FOOTBALL

Navajo Prep, Shiprock prepare for football season finales

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − The Shiprock High School football team will look to close out their 2022 season on a winning note Thursday night when they travel to Kayenta, Ariz. to face the Monument Valley Mustangs.

Meantime, the Navajo Prep football team will be home Thursday night to face a Newcomb team looking for their first district title in three years.

Here's a glance at Thursday night prep football action for San Juan County teams.

Newcomb (7-2) at Navajo Prep (1-7), Thursday, 7 p.m.

The Newcomb High School football team will be looking to close out their District 1-3A campaign with an unbeaten mark when they visit Navajo Prep on Thursday night in the regular season finale for both teams.

It's been a difficult season for the Eagles, who have struggled with roster issues, a lack of experience and injuries to players who are working both sides of the ball.

Navajo Prep quarterback AJ John (3) outruns Ignacio's Charlie Pargin (55) and gains yardage in the fourth quarter on Friday, September 16, 2022 at Eagles Stadium.

"It's been one thing after another," said Navajo Prep football coach Matt Melvin earlier this season. "We get one guy healthy and then another goes down. It's just been a learning experience all around. But the kids have given their all this season.

The Eagles lone win this season came earlier this month in a district battle at home against Zuni when they beat the Thunderbirds 46-0. Last week, Navajo Prep was outscored 32-26 on the road against Tohatchi when quarterback Elijah Johnson threw for three first half touchdowns.

Newcomb has won six of their last seven games, with their only losses this season coming at the hands of Moriarty and Thoreau. The Skyhawks are in search of their first district title since winning District 1-5/2A in 2019 before losing in the first round of the Class 2A tournament against Capitan.

Shiprock (4-5) at Monument Valley, Az. (5-4), Thursday, 7 p.m.

Junior quarterback Albrandon Byjoe will be looking to close out his season on a winning note when he heads the Monument Valley offense in a matchup against Shiprock High School.

The Chieftains, who were winless last season, need a win on Thursday to achieve a winning season. The offense is led by senior Jarvis Begay and junior Alexavier Yazzie, who have combined for more than 1200 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns.

Shiprock played this season as an independent school, meaning they don't belong to a specific classification. Last year, the Chieftains played as a Class 3A school.

The Mustangs, who play in Arizona's Class 3A Northeast section, have a 3-4 record in that classification this season. Last year, they won the region with a perfect 6-0 mark before losing 68-7 to Snowflake in the first round of the Arizona Interscholastic Association's state tournament.

Shiprock running back Jarvis Begay (24) attempts to break away from Cuba's Jose Montoya (50) and Tyress Jake (76) during second quarter on Saturday, September 3, 2022 at Chieftain Stadium.

Monument Valley earned their biggest win of the season earlier this month at home against Blue Ridge, defeating the Yellow Jackets 54-43. The Mustangs also are coming off a big win earlier in the season on the road 21-20 over Winslow.

In addition to Byjoe, Monument Valley's offense will be led by running back junior Kameron Young, who's amassed nearly 700 rushing yards and scored eight touchdowns.

Defensively, Monument Valley's Jaylin Cody has recorded 27 tackles and nine sacks while juniors Kentrell Begay and Jaden Redhouse have combined for seven interceptions.