There will be football this fall.
And there’s going to be much more of it than last year, which might help the Bayfield Wolverines bounce back from the drastically abbreviated 2020 season.
Losing 32-16 to Delta in a season-opener on Oct. 10, Bayfield’s hopes of improving upon a 4-5 record (3-1 2A Intermountain) in 2019 never materialized.
Lopsided losses at Lamar and at home to Pagosa Springs would follow the Delta loss, and Bayfield’s slide was mercifully halted after a 49-7 loss at 1A force Florence. The Wolverines ended up 0-4 overall and 0-2 in an odd Class 2A Southwestern League that included Eastern Plains rivals Lamar and La Junta.
Although another cross-state haul out to Prowers County doesn’t appear on the Wolverines’ schedule this season, an excursion to Otero County for a clash with La Junta does.
And it all begins as part of a fully stocked season at 7 p.m. Aug. 27, at San Juan High School in Blanding, Utah.
The now-2A Broncos, who downed Bayfield, 42-13, in Blanding to start the 2019 grind, went 8-4 overall last fall, and a second-place 4-1 in Utah 3A, Region 12 play.
Having posted winning totals of 50 or more points five times in 2020, San Juan ended its season with a 20-7 loss in the Utah state quarterfinals to Nephi-based Juab, the 16-team bracket’s No. 1 seed. The 12-1 Juab would go on to edge No. 2 seed Morgan 17-14 for the Utah state championship.
Action returns to Bayfield’s Wolverine Country Stadium on Sept. 4, when Englewood comes down from the Denver area for a 7 p.m. start. The Englewood Pirates went 3-3 last fall, going 2-1 in the 2A West. Their two wins, at Elizabeth and the next week at home over Woodland Park, came by a total of four points, with a season-ending 53-0 rout of Lakewood Alameda following in succession.
After a week off, Bayfield travels south to Aztec on Sept. 17. Forced to wait until spring 2021 to play a pandemic 2020 schedule, the Aztec Tigers struggled to a 1-4 overall record, defeating Gallup Miyamura in a rout, 40-8, on April 2. It also was Aztec’s only action outside San Juan County, New Mexico. New Mexico District 1-4A rivals Kirtland Central and Bloomfield combined to trounce the Tigers 65-6, while 5A Farmington (5-0 overall) prevailed 46-0 and 5A Farmington Piedra Vista rolled 43-0.
Hearkening back to the older Intermountain days, Centauri, which Bayfield last faced in 2011, comes calling Sept. 24. Centauri, which finished its 1A Southern Peaks season with a 4-0 record and 7-1 overall. Seeded sixth in the 1A Playoffs, CHS scored a 20-17 upset of No. 3 Florence before falling 27-14 in the semis to No. 2 seed Strasburg.
Bayfield’s 2A Southwestern work finally gets underway with an Oct. 1 visit from Salida. One of many programs statewide electing to delay their 2020 campaign until spring 2021, Salida struggled as in the realigned 3A West. Bayfield shut out Salida 51-0 in 2019, and Basalt defeated Salida 55-0, helping to seal the Spartans’ fate in the basement at 0-6. Shut out four times by an aggregate 171-0 , the Spartans managed just 12 points all season. Six came in a 42-6 loss to Montezuma-Cortez, the only Southwest Colorado school not to suit up in the fall.
If there ever was an opponent Bayfield coach Gary Heide seems to savor, it’s probably Alamosa, and the Wolverines (6-0 versus Alamosa under 36-8 Heide) will head out to the San Luis Valley for a 7 p.m. start on Friday, Oct. 8. Like Salida, the Mean Moose also struggled during the fall 2020 season and finished 1-4 overall. Unable to face Bayfield, Alamosa went 0-3 in the 2A Southwestern, losing 46-6 at Pagosa Springs and 42-12 the next week at La Junta, as well as 34-17 to Lamar to end the season.
Bayfield’s road game at La Junta High School is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16. Having reached the postseason in 2019, the 2020 Tigers went 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the Southwestern via their romp over Alamosa.
The regular season closes Oct. 29 when Bayfield hosts Pagosa Springs. Topping the 2A Southwestern table with a 4-0 mark and qualifying for the reduced eight-team state playoffs last fall as a No. 4 seed, Pagosa’s breakout season came to an abrupt end when No. 5 Eaton flogged the Pirates 41-7. Eaton then upset No. 1 Loveland Resurrection Christian, 27-13, then beat No. 7 Lamar, 28-21, at CSU-Pueblo’s Eddie & Neta DeRose ThunderBowl.
Pagosa Springs still finished 5-1 overall, including a 42-14 home win over Bayfield in Golden Peaks Stadium.