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Bear aware: Ignacio football eager to host Dolores

Bobcats hope to replicate success seen at Center
Ignacio quarterback Gabe Tucson exceeded 150 yards passing during the Bobcats’ 2020 debut last week at Center. He could be in for a greater performance against a Dolores defense which has already allowed 121 points in two games.

Despite seeing multiple deep throws last Thursday either dropped or deflected, Ignacio High School quarterback Gabe Tucson knew he had a short- to mid-range option – Lawrence Toledo – usually available in order to keep pushing Center’s defense backward.

“I really liked what he was doing,” said the junior quarterback, who found the senior five times for 60 yards including a key third-down conversion late in the fourth quarter that gained 17 yards, ultimately leading to Tucson throwing a similar gutsy dart through coverage to senior Dylan Labarthe four plays later for the game-clinching touchdown.

“He was seeing gaps between him and his defender and I just kept hitting him every time,” Tucson said.

Should similar gaps present themselves at 7 p.m. Friday at IHS Field, Toledo, Labarthe and practically any Bobcat squeezing a pass between his paws could prance quickly to paydirt. That is if visiting Dolores’ first two outings are indeed indicative of the resistance the hungry Bobcats might face in their 2020 home opener.

“I’m excited; we’ve been waiting forever,” senior running back Joe Garcia said, following a strong triple-digit, three touchdown rushing performance in a 27-18 road win last week at Center.

And though on paper this 1A Southern Peaks League clash might appear much ado about nothing, two things are certain. One, Ignacio (1-0, 1-0 SPL) should be expected to play as close to perfect as possible to not only defeat Dolores but also begin fine-tuning for the ultimate test – an Oct. 30 trip to La Jara and showdown with Centauri.

Two, after a season-opening 52-0 loss at home to non-conference Hotchkiss and then last Friday’s brutal, if not unexpected, 69-0 beating from the powerhouse Centauri Falcons (2-0, 1-0), the Bears (0-2, 0-1) have nothing to lose, other than an 18th consecutive contest.

Both blowouts were decided quickly. Centauri scored 41 points in the first quarter, and Hotchkiss 38. Hotchkiss reportedly averaged almost 17 yards per rush in exceeding 250 yards for the game, while Centauri reportedly averaged 21 yards per carry in topping 300 rushing yards for the game.

Centauri quarterback McKay Russell was 4-for-4 passing for 82 yards and two scores, while Hotchkiss’ Yahir Chavez, who ripped off a 69-yard scoring run, finished 2-for-3 for 58 yards and a TD.

Should long throws like this near-miss heave to John Riepel (4) last week at Center actually hit their mark this Friday versus Dolores, Ignacio’s passing attack could be devastating in their 2020 home opener.

Most encouraging figures in IHS’ collective mind, to be sure, considering the Bobcats prevailed 35-0 at Dolores last fall despite Garcia being held under 100 yards rushing and despite IHS’ quarterbacks combining for just seven yards on 1-of-9 accuracy against a roster later ravaged by graduation and now in the slow process of being replenished.

“We’ve just got to do the same thing,” said Tucson, asked how Ignacio will prepare for Dolores based on their work at Center, “but not let our heads hang down when something bad happens.”

“We’re going to come (out) swinging,” Garcia added. “I think it’s going to be a real fun game for us.”

IGNACIO MUST-DO’S

1. Control emotions, no matter the score. Though Ignacio has won the teams’ last four encounters by a combined 150-20 margin, IHS-Dolores rumbles definitely see their share of scuffling, something known to disrupt rhythm and/or allow complacency to set in.2. Maintain possession and finish. The Bobcats began both the second and third quarters at Center with marches of at least 10 plays but were stopped on downs after surging 68 yards on the former, and by a Viking interception on the latter, three plays after Ignacio reached the Center 8-yard line.3. Limit penalties. Even while playing in hostile territory, and with a squad still minus several ineligibles, the Bobcats actually did quite well in this aspect. False-start infractions, however, book-ended the second aforementioned long drive, with the second five-yarder bumping IHS back to Center’s 15, leading to Tucson being picked off at the 4 the next play, ending what was nearly a six-minute possession that begun at the Bobcat 39.4. Solidify the run defense. If there was one thing last week the Vikings showed could be done against Ignacio, it was run the football. Junior speed threat Abraham Echauri broke the 100-yard barrier in just nine first-quarter carries before being lost to injury, and sophomore power back Cael Ruggles then exceeded 80 in his stead at five yards per pop.5. Pressure the quarterback. If there was one thing last week the Vikings couldn’t do against Ignacio, it was pass the football. Capable senior Habran De la Cruz was held to just two yards (unofficially) on 2-of-10 throwing, was intercepted once and was also sacked multiple times in being held to zero yards rushing on 13 tries.

SCHEDULE UPDATE

1. Control emotions, no matter the score. Though Ignacio has won the teams’ last four encounters by a combined 150-20 margin, IHS-Dolores rumbles definitely see their share of scuffling, something known to disrupt rhythm and/or allow complacency to set in.2. Maintain possession and finish. The Bobcats began both the second and third quarters at Center with marches of at least 10 plays but were stopped on downs after surging 68 yards on the former, and by a Viking interception on the latter, three plays after Ignacio reached the Center 8-yard line.3. Limit penalties. Even while playing in hostile territory, and with a squad still minus several ineligibles, the Bobcats actually did quite well in this aspect. False-start infractions, however, book-ended the second aforementioned long drive, with the second five-yarder bumping IHS back to Center’s 15, leading to Tucson being picked off at the 4 the next play, ending what was nearly a six-minute possession that begun at the Bobcat 39.4. Solidify the run defense. If there was one thing last week the Vikings showed could be done against Ignacio, it was run the football. Junior speed threat Abraham Echauri broke the 100-yard barrier in just nine first-quarter carries before being lost to injury, and sophomore power back Cael Ruggles then exceeded 80 in his stead at five yards per pop.5. Pressure the quarterback. If there was one thing last week the Vikings couldn’t do against Ignacio, it was pass the football. Capable senior Habran De la Cruz was held to just two yards (unofficially) on 2-of-10 throwing, was intercepted once and was also sacked multiple times in being held to zero yards rushing on 13 tries.Kickoff of Ignacio’s Nov. 6 road game at Monte Vista will be at 7 p.m. rather than a previously-announced 1 p.m. afternoon start.

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