfield before making a pass against Piedra Vista in a game, Friday, Aug. 19, 2022 at Hutchison Stadium.

The Scorpions are coming into the game off a much-needed win on the road last weekend, knocking off Los Lunas 26-11. Quarterback Trel Griego had his best game of the season, throwing for three scores, including a pair of first half touchdown passes to Michael Beck, and ran for another in the victory which snapped a two-game losing streak to open the season.

Griego also threw a second half scoring strike to Jevon Smith in the waning minutes of the third quarter before putting the win on ice with a touchdown run of his own in the fourth quarter.

"I think he's really settling in now and he's got the confidence we always saw in him," said Dalton of Griego's performance. "I think it's all settling now for a lot of our guys who are learning what it means to be at the varsity level."

Cibola, currently ranked eighth in the most recent New Mexico High School coaches poll in Class 6A, recently welcomed back quarterback Aden Chavez, who has assumed his position as one of the top players in the state. In two games this season, Chavez has thrown for more than 750 yards and six touchdowns, most recently in a 35-28 comeback win at home last weekend over West Mesa.

Chavez was one of the top quarterbacks in the state as a junior last season before briefly moving to Florida. In his junior year, he led all New Mexico high school quarterback with 3075 yards passing and more than 220 completed passes. Chavez returned to New Mexico late this summer and has led the Cougars to a pair of impressive victories.

"He was welcomed back right away when he came back home," said head coach Chris Howe of Chavez. "He's got such a good feel for the game, both in and out of the pocket."

The Cougars have a trio of top receivers, including seniors Daniel Benham, Branden Castillo and Brayden Mummert. Together, they combined for 81 receptions and eight touchdowns last season and have gotten off to a fast start this season.

"They've got a real explosive offense and quite a few receivers who can make big plays, so that will be our biggest challenge defensively," Dalton said.

Farmington's road win at Los Lunas, which went into the game ranked as one of the top Class 6A teams in the state, gave the Scorpions a bit of added confidence as they prepare for one of their stiffest tests of the season, according to Dalton.

"I think as the season has gone along, we're finding out more about who we are, and the win over a highly-ranked team definitely helped," Dalton said. "That always goes a long way."

Navajo Prep (0-2) at Crownpoint (2-1), Saturday, 11 a.m.

The growing pains for the Navajo Prep football team and head coach Matt Melvin will hit the road for the first time this season when they visit Crownpoint Saturday morning.

The Eagles are off to an 0-2 start, having most recently lost at home to Escalante 58-6. Melvin, who took over the coaching duties less than a month before the team kicked off the season, is hoping he'll see continued development of his rather inexperienced team.

Navajo Prep's Dayton Yazzie (28) runs behind the block of Tyrek Curley (52) during the first quarter of a football game against Wingate, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022 at Navajo Prep.

"We're still learning assignments and we're still trying to find enough guys who can fill in where needed," Melvin said. "There's some really good athletes on this team, but we're so far behind the curve as far as where we need to be."

Navajo Prep reached the Class 3A playoffs last season after finishing atop the standings in District 1-3A and hopes to avoid their first three-game losing streak since the opening games of the 2016 season.

Crownpoint, coming off a 35-16 win on the road over Zuni last weekend, will likely be led by junior Mohamed Fakron, who scored a pair of touchdowns in the win, as well as senior Taye Harvey, who threw a touchdown pass to help lift the team to a 2-1 record on the season.