BAYFIELD – Mercy, mercy, mercy.
The Bayfield High School football team made sure Coal Ridge’s first visit to Wolverine Country Stadium was a memorable one.
The No. 4-ranked Wolverines shut out the stunned Titans 42-0 on Friday night in a mercy-rule shortened Western League game.
“We had a good week of practice,” BHS senior Joe Zink said.
“After (Grand Valley last week), we didn’t have much contact in practice this week. I think it helped a lot. Our bodies were really fresh,” said Zink, who used his fresh legs to break a 47-yard touchdown run in the second quarter when the Wolverines scored three times.
Zink, one of three rotating fullbacks in the Bayfield triple option, credited the blocking up front as the Wolverines amassed 317 rushing yards. He finished with 85 yards on 14 carries.
“I couldn’t do it without them. They blocked well (Friday night). They did their work,” said Zink, son of Faith and Pat Zink.
“We were keeping our feet moving and getting to the second (blocks),” senior tackle Nate Goddard said.
“The backs ... were coming over and cheering for us, encouraging us,” said Goddard, who teamed with Jon Roberts, Kevin Donahue, Austin McMenimen and Blane Barnes – among others – to control the ball against upstart Coal Ridge, which had shut out Pagosa Springs 27-0 last week.
“It was amazing ... seeing our backs run up in there,” Goddard said after blocking for 103 yards from TJ Pazell on 18 carries.
Pazell, who scored three times in Bayfield’s road win at Grand Valley last week, scored the Wolverines’ first touchdown Friday night at Wolverine Country Stadium.
He took a handoff from quarterback Matt Knickerbocker and powered 15 yards off right guard to conclude Bayfield’s first drive of the game – 63 yards in nine plays.
Coal Ridge’s first drive of the game ended when Ian Sandrey recovered a Titans’ fumble at the Coal Ridge 33-yard line.
Seven plays later, Allec Rodriguez took an option pitch and scored from 8 yards out.
Trailing 14-0, Coal Ridge opened the second quarter by attempting a double pass. But the Titan’s initial lateral was bobbled and scooped up by Drake Rhodes of the Wolverines, who ran – untouched – 32 yards for a touchdown.
After Zink scored on his 47-yard run up the middle, the Wolverines managed one more second-quarter score when they drove 68 yards in the final 50 seconds of the period.
Using three timeouts, the BHS offense moved into Coal Ridge territory, helped by a 25-yard run from sophomore speedster Anthony Chamblee.
Knickerbocker hooked up with Rodriguez on a 15-yard touchdown pass to end the drive and put the Wolverines ahead 34-0 at halftime.
Chamblee scored Bayfield’s final touchdown on an 8-yard run with 8:15 to play in the third quarter.
Once the Wolverines hit the 40-point mark, the Colorado prep football mercy rule took effect with a running clock for the remainder of the game.
Rodriguez, who scored twice, added 50 rushing yards to the BHS total.
“We worked hard all week. We knew we had to pick it up,” said Goddard, son of Jeff and Susan Goddard.
Goddard helped the Wolverines’ offense pile up 17 first downs Friday night.
The BHS defense limited Coal Ridge (4-2, 3-1 Western League) to 124 yards and five first downs.
Michael Shaw led the Titans with 43 rushing yards on eight carries.
Quarterback Gunnar Pagni completed 5 of 9 passes for 40 yards.
“We realized we needed to step it up (on defense) this week,” Zink said. “Execution ... we had to execute.”
“Hats off to coach (Shawn) Tucker,” Bayfield head coach Gary Heide said of the BHS defensive coordinator. “That was a fantastic coaching job.”
He also credited his team’s intensity and hard work in Friday night’s victory – Bayfield’s sixth consecutive win without a loss.
The Wolverines, 4-0 and the Class 2A runners-up at the state tournament from a year ago, are alone in first place in the new Western League.
“We had another great game by our quarterback (Matt Knickerbocker),” Heide said of the BHS sophomore signal caller.
“He checked off at the line more in this game probably than in any other,” Heide said. “And 90 percent of those checks were right on.”
With the league lead in hand, Heide warned the Wolverines that every team will be out to beat Bayfield.
That will start with Gunnison, due into Wolverine Country Stadium for next Friday’s homecoming game.