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Bayfield falls to Pagosa Springs, 40-7

Wolverines seniors leave it all on the field in season finale
Bayfield's Keaton Pickering (20) tries escaping Pagosa Springs' Jayden Martin (25) on a run during the Wolverines' home game Thursday night. Pickering scored BHS' only touchdown near the midway point of the fourth quarter as the Pirates won the 2A Intermountain contest 40-7. (Courtesy of Joel Priest)

Bayfield football had no answer for Pagosa Springs in the regular-season finale for the two rivals.

The Wolverines barely avoided a shutout and lost 40-7 at home Thursday night.

The Wolverines wrapped up their 2023 slate standing 1-8 overall and 1-3 in 2A Intermountain league play. conference action, and 1-8 overall. Pagosa improved to 6-3 overall, 3-1 in league play.

“I remember when I was a freshman and I watched my brother go through it; I saw him walk out for Senior Night, and I always wanted to be there,” Bayfield senior Keaton Pickering said. “But once it happens …. I mean, you really dread it; it makes you want to take time to go back and just relive it all.”

Pirates quarterback Creede Dozier heaved a 48-yard touchdown to Seth Aucoin on Pagosa Springs’ second offensive play.

Pagosa Springs’ Seth Zeigler then gained 36 yards on his first touch, moving the Pirates forward to Bayfield’s 20 and later punching in a 22-yard touchdown. Following a successful PAT, the Pirates were up 20-0.

A short time later, Zeigler reentered the game for the Pirates and gained 27 yards on a keeper ahead to the Wolverines’ 12, setting up a 1-yard Gavin Lindahl score with 3:07 left.

Pickering blocked Pagosa Springs’ PAT kick, but the Pirates built a 26-0 lead at that point and seized control.

Pickering showed he had some fight left in him nearing the midway point in the fourth quarter.

Around midfield, Pickering came in motion from left to right, and as Wolverines quarterback Cody Ross received senior center Dominick Albo’s snap, Pickering already had speed on his side as he took the handoff from Ross.

Upon reaching the right end, Pickering turned sharply upfield to find zero black jerseys waiting for him. Accelerating as fast as his heavily taped left ankle would allow, Pickering dashed the distance for a 50-yard score, denying victory-bound Pagosa Springs the added satisfaction of a road shutout.

Candelaria more or less willed his PAT attempt over the crossbar, making the score 40-7 with 7:30 remaining.

“Once I saw that open gap I just took off,” said Pickering. “I’ve got to thank my guys for blocking perfectly; it finally worked out … really nice. To close off the season – and my senior year – with one last touchdown, it’s a very special thing.”

Despite how the Wolverines’ final regular-season record turned, Albo said there were some thing Bayfield did right this season.

“A couple games, we were close to winning but just couldn’t pull them out – I don’t think that’s something to be upset about – and beating Salida, knocking them out of playoffs (contention) was the best,” he said.

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